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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 5, 2003 15 years ago

Hearsay (Tampa edition)

This week's items: Gay Inskeep serves the needyHolland & Knight LLP sues Panamanian power plant over unpaid legal billDennis Hernandez & Associates sues over renovaton workImmigration Legal Center of America PA charged with breaking a lea

Hearsay (Tampa edition)


As the annual family gathering grew over the years, Thanksgiving at the home of Gay Inskeep became quite a festive event for the 6th Judicial Circuit's deputy court administrator. So three years ago she and her husband, Paul, came up an idea.

"It was my husband's idea, but we just felt our Thanksgiving meal was becoming too extravagant and that we needed instead to focus on sharing it with other people," says Inskeep, who succeeds Bill Lockhart in January as the circuit's new administrator.

This Thanksgiving the Inskeep family kept its new tradition and served about 80 needy individuals at the Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ in St. Petersburg. They expected 200 guests this year, because of her efforts to contact as many social service groups as possible to promote the event.

"We were a little disappointed but encouraged because, maybe, the economy has improved or people had somewhere else to go," she says. "They seemed like they were really in need and very appreciative of a hot meal. Besides, my husband is a really good cook and insists on cooking from scratch."

This year Inskeep experienced a surprise. An anonymous donor, who worked through a tight-lipped third party, donated 10 turkeys.

About 10 volunteers joined in the effort - mostly the couple, their children, other family members and a couple church members. Local entertainer Mike Balesteri complemented the effort.

"My brother and sister-in-law did the gravies and the pies," Inskeep says. "I opened cans of cranberry sauce. Our kids like it and helped serve desserts and bus the tables."

Past due

Stuck with a $198,144 legal bill, the Tampa office of Holland & Knight LLP recently sued the developers of a Panamanian power plant in the 13th Judicial Circuit.

Eden Bay Corp. retained the state's largest law firm in January last year over a contract dispute with Genertek International Corp. Eden Bay principals Sam Timpano of Lake Forrest, Fla., and Raul Arias de la Guardia of Panama City, Panama, claimed Genertek failed to deliver an operating power-plant project on the site of the Ceverenceria Nacional de Panama brewery in Panama City.

By August last year, however, the law firm decided to terminate its legal contract with Eden Bay and its two principals on allegations they failed to pay their legal bills.

The law firm charged the company up to $310 an hour for the services of partners, $165 an hour and up for associates and from $110 to $125 an hour for paralegals.

Against the grain

Don't ask Dennis Hernandez whether poplar wood stains well. The principal of Dennis Hernandez & Associates LLC is miffed over recent renovation work at his Tampa law office, 3339 W. Kennedy Blvd.

The securities litigation lawyer claims Tidmore-Henry & Associates, a Sarasota-based interior design firm, and its principal, William Tidmore, botched the job earlier this year. He seeks an unspecified amount in excess of $15,000 in damages in a recent lawsuit filed in the 13th Judicial Circuit.

In the complaint, Hernandez claims workers improperly installed wood flooring, stone tiles, carpet and conference room doors. He also claims he never would have selected poplar wood if he knew it didn't stain well.

Nagging claim

Largo attorney Mark R. Weiner doesn't want to talk about it, but a former landlord claims Immigration Legal Center of America PA defaulted on a lease agreement. State corporate records list Weiner, an international law attorney who joined Becker & Poliakoff PA in July, as the immigration services firm's president.

Tampa-based Austin Development Co., a holding of Alfred A. Austin and affiliated trusts, claims the immigration services firm defaulted in April on a 1,912-square-foot lease at 1211 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa.

Weiner, who referred all questions to Austin, says the immigration services firm closed earlier this year. But he would not release any additional information.

The lawsuit filed in the 13th Judicial Circuit does not specify exact damages. Carla Markowitz of Levin & McMillan, who represents Austin, says in the lawsuit the landlord is not happy with just possession of the premises. Under terms of the leases, the immigration legal services firm agreed to a 48-month contract valued at about $131,928.

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