Entries in Florida (21)


Florida Town Trying to Sell Unwanted Bridge

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(DAVIE, Fla.) -- Want to buy a bridge? Never used! A South Florida town has one for sale.

The unwanted bridge is in Davie, Fla. Last year the Davie Town Council commissioned a 90-foot bridge, intended to carry horseback traffic and hikers over a canal.

It was a good idea, but the design plans were never reviewed before construction started. Instead of a quaint bridge for horses and walkers, the construction company built a plain steel bridge designed for vehicle traffic.

By the time the mistake was noticed, it was too late.

The bridge cost Davie over $111,000 plus more than $17,000 for shipping costs. Faced with the massive expense of the bridge that doesn’t do what it was meant to, and that nobody seems to want, the town is looking to sell it.

They are reportedly asking for whatever someone is willing to pay.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Winning Powerball Ticket Worth $590 Million Sold in Florida

Scott Olson/Getty Images(ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla.) -- A single ticket matching all the numbers in Saturday's $590.5 million Powerball drawing was sold at a Zephyrhills, Fla., grocery store, according to lottery officials.

The winning numbers in Saturday's drawing were 10, 13, 14, 22, 52, and a Powerball of 11.

The identity of the lucky ticket holder was not immediately known. Florida Lottery officials did not indicate whether anyone had come forward to claim the jackpot yet.

Earlier estimates had put the jackpot at $600 million, however the Powerball website reflected at adjusted total of $590.5 million, still the largest jackpot in the game's history.

The previous record for a Powerball jackpot was $587.5 million on Nov. 28, 2012.

The odds of winning the top jackpot was 1 in 175.2 million.

Lottery officials said 80 percent of the possible combinations had been purchased, making it likely a ticket would match all five numbers and the winning Powerball.

The person or group holding the ticket will have to decide whether to take an annuity or the lump sum, which comes out to $370,896,780.54.

While there was only one grand prize winner, 31 tickets matched all five numbers, earning those lucky ticket holders a prize of $1 million each. Two tickets sold in New York and South Carolina were Power Play winners worth $2 million each, according to Powerball officials.

In the one month since California joined the list of 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands in playing, Powerball fever has swept across the Golden State and played a part in helping the jackpot swell to a record level, lottery officials said.

The country's most populous state became one of the top ticket sellers, alongside Florida and New York. Lottery officials said total ticket sales had hit $464 million for Saturday's historic drawing.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Florida Bomb Shelter for Sale as ‘Ultimate Man Cave’

Coldwell Banker Commercial Schlitt Murphy(FT. PIERCE, Fla.) -- A relic of the 1960s Cold War nuclear scare is a real life bomb shelter in Ft. Pierce, Fla. It’s recently gone up for sale and could be all yours for just $499,500.

Real estate broker Hoyt Murphy thinks there’s a good chance the listing will eventually be sold as a repurposing project. “We’ve called it the ultimate man cave,” Murphy told ABC News, though he admits it would likely take a “pretty creative person with some pretty deep pockets” to take on the remodeling.

The structure is located alongside the Florida Turnpike and was originally built by AT&T in 1967 to serve for shelter and to maintain communications in the case of any catastrophic event. It was built with the Cuban Missile Crisis, just 100 miles away, a fresh memory.

In the mid-1980s, AT&T decommissioned the shelter. It was sold to a group of Florida investors in 2005 and they’ve just put it up for sale.

Murphy said the 7,700 square foot, partially above ground bunker has 30 inch thick concrete walls and is by far the most unique property he’s handled in his 30 years in the business. “You mow your roof with a tractor… You could even build another house on top of it,” said Murphy.

But there has been some interest in the listing. Murphy said one group, the South Florida Survivalist Network, came to take a look at the shelter. Another contacted him about possibly using the structure for antique car storage. After six months on the market, Murphy said the word is only just starting to get out.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boca Mansion Squatter Releases Music Video

ABC News(BOCA RATON, Fla.) -- The Florida man who gained notoriety from claiming he had a legal right to squat in a $2.5 million home in Boca Raton has produced a music video, shot against a backdrop of the mansion, days after police ejected him from the home.

