Thursday, November 23, 2017


Susan Taylor Martin

Susan Taylor Martin

For someone who doesn't particularly care to fly, Tampa Bay Times senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin has logged a lot of hours in the air — in the past decade she has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. She covered the invasion of Iraq, the war in Kosovo and the war against terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On 9/11, she and two other Times staffers got in Martin's aging car and drove 24 hours nonstop from Tampa Bay to New York City, her hometown. Among the other breaking stories Susan has covered were the death and funeral of Princess Diana, the funeral of Jordan's King Hussein and the handover of Hong Kong to China. There have been lighter moments, too. Martin has written about a restaurant in Jerusalem dedicated to Elvis Presley's memory; a Scottish hamlet that finally got TV and hated it; and the gay and transvestite scene in Turkey, a conservative Muslim country. Her hobbies include figure skating, antiquing, flea-marketing, and rooting for the Blue Devils basketball team of Duke University (her alma mater). Martin has won numerous state and national journalism awards, including the 2007 Paul Hansell Award presented by the Florida Society of News Editors for distinguished writing and reporting.

Construction workers Robert Cabral, left, and John Obermeier, both of Hudson, have not been paid in weeks. They are masons for the ONE St. Petersburg luxury condo building, shown in background, in the city's downtown. [Lara Cerri   |  Times]

Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly three dozen workers at ONE St. Petersburg, a luxury condo tower under construction in the heart of downtown, haven’t been paid in weeks and are owed thousands of dollars.With the holidays nearing, some of the men say...
Published: 11/22/17
This bayfront home in Tampa's Culbreath Isles sold in October for $6.48 million, the second highest amount paid for a residential property in the Tampa Bay area so far this year. [Judson Brady Photography]

Hurricane Irma hurt some Tampa Bay home sales even in October

Pinellas County home sales took another hurricane-related hit in October as the rest of the Tampa Bay area bounced back from Hurricane Irma.But while prices in all four counties rose once again, the rate of increase continues to slow.
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
A woman clutches a pillow as a Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy looks around the Valrico home that was

Housing scam: Rise of fraudulent deeds throws wrench into home ownership

Two years ago, Realtor Rod Banks put a vacant home in Valrico on the market. One day, when he stopped by to check on the house, it was vacant no more. Someone had moved in, along with roomfuls of furniture. There were sofas, throw pillows and...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Authorities, shown here on Monday, have beefed up their presence in Seminole Heights in the wake of the fourth unsolved killing in a month. Some real estate agents say the shootings have put a pall on the housing market.
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]

Seminole Heights killings worry Realtors but impact so far is limited

TAMPA — Four unsolved killings in a month have definitely shaken Seminole Heights. Less certain is whether they are hurting one of Tampa Bay’s hottest real estate markets. Some agents say they’ve seen no effect at all. Others are getting...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Retired Pinellas County Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Grundmann, 52, and his wife, Carol Grundmann, 53, have spent four years battling their bank and loan servicer (Green Tree, now Ditech) over a wrongful foreclosure on their home in Seminole, background. Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge John Schaefer, who called it the

Judge: ‘I’ve never seen such horrible treatment’ of a homeowner

As head of civil processing for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Tim Grundmann supervised employees who serve subpoenas, eviction notices and notices of foreclosure.Thus it was embarrassing to Grundmann when a clerk told him:...
Published: 11/09/17
Club Skye, Tampa Bay's best known hip-hop club, is accused of playing music for years without paying for it. In this file photo, rapper Lil Wayne performs at Club Skye to a packed house.
[LUIS SANTANA | Times, 2015]

Tampa’s Club Skye profits from music but doesn’t pay for it, suit says

TAMPA — Club Skye, Tampa Bay’s best known hip-hop club, is accused of playing music for years without paying for it. In a suit filed this week in federal court in Tampa, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is alleging...
Published: 11/09/17
A Tampa company originally planned to convert the top eight floors of  a downtown building into 120

Those tiny Tampa apartments are out, regular apartments are in

TAMPA — Goodbye micro apartments, hello regular apartments.Urban Core Holdings has scrapped its plans for 120 teeny apartments at 220 Madison Street in favor of 48 more conventional ones geared toward students. Although the micro...
Published: 11/07/17
Updated: 11/09/17
The Snell Isle Apartments, built in the 1920s to temporarily house wealthy home buyers, recently sold for $2.25 million to a St. Petersburg company that plans to restore them

Perry Snell’s historic apartments getting new life

ST. PETERSBURG — A Kentucky druggist named C. Perry Snell moved to St. Petersburg in 1900 and began buying up land. To lure rich northerners to his new development on a nearby island, he hit on a novel idea: he would offer them a place to stay while...
Updated one month ago
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), accompanied by other Republican legislators, held up an example of what a

Five ways the proposed tax plan impacts Florida

The proposed federal tax overhaul — outlined in depth in the 429-page "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" — will affect every taxpayer differently. But in multiple ways, most Floridians will be less adversely impacted than others since Florida has no...
Updated one month ago
Singer Daniel Orlando has sued St. Petersburg entrepreneur Bill Edwards, saying he hurt his music career and reputation. Edwards is also the owner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
[DAVID W DOONAN | Special To The Times, 2016]

Suit: Singer says St. Pete music promoter Bill Edwards hurt his career

Three years ago, singer Daniel Orlando contracted with St. Petersburg entrepreneur Bill Edwards to promote his recording career. Now Orlando claims Edwards hurt both his career and his reputation in the music industry.In a lawsuit filed Friday...
Updated one month ago