Archive for Real Estate

Stormy Daniels does Tampa: 10 minutes of dancing, then $20 a photo

An ad on a television inside the Tampa strip club Thee Doll House advertises the appearance Friday and Saturday by adult entertainer Stormy Daniels – real name Stephanie Clifford – who had an alleged affair with President Donald Trump at a casino hotel in Lake Tahoe in 2006. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]

TAMPA — Well, that was fast.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels made her first appearance at Thee Dollhouse on Friday evening, the first of several shows planned this weekend at the Tampa strip club.

She took the stage about 7 p.m. dressed in a pink, floor-length gown.

She was wearing considerably less by the end of her performance, just a white feather boa and a single item of underwear.

She did not use the pole.

After about 10 minutes, Stephanie Clifford, as she’s legally known, departed the stage to sign autographs and pose for pictures.

RELATED: Perfect (political) storm: The porn star, the president and a Tampa strip club

That’s why Clifford was at Thee Dollhouse, after all, to take advantage of the notoriety from her reported affair with Donald Trump — which is also why the strip club booked her.

"That was quick," said Pete, who would only identify himself as a 69-year-old retiree from New Jersey. "I guess it’s all about the money. It was really raining on her. But she is beautiful though."

He meant it was raining dollar bills from the crowd. A security guard scooped them up, the cash filling about half a bucket.

Others were less generous in assessing Clifford’s show.

"The show was boring and outdated," said a dancer who declined to identify herself.

A reporter counted about 60 people in the audience for the matinee. Management said more than 100 people attended the first show. The club was about half-full.

Clifford’s visit to Tampa comes as her purported relationship with Trump before he was president took a new turn this week. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, said he paid $130,000 to Clifford during the 2016 presidential campaign in a settlement that barred her from discussing the encounter.

But by disclosing that, Clifford’s manager said the performer need no longer obey the nondisclosure agreement that prevented her from talking about the purported affair she had with Trump at a Lake Tahoe casino hotel in 2006.

That’s why Thee Dollhouse general manager Warren Colazzo booked Clifford’s "Make America Horny Again" tour.

"Timing is everything," he told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this week. The club even had about 800 red hats that say "Make Thee Dollhouse Great Again" made to sell for $20 apiece.

And speaking of timing: The New Yorker magazine published a report Friday that former Playboy Playmate and model Karen McDougal had a nine-month affair with Trump from 2006-07.

The White House has denied the allegations of both affairs.

Politics is what brought Sean Davis, 47, of Valrico to the show. He said he does not like the president and did not come to the strip club for the adult entertainment.

"I really didn’t want to see her dance," he said. "I was hoping she would just sit on stage and spill the beans about Trump."

He paid $20 to pose for a photo with Clifford and shared it with the Times.

There were others, however, who just wanted to go to a strip club.

A man who would only identify himself as "David," for example, who said he is a 55-year-old business owner, said he didn’t even know the performer known as Stormy would be there.

"If I was her, though," he said, "I would bring a blowup Trump on stage."

He said he did not vote in 2016.

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MLBPA to open spring training camp for free agents Tuesday in Florida

A spring training site for dozens of unsigned free agents and hosted by the Major League Baseball players’ union will open Tuesday at the IMG Baseball Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Citing as rationale an “unprecedented” number of free agents still available, and as 30 team camps commence across Florida and Arizona, the union has invited its players to a facility it says would “replicate a professional training environment.” Beyond that, the union said, it would, “Continue to identify ways to generally support, provide ongoing information, and increase the visibility of unsigned players.”

Bo Porter, the former manager of the Houston Astros and a longtime major league player and coach, will head the camp. Attending players will be housed and insured by the union. They also will receive a per diem. The camp is scheduled to run through the first week in March, though it could go longer or shorter depending on participation.

It is unclear how many players will attend.

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SpaceX rocket launched from Florida with satellite for NATO surveillance

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Jan 31 (Reuters) – A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida on Wednesday carrying a Luxembourg-made communications satellite designed to expand NATO’s surveillance reach and its capability to deter cyber attacks on alliance members.