Bank of America asked a court to eject Andre “Loki” Barbosa from a home it owned in Boca Raton, Fla., leading police to seize the home last week while he was away from the house.

On Monday, Barbosa released a music video on YouTube, showing he and others dancing in front of green screen images of the home, as first reported by the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

The Brazilian national, 23, has not been charged by police for any crime. In December, he filed papers with the court, using a legal maneuver to say he had a right to stay in the home called “adverse possession.”

Bank of America filed an injunction against Barbosa last month.

Last week, in a statement issued after the home was secured, a spokeswoman for Bank of America said it appreciated “the assistance of local authorities and the patience of neighbors as we worked to have the trespassers removed."

“We take trespassing seriously, and in the interest of the community, we will take appropriate legal action to protect this and all properties we service,” the statement said.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bank of America Takes Florida Squatter to Court Over $2.5 Million Mansion

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(BOCA RATON, Fla.) -- Bank of America is taking a Florida man to court after he attempted to use an antiquated state law to legally take possession of a $2.5 million mansion that is currently owned by the bank.

Andre "Loki" Barbosa has lived in a five-bedroom Boca Raton, Fla., waterside property since July, and police have reportedly been unable to remove him.

The Brazilian national, 23, who reportedly refers to himself as "Loki Boy," cites Florida's "adverse possession" law, in which a party may acquire title from another by openly occupying their land and paying real property tax for at least seven years.

The house is listed as being owned by Bank of America as of July 2012, and that an adverse possession was filed in July. After Bank of America foreclosed on the property last year, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser's Office was notified that Barbosa would be moving in, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that he posted a notice in the front window of the house naming him as a "living beneficiary to the Divine Estate being superior of commerce and usury." On Facebook, a man named Andre Barbosa calls the property "Templo de Kamisamar."

After Barbosa gained national attention for his brazen attempt, Bank of America filed an injunction on Jan. 23 to evict Barbosa and eight unidentified occupants.

In the civil complaint, Bank of America said Barbosa and other tenants "unlawfully entered the property" and "refused to permit the Plaintiff agents entry, use, and possession of its property." In addition to eviction, Bank of America is asking for $15,000 in damages to be paid to cover attorney's expenses.

Police were called Dec. 26 to the home but did not remove Barbosa, according to the Sentinel. Barbosa reportedly presented authorities with the adverse possession paperwork at the time.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Povery Law Center, says police officers may be disinclined to take action even if they are presented with paperwork that is invalid.

"A police officer walks up to someone who is claiming a house now belongs to him, without any basis at all, is handed a big sheaf of documents, which are incomprehensible," Potok said. "I think very often the officers ultimately feel that they're forced to go back to headquarters and try to figure out what's going on before they can actually toss someone in the slammer."

A neighbor of the Boca property, who asked not be named, told that he entered the empty home just before Christmas to find four people inside, one of whom said the group is establishing an embassy for their mission, and that families would be moving in and out of the property. Barbosa was also among them.

The neighbor said he believes that Barbosa is a "patsy."

"This young guy is caught up in this thing," the neighbor said. "I think it's going on on a bigger scale."

Barbosa could not be reached for comment.

The neighbor said that although the lights have been turned on at the house, the water has not, adding that this makes it clear it is not a permanent residence. The neighbor also said the form posted in the window is "total gibberish," which indicated that the house is an embassy, and that those who enter must present two forms of identification, and respect the rights of its indigenous people.

"I think it's a group of people that see an opportunity to get some money from the bank," the neighbor said. "If they're going to hold the house ransom, then the bank is going to have to go through an eviction process.

"They're taking advantage of banks, where the right hand doesn't know where the left hand is," the neighbor said. "They can't clap."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Florida Orange Crops Dwindle, Orange Juice Futures Rise

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Orange juice futures rallied Tuesday in New York in the wake of lowered expectations for Florida orange crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast the Sunshine State will produce 146 million boxes of oranges this season, down 8 million boxes from previous estimates.  

The drop in supply caused the price of frozen orange juice concentrate for January delivery to finish at $1.2990 per pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange Tuesday, a rise of 3.6 percent.

