By Will Hobson and Jamal Thalji, Times Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:56pm
TAMPA — William A. "Hoe" Brown, chairman of the Tampa Port Authority and a prominent Republican fundraiser, has been running an illegal rental property that Tampa's code enforcement director calls "deplorable" and "not fit for human habitation."
"It's shocking. People shouldn't have to live like that," said Jake Slater, Tampa's director of neighborhood empowerment, who termed the squalor among the worst he's ever seen.
Slater visited the Seminole Heights property Monday, and his staff returned Tuesday to tell tenants their apartments — in five split, singlewide mobile homes Brown illegally placed last year behind his office at 106 W Stanley St. — were unfit for habitation.
Code staff offered to connect the tenants with social service agencies. But Brown decided to reimburse the seven tenants — who range in age from 4 to the upper 60s — hundreds of dollars in back rent in exchange for accepting short-notice evictions.