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Talk of the bay: St. Joe offers 3 prime parcels in Web auction

By Times Staff
Published March 7, 2008


Florida's largest private landowner needs to unload some Panhandle property. So St. Joe Co. is selling three large land parcels through an online auction. The auction calls for minimum bids of $10-million for 3,000 acres near Tallahassee, and $1-million each for 56 acres near Port St. Joe and 29.5 acres in Bay County. A St. Joe executive said the auction will attract international customers and may be considered for other properties. The auction is being handled by LFC Online of Newport Beach, Calif. ( are due May 1.

Shipwreck secrets may be pried open

Tampa deep-sea treasure hunters Odyssey Marine Exploration, which found a shipwreck last year yielding about $500-million in coins, might be forced to provide Spain its "best available hypothesis" on the ship's identity, a judge said Thursday. An attorney for the Spanish government has complained that Odyssey Marine has not complied with a judge's order to hand over enough information to determine if Spain has a claim to the 17 tons of colonial era coins salvaged from the wreck last year. U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday ruled that if Odyssey doesn't fully satisfy the order to hand over details of the wreck, the company will be forced to tell Spain the name of the ship the company suspects it has found. Citing security and other concerns, Odyssey has publicly disclosed few details about the shipwreck. No surprise in legal spats, both the Spanish government and Odyssey Marine claimed victory based on Merryday's ruling.

Sink may seek suit over fund debacle

In the wake of a $10-billion run last fall on Florida's local government investment fund, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink unveiled 10 proposals to strengthen safeguards over the investments. Topping the list? To decide if there are grounds for a lawsuit against investment firms that sold to the state mortgage-backed securities that were soon downgraded. Those firms included Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, UBS and Salomon Smith Barney. "I'm asking the law firm be given the authority to start a litigation analysis," Sink said, adding that Miami-based law firm Berger Singerman is already on stand-by. Sink also wants to expand the State Board of Administration by adding two financial professionals, and require that financial firms disclose if they are selling or offering advice inconsistent with their investment strategies.

[Last modified March 6, 2008, 23:09:13]

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