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Pinellas man pleads guilty to trafficking in bogus sports jerseys

A 74-year-old Clearwater man faces up to 10 years in federal prison, after pleading guilty to trafficking in counterfeit sports jerseys. Thomas Walker owned and operated “Tim’s Sports Cards Plus,” operated from a booth at the Oldsmar Flea Market, where he sold numerous sports jerseys bearing the counterfeit trademarks of the NFL, NHL and MLB, according to a statement from the U.S.Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. In January 2017, federal law enforcement agents seized 699 jerseys bearing counterfeit NFL marks at the flea market and seized over 1,500 additional counterfeit jerseys from all three purported sports leagues at  Walker's home. Walker admitted that he had purchased the counterfeit jerseys from a supplier in China, prosecutors said.

Microsoft, USF create Medical School of Innovation

The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine at University of South Florida in Tampa and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) have teamed to create the first-ever Medical School of Innovation. The relationship is based on the the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute nearing completion in downtown Tampa. The initiative includes ‘outside the box’ plans for using newer, faster, leaner technology from both the literal hardware/software perspective, as well as from a construction and physical space perspective, a news release said. Among the Microsoft hardware being used within the new building are several Surface Studios, Teams in every collaboration space and classroom, and Surface Hubs on mobile stands throughout each floor and learning environment.

Tech Data buys software and cloud services firm

Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD), an IT distributor in Clearwater, agreed to buy DLT Solutions, a software and cloud solutions company. The purchase price was not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal, which is expected to close during the fourth quarter of Tech Data’s fiscal year. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, DLT is a government solutions aggregator that accelerates public sector growth for business partners that serve the federal, state and local markets. Tech Data is the largest company headquartered in the Tampa-St. Pete area based on revenue.

WellCare profit swells in Q3

WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG), a Tampa-based managed healthcare provider, reported net income of $241 million, or $4.74 a share, on revenue of $7.1 billion for the third quarter of 2019. Revenue was up 41 percent from the year-ago period and net income increased 85 percent. The jump in revenue largely was due to an acquisition last year, while the increase in net income "primarily reflects growth across all business segments and continued operational execution," WellCare said in a news release. The company, with 6.35 million total members at Sept. 30, has agreed to be acquired by Centene (NYSE: CNC) in 2020.

Calling all St. Pete artists: Dome Industrial Area markers

The City of St. Petersburg, The St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District and the Deuces Live are seeking artists/teams local to St. Petersburg to submit proposals to refinish the surface of each of the six Dome Industrial area markers.  The Dome Industrial Park, which includes the Warehouse Arts District, Tropicana Field area and Deuces Live historic main street was designated in 1999.  The art project is meant to "return these structures as part of a neighborhood fabric." The current cement structure signage is currently being removed by the City of St. Petersburg. The structures were "initially erected as homage to an industrial development, this art project seeks to return these structures to the neighborhood and the people who continue to reside within its boundaries." The budget for the large marker is $11,500 and each of the small markers is $4,500, which should include all costs for the final installed work. See the full project details here: Dome Industrial Area Markers Project Deadline: November 1, 2019 Submit via email: info@whereartismade.com

Valley Bank supports Feeding Tampa Bay

Valley Bank has invested $1.6 billion in the communities the bank serves, including providing a grant to Feeding Tampa Bay, which provides healthy meals and snacks to 700,000 central Florida residents. The bank's grant allowed Feeding Tampa Bay to purchase “Tater Tot,” a newly refurbished food truck that will deliver nutritious food to children within a 10-county footprint. The grant was highlighted in the 2018 corporate social report from Valley Bank, a regional bank with $32.5 billion in assets and the principal subsidiary of Valley National Bancorp (Nasdaq: VLY), headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey.

Rubio moves to block federal pension investments in China

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) plans to introduce legislation to block U.S. government pension funds from investing in Chinese stocks. Rubio is concerned about plans by a federal board that oversees billions of dollars of retirement savings for federal employees and the military, according to Reuters. That board said it would begin tracking a stock index that includes specific companies that Rubio says help the Chinese government's military activities, espionage, and human rights abuses. Although the board next month will reconsider its decision to track the index, Rubio said it was not clear that the board would act in the best interests of the United States.

MarineMax sales up, profit down

MarineMax Inc. (NYSE: HZO), a Clearwater recreational boat and yacht retailer, reported $40 million in net income, or $1.57 a share, on revenue of $1.24 billion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Revenue was up 5 percent but net income fell 8.5 percent compared to the prior fiscal year. Costs related to the company's store optimization plan and Hurricane Dorian cut into profit, but were partially offset by a final payment with the Deepwater Horizon settlement program, a news release said. Although the boating industry is "challenged," the company benefitted from the acquisition early in the fourth quarter of Fraser Yachts, a brokerage and service business, said Brett McGill, CEO. He said MarineMax would use the upcoming boat show season to bring inventory into line with industry trends.

Ruth Eckerd Hall plans to announce new CFO

Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc. said it will announce a new chief financial officer on Nov. 11. Lori Glover, who has been CFO since October 2012, is leaving the job at the end of this year, according to BroadwayWorld.com. Glover, who also has been vice president-finance of the Clearwater performing arts center since 2014, is the senior executive responsible for managing the financial aspects of the company, including overseeing the finances during a multi-phase $19 million renovation project. 

A-LIGN opens first international office

Tampa cybersecurity firm A-LIGN opened an office Sofia, Bulgaria. It's the company's first international expansion, a news release said. The international expansion allows A-LIGN to provide its clients cybersecurity services, such as penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, outside of business hours, said Scott Price, CEO. The fast-growing company, which has more than 300 employees who service 2,300 global organizations, opened an office in Denver in June.

St. Pete, Tampa rank high among startup cities

St. Petersburg and Tampa are both among the 50 cities nationwide on a new list of "best untapped cities for startups in 2020." The list, compiled by Fundera, an online small business financial resource, ranked cities based on their access to a talented labor pool, average labor cost, office space cost, average cost of living and proximity to a larger startup ecosystem. Tampa was No. 22 and St. Petersburg was No. 26. Each city had 52 venture capital deals between Q2 2016 and Q2 2019, according to Fundera.

Clearwater bank has a new owner

West Florida Bank Corp. has completed its previously announced acquisition of Flagship Community Bank, a Clearwater-based bank with about $121 million in total assets. West Florida, a newly created bank holding company, raised over $32 million in capital for the acquisition, said Paul Wikle, chairman. The company paid $14.57 per share for the outstanding shares of Flagship common stock, and Flagship shareholders can elect to receive cash, stock or a combination, a news release said. The West Florida team is made up of well-known local bankers, including Robert McGivney, who is CEO, Jim Nelson who is president and chief operating officer, and Rob Shaw, who is executive vice president.

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