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Mayor's wife's business role may pose conflict

She has pitched a product to Tampa's port and airport officials - and he is on both boards.

By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD
© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 28, 2001


TAMPA -- As a consultant for Leapfrog Smart Products, an Orlando-based technology company, Dr. Linda McClintock-Greco recently brokered a meeting between the company's executives and the director of Tampa International Airport.

The purpose: to pitch Leapfrog's line of fingerprint recognition technology as a means of monitoring security checkpoints at the airport.

McClintock-Greco is the wife of Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, who sits on the five-member board that runs the airport and that would have to approve such a purchase if a deal were struck.

Airport director Louis Miller said the airport was considering the use of fingerprint technology as part of a revamping of its security system, but no deal was struck with Leapfrog.

Miller said another company, ISR Solutions, already had the contract for the general upgrade, but it was unclear whether a subcontractor might be used for the fingerprint recognition aspect.

If a contract with Leapfrog came before the board, Miller said, Mayor Greco would have to abstain from voting.

"If that was the system we were going to use, there would certainly be a conflict," Miller said. He added: "Her company would be considered along with others."

Miller, whose wife works under the mayor as the head of the city's audit department, said the meeting with Leapfrog, at which McClintock-Greco was present, was three or four weeks ago.

It was not the only time McClintock-Greco's dual role as a company consultant and as the mayor's wife created the possibility of a conflict of interest. In recent weeks, she also pitched Leapfrog's line to the director of the Tampa Port. Mayor Greco also sits on the port board.

As compensation for her work for Leapfrog, McClintock-Greco earns stocks and options from the company. Leapfrog CEO Randall Schrader said McClintock-Greco owned 30,000 to 40,000 shares of company stock, worth roughly 80 to 85 cents a share on the current market.

Schrader said McClintock-Greco is one of more than 30 consultants the company uses, and that Leapfrog has pitched its fingerprint technology to airports, ports, and private businesses across the country, including nearly 20 private companies in Tampa Bay.

Schrader said McClintock-Greco started with the company several years ago, helping to develop smart card technology for use in the storage of medical data.

"She has been helpful to us in the health care arena and in several areas where she's had contacts, and she's worked with us as a consultant in helping to promote our business," Schrader said.

Mayor Greco did not return calls for comment. McClintock-Greco declined to comment.

- Times staff writer Steve Huettel and researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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