5 Things to Know in Florida for Feb. 28

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

JUDGE: TAXPAYERS SHOULD PAY FORMER SPEAKER’S LEGAL BILLS

A Florida judge says taxpayers should pay the legal fees of disgraced former House Speaker Ray Sansom. Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey said Friday that she would side with Sansom. Dempsey didn’t say exactly how much she would award Sansom. He sued the state to recover nearly $1 million stemming from his successful defense of corruption charges.

1 DEAD FOLLOWING SOUTHWEST FLORIDA HOUSE EXPLOSION

Authorities say one person is dead after a fire and explosion blew the roof off a southwest Florida home. Sarasota County firefighters and deputies responded to the Colonial Oaks subdivision Thursday night. After putting out the fire, rescuers spent the night securing the scene. The blast had actually blown the house’s garage door across the street into a neighbor’s yard. When officials began searching the destroyed home Friday, they were able to confirm one fatality.

COMPETITORS HUNGRY FOR SEMINOLE BLACKJACK DEAL TO EXPIRE

As Florida lawmakers appear ready to allow key portions of the state’s high-stakes gambling deal with the Seminole to expire, other gambling interests are watching keenly for openings in the multi-billion dollar industry if the tribe and Gov. Rick Scott can’t negotiate something new. However, it’s not clear if those openings will emerge. In 2010, the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida signed a 20-year compact giving the tribe the right to operate slot machines at all its casinos in return for revenue sharing of at least $1 billion over five years.

FLORIDA CONSUMER CONFIDENCE RISES FOR 7TH STRAIGHT MONTH

Florida’s consumers continue to have confidence in the state’s economy. The monthly University of Floridaconsumer sentiment survey released Friday rose more than a point from last month. It’s the seventh straight month the index has increased. The new survey shows that consumer sentiment was 94.7 in month of December. That’s on a scale of 2 to 150 benchmarked to 1966 at a value of 100.

COP ACCUSED OF USING STOLEN TAGS TO AVOID TOLLS

A Sweetwater police detective faces felony charges for using stolen license plates to avoid tolls on Florida’sTurnpike. Det. Octavio Oliu surrendered Thursday, more than a year after he was suspended from the tiny, scandal-ridden department in Miami-Dade County. Oliu’s attorney C. Michael Cornerly told the Miami Herald his client will fight the allegations.

 

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