Family sues jail over inmate's death

Published November 17, 2006


Four inmates died at the Hernando County Jail last winter and last week, the family of one of them filed suit.

John Wells was in the jail just over 10 days when the pressure inside his skull became so bad he had to go to the hospital.

He slipped into a coma for three weeks and died on Jan. 27 at Spring Hill Regional Hospital. His estranged wife, Elizabeth Wells, is charging that the jail was negligent in providing help.

When John Wells told a guard that he needed help, the lawsuit says, one guard said "You're pulling my leg" and ignored him. A fellow inmate said that Wells cried for days. Jail warden Don Stewart did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.



How much is a dog worth?

In the custody case involving two dogs rescued after Hurricane Katrina and adopted by two Tampa Bay area residents, the amounts were set at $1,000 for a St. Bernard and $750 for a shepherd mix.

Original owners Steven and Dorreen Couture of Louisiana are suing to get the dogs back, and a Pinellas County judge recently determined that the Coutures had a valid claim and that the dogs should be returned to them until the matter is resolved in court.

But state law allows for the defendants, Hillsborough County prosecutor Pam Bondi of Tampa and Rhonda Rineker of Dunedin, to post bonds to stay the judge's order until the trial.

The amount of the bonds was to be determined in court, but attorneys reached a compromise Wednesday and set the amounts of $1,000 for the St. Bernard adopted by Bondi and $750 for the shepherd mix adopted by Rineker.

A judge this week was to set a trial date.


Crist won't intervene in contested election

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist declined Thursday to get involved in a lawsuit brought by a defeated Hernando County commissioner trying to keep the seat she has held for 14 years.

Nancy Robinson filed suit Tuesday but wanted Crist to bring a case on the state's behalf.

"After reviewing your letter and other attached documents, I must decline to bring the requested action on behalf of your client," the governor-elect wrote to Robinson's attorney. "

That doesn't derail Robinson's own lawsuit.

The four-term District 2 commissioner claims election-winner Rose Rocco can't take office because she didn't live in the district on election day.


Ex-insurance agent in trouble again

Eight months ago, state authorities yanked Bijan Razdar's insurance license after determining that he had lured senior citizens into scams that cost them thousands of dollars.

Now, Razdar is accused of continuing to sell annuities after he lost his license, state officials say.

Razdar, 52, was arrested Oct. 18 at his Polaris Court home and charged with knowingly transacting insurance or otherwise engaging in insurance activities without a license, a third-degree felony.

Reached by telephone Thursday night, Razdar said the charges are "baseless."

Razdar, who had been an agent for 19 years, said, "I did not sell anything."


SOLDIER'S WELCOME: A "Welcome Home" celebration will be held tonight for Pinellas Park native Michael Delancey, who recently returned from Iraq. It will start at 8 p.m. on the football field of the Pinellas Park football complex at Davis Fields, 6050 76th Ave. N. The mayor of Pinellas Park, City Council members and U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young are scheduled to attend. Delancey, 21, was injured serving in the infantry.

HURRICANE-READY? Hernando County's long-awaited Emergency Operations Center should be "substantially complete" by Nov. 27, three days before hurricane season officially ends. That's 11 days late, or 66 days late, depending on who you ask.