The price was the market’s highest since September 14.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Man to ‘Sublet’ Last Name for a Year

Laura Evans Photography/Facebook(NEW YORK) -- What’s in a name?  Potentially, a lot of money.

That’s what Jason Sadler believes, and it’s the reason he is auctioning off his last name at the aptly named website  The 30-year-old founder of is “subletting” his name to the highest bidder for a whole year.

So what gives?  Is Sadler just sick of his last name, or is this all a shameless publicity stunt?

Both, actually -- along with a mini identity crisis.

“Throughout my life, I’ve had three separate last names, none of which have carried any real meaning for me or my sense of identity,” Sadler writes on his website.  ”Though I’m incredibly close with the members of my family, I’ve never gotten my sense of self from any family lineage or last name.  Instead, my sense of self has come from the hard work I’ve put in to building my company.”

So when his mother told him earlier this year that she was divorcing his stepfather, Sadler laughed and said, “Now I’ve got to change my last name, too!”

He was joking -- sort of.  But then he and his colleagues at I Wear Your Shirt, a marketing firm in Jacksonville, Fla., were brainstorming ways to get more exposure.  And then it hit him.  

”I want to change my name anyway,” he told ABC News.  “Let’s see what the world picks for me.”

On Nov. 1, Sadler launched his website, with bidding set at $0.  To date, 22 companies have placed a bid, with a high of $34,500 by JLabAudio.  

After the auction, which ends Dec. 12 at midnight, Sadler will legally change his name in the state of Florida, and on his Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.  Under the terms and conditions, Sadler is only requiring a 25 percent down payment, with the remaining 75 percent to be paid by Jan. 2, 2013.

“I’m going to buy a domain for whatever my new last name is,” he said.  “That will be my new personal blog for the next year.”  He will also use the new name as his byline for various articles and blog posts.

Sadler said he would invest the profits of his name change into his company, with 10 percent going to the charity Cheerful Givers, which provides birthday gift bags to disadvantaged children.

And when the year is up, who knows?

“I’m not going to change it back to Sadler.  I’ll either pick a random last name or put it up for auction,” he said.  “I really haven’t thought about it yet.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Walmart Rejects Student Singers on 9/11?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PEMBROKE PINES, Fla.) -- No good deed really does go unpunished, as students from Coconut Palm Elementary in Miramar, Fla., discovered on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11.

On that day, 75 students ages 7 to 10 -- all of whom were born post 9/11-- showed up at a Walmart store in Pembroke Pines, Fla. dressed in red, white and blue to sing “God Bless America,” as had been previously arranged.

But according to the Sun-Sentinel, a Walmart representative forbade the students from singing inside the store. Instead of singing inside the store, where students had hoped to surprise and cheer customers, they performed under a flag at half-mast outside.

At that time, police showed up in response to a report of a “flash mob situation.”

On Wednesday evening, Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling apologized on behalf of the company.

“We regret this happened and sincerely apologize to all those involved for this experience,” Whaling said in a statement to ABC News. “We recognize that this situation should have been handled differently and have reached out to the school to apologize and welcome them back to the store. We’ve enjoyed working with the school and want to continue our support.”

According to school principal Terri Thelmas, the performance had originally been approved by a manager named "Frank." But Frank was nowhere to be found when students arrived; they were later told he was fired. Another manager said the chorus was a “liability” and refused them permission to sing indoors.

“The wind was taken out of everybody’s sails -- from the parents to the teachers to the kids,” Michael DiScascio, 41, of Miramar, whose 9-year-old daughter was part of the chorus, told the newspaper. “There was a lot of confusion and disappointment.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Private Island in Florida Being Auctioned Online

Courtesy Fisher Auction(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- A 1.4 acre private island on the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, Fla., is up for auction for four days only.

The auction, which is being conducted online only, kicked off at 10 a.m. Monday and will close at 2 p.m. Thursday.

"The auction itself is called absolute, meaning the property will sell to the highest and most successful bidder," said Lamar Fisher, president of the Fisher Auction Company, who is presiding over the sale.

