Talk of the bay: If only election could provide such fortune

Published May 24, 2007

He may not like getting his hair wet, but presidential candidate John Edwards had reason to celebrate last week when Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration said it recovered 500, 000 silver coins from a 17th-century shipwreck. Much of the North Carolina Democrat's personal fortune is tied up in Fortress Investments, a New York hedge fund that is Odyssey's No. 2 shareholder with a 9.9 percent stake. Odyssey shares soared 81 percent Friday. According to his financial disclosure report, Edwards earned nearly $500, 000 last year as a senior adviser at Fortress, reportedly owes more than half of his $29.5-million in assets to Fortress investments, and received more individual contributions from Fortress staff through March 31 than from any other employer. Fortress subsidiary Drawbridge Global Macro Fund also owns an 8.7 percent stake in Shells Seafood Restaurants, a struggling Tampa chain whose stock trades for around a quarter. Can't win 'em all.

Home sellers try to tap vein in Spain

Tired of tilting at windmills at home, the people who sell Florida real estate will try hawking property in Spain. Three times the usual number of Florida companies plan to attend this year's SIMA Madrid Real Estate Exhibition from May 29 through June 2. It's not too big a stretch: Dollar-euro exchange rates are favorable and Spain's known as the Florida of Europe for its popularity as a second-home Shangri-la for northern Europeans. SIMA is the world's biggest international second-home expo. It draws about 150, 000 visitors to its 700 booths. Luxury condo developers from Greater Miami dominate the Florida contingent, but last year's expo lured St. Petersburg builder Construction Compliance Inc. Not that it led to mucho dinero: CCI filed for bankruptcy in April.


Due to inadequate information provided by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a Talk of the Bay item Wednesday on a free shipping offer was incomplete. For items ordered online from walmart.com for pick-up in stores, free shipping is available for tens of thousands of the more than 500, 000 items available for online purchase. But the free shipping offer does not apply to categories such as apparel, books, jewelry, mattresses, perishables and many large items such as hot tubs. Items arrive in stores seven to 10 days after an order is processed.

Industry in crisis

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