tampabay.com

Talk of the bay

By TIMES WIRES
Published January 12, 2007


LAW OFFICE IS LOADING UP ON TALLAHASSEE TIES

First, an ex-governor; now, an almost-was. A day after bringing former Gov. Bob Martinez into the fold, Holland & Knight is adding ex-Rep. Jim Davis to its government relations roster. Will the law firm complete the hat trick and nab ex-Gov. Jeb Bush? Davis, a lawyer who lost the governor's race to Charlie Crist in November, will join Holland as a partner and split his time between the firm's Tampa and Washington, D.C., offices. Like Martinez, Davis is a Carlton Fields alumnus (though Davis' stint there ended almost 20 years ago). Unlike Martinez, he's a Democrat. Karl Koch, a former chief of staff for Davis, also is coming on board.

Company gets hold of another bank

Tampa-based Florida Bank Group is spreading its tentacles into the far corners of the state. The bank holding company said Thursday it has an agreement to acquire the Bank of Tallahassee, which has assets of $81-million. Last month the group got a charter for the startup Bank of North Florida in downtown Jacksonville. It also owns the more established Bank of St. Petersburg, with branches in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Group chairman Robert Rothman said the Tallahassee bank will continue to operate as a community bank under its current name.

Engineering firm back on right road

Tampa engineering firm PBS&J is back in good graces with its largest client, the Florida Department of Transportation. It didn't come cheap: PBS&J has refunded the state $11-million, restitution for overcharging by ex-chief financial officer Scott DeLoach. "It is, for all intents and purposes, settled," senior vice president John Brandvik said. It's not over for DeLoach, accused of embezzling millions from clients and co-workers. He and two associates could be sentenced in federal court Feb. 15. PBS&J, with 300 employees in Tampa, specializes in highway consulting. Its clients include the Florida Turnpike Authority, which runs the Suncoast Parkway.

Correction

Matt Newton is innovation manager for Whirlpool Corp. His last name was spelled incorrectly in a story in Thursday's Business section.

Industry in crisis

Learn about the problems facing insurance companies in Florida at tampabay.com/insurance.