The property up for sale is a swordfish-shaped island covered with thick woods that has an assessed value of $42,000, according to Lee County property records.

According to the auction company's property information package, amenities include "deep water access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, breathtaking 360 degree riverfront views and proximity to luxury waterfront estate homes."

Fisher said a potential drawback for prospective buyers is that owners will need to have the capital to improve the property.

"If you want to build a home, you'll need to put in your well, your septic, your electric.  Those are your basic utilities," said Fisher.

And the island can only be accessed by boat, a mere 30-second ride.

Under zoning laws, the highest bidder will be able to build a single family home and other amenities like a boat house or dock.

The island doesn't have a name, but it does have an address: 14700 Island 1, Caloosahatchee River, Fort Myers, Florida, 33905.

Fisher is selling the island on behalf of Pan American Fund LLC, which took back the island when its previous owners, Arthur Paul and Pearl Hoffman, turned the property deed over to avoid foreclosure in April 2008.

Those interested in owning their own island must complete an online bidder registration, as well as put into escrow a $50,000 deposit to the auctioneer's settlement agent no later than this Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fired Orange Workers File Federal Complaint to Contest Firing

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.) -- Eight of the workers fired from a law firm in Deerfield Beach, Fla., on March 16 for wearing orange have filed a federal complaint against their former employer, contesting the firing.

Attorney Donna Ballman, who represents the eight of the 14 support staff, filed the complaint, alleging unfair labor practices, with the National Labor Relations Board.

"We hope our case will help change the law for other Americans," Meloney McLeod, one of the workers who filed the complaint, said in a statement. "Nobody should be fired because of the color of their shirt. It's wrong."

The Elizabeth R. Wellborn law firm declined to comment about the complaint to ABC News.

Ballman said Elizabeth Wellborn's husband gathered most, though not all, of the employees who were wearing orange that day and they were "told that management thought they were wearing orange shirts to protest working conditions, and they should pack their things and leave," Ballman said.

Ballman said some workers may have been wearing orange to mimic the uniform color often used by the Florida Department of Corrections. Those workers may have been protesting new work rules imposed by a new manager in early March. She said, for example, that they could not speak to co-workers over the walls of their cubicles, even to discuss work-related matters.

The complaint filed with the labor board stated in part, "I believe I was discharged for engaging in and/or for being suspected of engaging in concerted activity for the purpose of mutual aid or protection with coworkers and for the purpose of causing a chilling effect on other coworkers who might wish to engage in concerted activity in the future. In addition, my former employer imposed restrictive covenants on me which I believe violate my rights under the [National Labor Relations] Act, particularly in Paragraph 7."

Section seven of the law states: "Employees shall have the right to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection...."

The law makes it unlawful for an employer "to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7."

"They couldn't go to the break room and get coffee while on the clock," Ballman said. "There were suddenly lots of new restrictions on them. Some of them were upset about those new rules."

Ballman said, "Different people were wearing orange for different reasons that day, but the fact is it doesn't matter."

She said there have been cases where firing employees because management didn't like their shirts were found to be unlawful, including when AT&T workers wore shirts that said "Inmate #" on the front and on the back said "Prisoner of AT$T," which was activity protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

In Florida, employment is presumed to be at will, which means that unless stated otherwise by something like an employment contract or a piece of legislation, an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, said Kerri Stone, a law professor at Florida International University.

Janice Doble, 50, a fired copy room worker, also joined in filing the complaint. She said she was wearing orange because she was going to a happy hour with coworkers and was not protesting working conditions.

"Orange happens to be my favorite color. My patio is orange," Doble told Florida's Sun-Sentinel newspaper. "My lipstick was orange today."

Since the 14 workers were fired, three have reportedly been re-hired by the firm, possibly after explaining they were not a part of a protest, Ballman said.

Ballman is releasing a book this fall called Stand Up For Yourself Without Getting Fired: Handle Your Workplace Crisis Before You Quit, Get Canned, Or Sue the Bastards with Career Press.

"Everybody who can be fired for no reason is an 'orange American,'" she said. "Everybody that can be fired for wearing an orange shirt to work should be outraged by this."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio