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Outgoing college president will give up 2001 salary

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 29, 2000

ST. PETERSBURG -- Peter Armacost, who is leaving after 23 years as president of Eckerd College, has agreed not to take his scheduled $189,000 salary as president emeritus next year, said the chairman of Eckerd's board of trustees, Arthur J. Ranson III.

Armacost will receive payment, however, beginning in 2002, Ranson said Wednesday. He said the decision was Armacost's, and he assumed it was made to grant the college more flexibility as it tries to shore up its finances. Armacost's sudden retirement came after trustees learned that more than $21-million of the college's small endowment was spent without their knowledge on college projects and operating expenses. Armacost did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

Retired officer pleads not guilty to spying charge

TAMPA -- The retired U.S. Army reserve colonel accused of spying for the KGB for 25 years pleaded not guilty Wednesday at a brief hearing.

George Trofimoff, 73, said nothing during his appearance in federal court. His case was tentatively set for trial in August.

Prosecutors said they would seek to postpone the trial because of delays in receiving evidence from Germany and Austria, which are cooperating in the prosecution.

From 1969 to 1994, Trofimoff worked for the U.S. Army at the Joint Interrogation Center in Nuremberg, Germany, interviewing Soviet bloc defectors and refugees. Prosecutors say he photographed thousands of documents for the KGB in exchange for $250,000.

Authorities seize 5 tons of cocaine, arrest 13

TAMPA -- Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday the seizure of 5 tons of cocaine off the coast of Ecuador and the arrest of 13 people on trafficking charges.

On June 17, U.S. authorities chased and caught a speed boat with four people and 2 tons of cocaine aboard, a federal prosecutor said.

The next day, U.S. authorities stopped nine people in two identical blue, 40-foot boats, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

One boat contained 3 tons of cocaine, and the other was fitted with extra fuel tanks to assist in a long-range journey, officials said.

Man pleads no contest to burning predator's house

TAMPA -- A man accused of lighting a sexual predator's house on fire last year pleaded no contest Wednesday and agreed to a sentence of 45 years of probation.

Raymond McCown, 23, of Wickline Drive in Riverview, was about to go to trial on arson and burglary charges when his attorney and Circuit Judge J. Rogers Padgett came to the agreement.

The probation will be suspended if McCown pays restitution for the damage the fire caused to the home, which is estimated at $40,000.

McCown, who had no prior felony convictions, had faced a maximum of 45 years in prison. McCown and Anthony Welch, 17, of 1606 E Bird St. in Tampa, were arrested Nov. 23 and charged with first-degree arson and burglary after they ran from Patrick J. Richards' house and collided with deputies. Residents had protested when Richards, a registered sexual offender, bought a home on Presidential Street in the Mango neighborhood.

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