The liftoff at 4:25 p.m. EST (2125 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station followed a technical glitch that prompted a 24-hour flight delay. It marked the second rocket launch this year for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and his privately owned Space Exploration Technologies.

It comes a week before the California-based company is slated to conduct its highly anticipated first test flight of the much larger and more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket, which packs three times the thrust of the Falcon 9.

Wednesday’s payload is a communications satellite built for LuxGovSat S.A., a public-private joint venture between the Luxembourg government and Luxembourg-based telecommunications company SES, in part to fulfill that nation’s growing defense obligations to NATO.

The so-called GovSat-1 satellite will provide, among other things, greater cyber protection for Luxembourg’s European Union partners and NATO allies, including the United States, Luxembourg Defense Minister Etienne Schneider told a news conference on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Schneider said the $279 million satellite is part of a broader policy of doubling the country’s contributions to NATO.

Citing new security threats, a senior NATO official told Reuters in March that the alliance planned to spend more than $3 billion on defense technology, a third of which would go toward satellite communications.

Unlike many recent SpaceX launches, no attempt was made to retrieve the rocket’s reusable main-stage because the SES satellite had to be carried to a higher Earth orbit, leaving the booster without sufficient fuel to fly back to Earth for a return landing.

The same Falcon 9 booster was used last year in a mission to launch a top-secret payload into space for the U.S. government. (Editing by Steve Gorman and Sandra Maler)

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Border Patrol agents spark anger after boarding bus in Florida to ask passengers for proof of citizenship

The two uniformed U.S. Border Patrol agents clambered aboard a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and instructed passengers to show proof of citizenship.

"This is new?" a woman on the bus from Orlando to Miami asked fellow passengers as agents questioned another woman several seats in front of them. "You ridden on the bus before?"

"Yeah," another passenger replied. "A police officer is not even allowed to ask for immigration papers.… You have no right to stop me and ask me for ID."

Video of the encounter Friday spread on social media over the last few days, generating fierce criticism from rights advocates who question the legality of such searches.

"Proof of citizenship is NOT required to ride a bus!" the Florida Immigrant Coalition said in a statement when it shared the video on Twitter.

Though immigration inspections on Greyhound buses are not widely publicized, they are not new. Border Patrol agents routinely conduct such inspections at transportation centers across Florida, the Customs and Border Protection’s Miami sector said in a statement Tuesday.

Over the years, activists have voiced concern in cities from Miami to Spokane, Wash.

Some activists say that such enforcement actions violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The ACLU of Florida said it was investigating what happened at the Fort Lauderdale bus station. "We are extremely concerned with the contents of this video," it said in a statement.

"Immigration raids yield to unconstitutional practices that can violate the right to equal protection and the Fourth Amendment by coercing vulnerable individuals to submit to interrogations about their citizenship and immigration status, conducting unreasonable searches and seizure and targeting people of color," the statement said.

Customs and Border Protection officials say they are following federal regulations. The Immigration and Nationality Act allows immigration officers to conduct searches, without a warrant, within 100 miles of any U.S. border. The entire state of Florida is within 100 miles of the coast.

With tickets from Orlando to Miami selling from as little as $28, Greyhound is a popular means of travel for many poor, working people, including immigrants. Many do not have driver’s licenses.

Border Patrol agents should not be allowed to board private Greyhound buses to question travelers without a judicial warrant, said Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, membership director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

"This creates terrifying concerns for our community," she said. "Are Border Patrol officers going to be stopping us and asking us for our citizenship when we are at public parks, when we go to get groceries, when our kids are walking to school?"

While Customs and Border Protection officials say such inspections are vital to national security, activists counter that they erode public trust in police, breed fear and threaten public safety.

Sousa-Rodriguez said there was a need for stricter limits and parameters to the 100-mile rule, as well as more accountability and training of officers.

"Is there anywhere in our state that we are safe from the harassment and invasion and infringement upon our civil liberties?" she said. "Do we have any protections in this country anymore?"

The video, which as of Tuesday afternoon had amassed 2.3 million views since it was posted Saturday, shows two uniformed officers, with "POLICE U.S. BORDER PATROL" emblazoned on the back of their shirts, walking through the bus.

As the video rolls, passengers near the back of the bus lift up their cellphones to shoot videos. Among themselves, some question the agents’ right to demand identification.

After questioning the woman near the middle of the bus and inspecting her identification, an agent asks: "Where’s your luggage?"

The woman was heading to a friend’s house in Miami after visiting family in Virginia and meeting her granddaughter for the first time, Sousa-Rodriguez said.

In statement Saturday shared by the coalition, the woman’s daughter-in-law said she was concerned about the officers questioning the woman without a lawyer present.

The Border Patrol’s Miami sector said Tuesday that agents arrested a Jamaican woman at the Fort Lauderdale bus station. Officials said the woman had overstayed her visa and was transported to the Dania Beach Border Patrol station and then turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings.

Activists in Florida say they have long heard regular complaints from immigrants using Greyhound, but the number of calls appears to have gone up in recent months.

"We’ve gotten calls from people who have seen immigration officers on their buses in Tallahassee, in Gainesville, in Tampa, in Orlando," Sousa-Rodriguez said. "It’s really a pervasive problem."

With mounting criticism of its practice of allowing Border Patrol agents on its buses, Greyhound released a statement saying it was required to follow all local, state and federal laws and cooperate with enforcement agencies.

"We hear you, and we are listening," the statement said. "Unfortunately, even routine transportation checks negatively impact our operations and some customers directly.

"We encourage anyone with concerns about what happened to reach out directly to these agencies," the statement said. "Greyhound will also reach out to the agencies to see if there is anything we can do on our end to minimize any negative effect of this process."

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Florida prisoners plan Martin Luther King Day strike over ‘slavery’

Inmates of Florida’s prisons are planning to use Monday’s Martin Luther King Day holiday to launch a statewide strike over conditions they say amount to modern-day slavery.

The unusual protest has been called by inmates angry at being used as unpaid clean-up crews for storm debris in sweltering temperatures last September, after Hurricane Irma struck the state.

But organisers cite a number of other long-standing grievances for the planned month-long action, in which prisoners will refuse to take part in work assignments and forego purchasing “overpriced” luxury items such as snacks and toiletries, in an attempt to hit the state’s department of corrections in the pocket.

“Our goal is to make the governor realise that it will cost the state of Florida millions of dollars daily to contract outside companies to come and cook, clean and handle the maintenance,” the unnamed prisoners said in a statement posted on the website of the inmates’ advocacy group Fight Toxic Prisons.

“This will cause a total breakdown. We must use everything we have to show that we mean business.”

Florida has the nation’s third-largest prison system with 97,000 inmates, according to state figures. It is also one of the most troubled and violent such systems, with allegations of abuse of inmates rife.

In 2017, officers were cleared of blame for the death of a mentally ill patient they left in a scalding shower for two hours as punishment. In-depth investigations by the Miami Herald uncovered large numbers of rapes, beatings and cover-ups in the state’s non-air-conditioned jails.

The prisoners have dubbed their protest Operation Push, after civil rights leader Jesse Jackson’s 1970s campaign to improve economic conditions for African Americans. Almost a third of Florida inmates are black, compared to fewer than 17% in the general population.

One key demand is a reasonable wage for the labour inmates provide.

“They force them to work at gunpoint and they pay them nothing,” said Paul Wright, executive director of the Florida-based Human Rights Defense Cener.

“There’s a word for that, it’s called slavery.

“Florida is one of the few states in the country that doesn’t pretend to pay even a nominal wage. Some states might say they pay 10 cents a day, or 15 cents an hour, or whatever, but here they make it pretty clear they don’t pay prisoners anything, they’re not going to, and prisoners are totally enslaved at every level.

“There’s no legal way for Florida’s prisoners to earn money in the prison system.”

The inmates also want the return of parole as an incentive for those with long-term sentences and an end to what they see as price gouging on food and other necessities.

“One case of soup on the street cost $4, it costs us $17 on the inside,” the prisoners said in their statement. “This is highway robbery without a gun. It’s not just us that they’re taking from. It’s our families who struggle to make ends meet and send us money, they are the real victims.”

Advocacy groups and friends and families of inmates have organised solidarity rallies outside several prisons and department of corrections offices on Monday, including in Miami and Tallahassee.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, officials sent an email to employees at department headquarters urging them to lock doors and stay inside during the protests.

Tensions are running high in the Florida prison system. Last August, all facilities were placed on a three-day lockdown after unspecific threats of rioting.

In an emailed statement to the Guardian and other media outlets, department of corrections communications director Michelle Glady did not address detailed questions about the planned response to Monday’s planned protests.

“The department will continue to ensure the safe operation of our correctional facilities,” she said.

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90-year-old Tampa man missing, cold prompts safety concerns

TAMPA, Fla. – Investigators searching for a missing 90-year-old man are concerned for his safety due to the cold weather.

Sebastian Francis was last seen at about 11:15 a.m. outside the Winn Dixie supermarket at 2525 N. Dale Mabry Highway. He waited in a vehicle while a family member went inside the store, but when they returned, Francis and the vehicle was gone, Tampa police said.

Francis does not have a phone, does not drive and lives several miles away from the supermarket, police said.

"Tampa Police have been searching for him for several hours and are now asking for help from the public, especially given Mr. Francis’ advanced age and the prospects of a very cold night," the department said in a statement.

Francis is described as a black male, approximately 5 feet 2 inches tall, 130 pounds with gray hair. He was last seen wearing a heavy black jacket and dark pants.

Anyone with information regarding Francis’ whereabouts is asked to contact Tampa police at 813-231-6130.

© 2018 WTSP-TV

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U.S. Rep. Darren Soto launches task force on Puerto Rican arrivals to Central Florida

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto (Steve Cannon / AP)

U.S Rep. Darren Soto announced the formation of a regional task force to address the needs of displaced Puerto Rican evacuees who have arrived in Central Florida since the island was bombarded by Hurricane Maria.

The task force met for the first time Thursday in Kissimmee. It also includes U.S. Rep. Val Demings, state Sen. Vic Torres and state Reps. Amy Mercado, John Cortes and Carlos Guillermo Smith, all of whom are Democrats, as well as several officials from Osceola and Seminole counties.

Soto, D-Orlando, recently visited Puerto Rico with fellow Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson.

In a statement, Soto’s office said the group will seek “effective ways to tackle the housing, educational, employment and healthcare challenges facing new Puerto Ricans in the area.” More than 280,000 people have arrived in Florida from Puerto Rico since Oct. 3, according to state figures.

Seminole tax collector asks Scott to allow pre-payment of 2018 property taxes »

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Criminal Charges Recommended in Florida State Student’s Fraternity Hazing Death

A grand jury on Tuesday recommended that prosecutors pursue criminal charges in the death of Florida State University fraternity pledge Andrew Coffey, who died on Nov. 3 after a Pi Kappa Phi “big brother” ritual.

Coffey, 20, passed out after drinking a bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon at the off-campus party and had to be carried by members of the fraternity, according to the grand jury finding. The next morning, he was found without a pulse by another pledge. An autopsy determined that he had a blood alcohol level of .447 — which Dr. Lisa Flannagan characterized as “abusive alcohol intake” in her testimony.

“We do see evidence that will support criminal charges and we leave the decision as to specific charging up to the State Attorney or a future Grand Jury,” the grand jury wrote. An investigation into Coffey’s death is still ongoing.

In an attachment to the report, Coffey’s parents called for more “accountability” from members of the fraternity, describing Coffey as a hard-working “friend to everyone” who planned to enlist in the Navy.

“Even as we are heartbroken, we are also troubled. Troubled that our son died alone in a room full of people,” they wrote. “Troubled that no one stood up and said ‘stop,’ ‘no,’ ‘enough.’ Troubled that a group of young people saw someone in crisis and didn’t act. And troubled that this continues to happen, again and again.”

“When young people continue to die senselessly due to indifference, reckless conduct and irresponsibilty, it is clear that change is not only necessary but crucial,” they added.

Coffey is one of several fraternity pledges who have died this year after alleged hazing rituals, leading many universities — including Florida State — to suspend Greek life and consider reforms to combat a dangerous drinking culture.

“While alcohol abuse is pervasive throughout our community, the scale on which it is embraced within the FSU chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity is alarming,” the grand jury’s presentment said. “The Grand Jury finds that while Andrew Coffey’s alcohol consumption was not physically forced, the acts that culminated in his death occurred within an environment of hazing.”

“Willingness of the pledges to engage in life-threatening behavior in no way absolves fraternity members of their criminal culpability if they did anything to incite or encourage the behavior,” the report stated.

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What Florida is saying about Doug Jones’ defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama | Miami Herald

Florida is reacting to Doug Jones’ victory over Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama. Here is what leaders are saying on Twitter:

God Bless America!

— US Rep Kathy Castor (@USRepKCastor) December 13, 2017

Steve Bannon is a cancer. Good people in Alabama were the first dose of chemo.

— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) December 13, 2017

It’s a good night folks. A very, very good night.Congratulations Senator-elect @GDouglasJones.

— David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) December 13, 2017
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Roy Moore lost. Steve Bannon lost. Donald Trump lost.Pedophilia lost.Bigotry lost.Homophobia lost.Racism lost.Doug Jones won.Mitch McConnell won.African-Americans won.Women won.Victims won.Justice won.Morality won.Values won.Sanity won. Decency won.America won.

— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) December 13, 2017

I do not pray as much as I should. In fact, I seldom do. But when I saw Jerry Falwell, Jr. praying on line today for a Roy Moore victory, I decided to post up on him. I prayed on and off all day that Moore would be defeated. Jerry, who’s your daddy?

— Mac Stipanovich (@MacStipanovich) December 13, 2017

The people of #Alabama put country first tonight by rejecting the disgusting Roy Moore. Congratulations to the Bannon wing of the @GOP for gifting a seat to @SenateDems in one of the reddest states. You have no future in our country’s politics. #AlabamaElection

— Carlos Curbelo (@carloslcurbelo) December 13, 2017

Good wins over evil. Congratulations to Senator-Elect @GDouglasJones (D-AL). A victory for women and a strong message about what America won’t stand for. Look out @realDonaldTrump, @GOP, this is only the beginning.

— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) December 13, 2017

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Find An Apartment Quickly In Tampa

Do you need an apartment in Tampa quickly? There are always going to be a lot to choose from, so you don’t have to worry about there not being something out there for you. Here’s a little more so you can find what you need.

You’re going to want to look at listings regularly so you can see what people put up online that they have for rent. If you don’t see something you like today, then you can look again the next day or even in a few hours after you first check and chances are there will be more apartments. This is a large city and people move into and out of apartments all the time. Contact people that have listings up you’re interested in ASAP if you want to be first in line or close to it so you have a chance at getting the apartment if you like it.

Go look at reviews for the apartment complex you’re thinking of moving to. You need to know what people thought of it when they lived there, and you may even find some current reviews from residents that live there now. If all you hear are negative things about the place, then you know that it’s not worth your time to try and live there. It’s better to go with what people like because that means that you have a better chance at enjoying your time while you live there. Bad reviews are going to come up for many apartments, but if they outweigh the good then you know to avoid that place.

An apartment in Tampa is easy to find if you use the tips you were just given. Just make sure you are careful about what you pick out. That way, you don’t get stuck with a place that you are not going to like and want to move out of.