By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 6, 2001
Campaign gift case ends with $500 fine
TAMPA -- Arthur C. Novacek left federal court Friday smiling after being fined $500 for making an unlawful campaign contribution. The stakes could have been much higher.
Novacek, 73, was charged in a case that involved $2,000 in contributions to Longshoremen's Local president Perry Harvey in his unsuccessful bid for Hillsborough County Commission in 1996.
At the time, Harvey was negotiating the employees' contract for Novacek's company, Eller and Co.
Prosecutors said the contributions were a bribe that led to Harvey approving pay cuts that saved the business upward of $230,000.
The state's highest court rejected claims from killer Robert Dewey Glock II that he was the victim of racial profiling when he was arrested in 1983, returning a ruling one day after Thursday's 45-minute hearing in Tallahassee.
In a 6-0 ruling, with Justice Peggy Quince recusing herself for unspecified reasons, the court issued a 26-page ruling that rejected every argument made by Glock's appointed attorney, Terri Backhus of Tampa. With Glock's execution set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Backhus said that she will appeal the case to the federal level.
PORT RICHEY -- It's a good bet that a second casino boat is coming to Port Richey. That tip, from the chairman of SunCruz Casinos LLC, is the latest development in the feud between the owners and the operators of the Port Richey gambling boat.
The dispute began just after SunCruz was sold by Gus Boulis. Its boats in Port Richey and Citrus County were operated by Paradise of Port Richey, a partnership between Boulis and Pasco residents Molly and Alex Kolikithas.
In a federal lawsuit filed Friday, SunCruz accused Boulis and the Kolikithases of swiping its slot machines, damaging its boats and appropriating the company's logo.
TAMPA -- James Grant Wagner does not come across as the typical scam artist. The father-to-be draws a six-figure salary as a sales representative. But now, after his sentencing Friday, he is headed for a five-month stint at a halfway house followed by five months of house arrest.
He will also serve three years of probation and pay more than $100,000 in restitution. Wagner, 33, agreed last summer to plead guilty to federal mail fraud.
TAMPA -- A man broke into his ex-girlfriend's apartment Friday and stabbed her, police said.
Melissa Lynn Tolbert, 20, suffered stab wounds to her head and chest. Her condition was not available Friday.
Police have arrested Carlos Watson, 21, of 10412 N 24th St. He faces charges of attempted murder and armed burglary.
According to police, Watson turned off the main breaker providing electricity to Tolbert's apartment.
Watson then forced his way into the apartment, struck Tolbert's roommate and knocked down the locked door to the bathroom where Tolbert was hiding, police said.
TAMPA -- Five-year-old Jakob Lybarger fell out of his family's second-story apartment Friday afternoon, hitting the sandy ground 18 feet below.
Doctors at Tampa General Hospital put six stitches into the top of his head and listed him in serious condition Friday night, although he already was lobbying to leave.
"All he wants is to go home," said his mother, Renee Sanchez. "He's a fearless little boy."
Jakob had been sitting on the inside ledge of a window in their Cypress Run apartment at 15501 N Bruce B. Downs Blvd., playing with a handheld video game.
The family's dog, a boxer named Princess, became excited and jumped at the boy.
Jakob, who weighs only 5 pounds more than the 53-pound dog, was pushed backward through the screen over the window. Tampa police officers said the fall was an accident.
Jakob is in kindergarten at Tampa Palms Elementary School. Sanchez said he might be able to return home today.
ST. PETERSBURG -- With a little more than three weeks remaining before the Super Bowl, the organizers of a St. Petersburg waterfront concert weekend were working Friday to sign a headline band and nail down corporate sponsors.
The Superfest 2001 event is scheduled for Vinoy Park on Jan. 26-28, the same weekend as Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa. The event is not sanctioned by the official Super Bowl Task Force. In its Friday report, Dee>Art event coordinator Deborah A. Jones listed 12 event sponsors, four of which are corporations owned by or closely tied to Dee>Art, Jones and Johnson.