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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Nov. 21, 2003 14 years ago

Coffee Talk

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This week's items: Changes at the top for Dooley & MackReal estate power partnership formedBusiness leaders plea for AirtranTrouble for Civix and Rod Connelly?Schiavo overload

Changes at the top for Dooley & Mack

Dooley & Mack Constructors, one of the largest construction firms in Florida and the largest in the Sarasota-Manatee area, will no longer be run by either Dooley or Mack. Bill Dooley has been the chairman and chief executive officer since the company's inception in 1977. Ken Smith has been the company's president for many years. But as the company moves its national headquarter from Clark Road in Sarasota to its new building in Lakewood Ranch, it's making leadership changes as well.

Joe Vislay, who is now an executive vice president, will become president of construction. Mike Bruner, currently executive vice president of the company's Fort Lauderdale/Coral Springs office, will become president of operations. Dooley and Smith are expected to remain on the board, taking more advisory roles.

Dooley & Mack has suffered some negative public relations in recent years with the Van Wezel renovation dispute and the legal battles over the Sarasota County jail. Perhaps these leadership changes will give the company a fresh start with the public and new energy and focus.

Real estate power partnership formed

Annette Rogers is a real estate legend in her own time. In her early 70s, she has been a record-setting residential Realtor for Michael Saunders & Co. for decades, selling more than $50 million in real estate each of the last two years. She is well known for her "24-hour-a-day" work ethic.

Now Rogers is partnering with another big name at Michael Saunders, Michael Moulton, who is in his mid-40s. Rogers began his real estate career in the commercial division of Michael Saunders. In 1987, he became executive vice president of The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort; his wife, Katie Klauber Moulton, is general manager of the resort that has been owned and run by her family for years. But early last year, Moulton returned to Michael Saunders, this time in the residential area.

Moulton and Rogers combined residential real estate sales topped $75 million last year. They say their new partnership, officially launched Nov. 1, will create "greater efficiency" for our clients. Their clients will have equal access to both Realtors, as well as Rogers' long-time licensed assistant, Betsy Sublette.

Business leaders plea for Airtran

If you haven't yet received the e-mail from someone, you must not have access to an e-mail account. Fred Piccolo, president and chief executive officer of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, started it with a plea to business leaders across town. Airtran Airlines, a budget airline, might add more cities to its routes. The company has listed on its Web site 36 cities it does not serve along with a customer survey, asking Web site visitors to select a destination they would like to see added. Sarasota is one of those 36 cities.

The survey has kicked off a regional effort to get people to select Sarasota as the overwhelming choice. Piccolo's initial e-mail has been forwarded many times over, and the plea has been picked up in electronic communications from the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. Coffee Talk has now received the message and the plea no less than nine times. And yes, Coffee Talk did participate in the survey and select Sarasota. For your opportunity to help SRQ expand its services to include Airtran, go to the company's website at http://www.airtran.com/atlanta/.

Trouble for Civix and Rod Connelly?

Rod Connelly has had some big development plans for Sarasota. His company, Civix Inc., and its progeny of real estate and development holding companies, was formed in 1983 to develop commercial, residential and retail properties on the Gulf Coast. Last year, Civix got some attention for its proposed office and mixed-use development on the corner of Morrell Street and Orange Avenue in downtown Sarasota, but buzz about that project has essentially vanished.

Apparently, Civix was the developer of two projects in Port Charlotte - a Publix and a SunTrust Bank. Civix hired Charlotte Engineering & Surveying to perform engineering and development work on those projects. On Nov. 17, Charlotte Engineering filed a lawsuit against Civix, alleging Civix has failed to pay Charlotte Engineering everything due under the contract - $17,826.81 on Publix and $1,500 on SunTrust.

In the meantime, the corporate entity Civix Inc. administratively dissolved on Sept. 19, the same day Connelly's Civix Holdings Inc. also administratively dissolved, and one week before his Civix Holdings LLC and Civix Holdings II LLC administratively dissolved as well. The official address for all of those companies is the same as Connelly's given Sarasota business address: 2033 Main Street, Suite 104. Interestingly, in July and again in October, more companies that included the name "Civix" were formed in Florida - Civix Group Inc., Civix LLC, etc. - and all are located at 2033 Main Street, Suite 104. On these new corporate filings, however, Connelly's name does not appear. In fact, there are no managers, members or officers listed, just the Icard Merrill attorney who serves as the registered agent.

What will happen to Charlotte Engineering's alleged debt, now owed by a dissolved and defunct corporate entity? Time will tell. Connelly didn't return Coffee Talk's phone calls, while Charlotte Engineering attorney, Michael Drews of Jacksonville, declined comment.

Schiavo overload

Terri Schiavo doesn't pack them in like she used to.

A disappointingly small crowd turned out for a somber Nov. 14 right-to-die debate at the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa between George Felos, a Dunedin lawyer representing Schiavo's husband, and Diane Coleman, a disabled-rights attorney who leads a Chicago area group called Not Dead Yet.

"Look around," Tiger Bay Club Vice President Gregory Wilson instructed the audience at the Wyndham Harbour Island hotel. "There are probably more reporters than members here today."

And so there were. Television news cameras on tripods lined the back wall of the banquet room. Luncheon tables were not as well populated.

Attendance at the debate suggests the 6-year-long soap opera over an admittedly important and profound human issue has left average folks fatigued, even if Tampa Bay area news media and some Florida politicians haven't been able to bring themselves to move on quite yet.

Correction

The Review incorrectly reported a position change in the Newsmakers column. Mario Pezzella was appointed vice president of commercial lending for LandMark Bank of Florida. Thomas Quale is president and CEO of LandMark Bank of Florida.

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