Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After election loss, Hillsborough property appraiser gave successor the brush-off

TAMPA — Bob Henriquez had hoped to spend some time talking with Rob Turner before taking over his job as Hillsborough County property appraiser — maybe even get a tour.

But in the two months since being elected, Henriquez said he wasn't able to set foot in the office. He said he was told by Turner's top staff that his soon-to-be predecessor wasn't interested.

"I was told through Warren Weathers and others that that wasn't what Mr. Turner wanted to do," Henriquez said, referring to Turner's chief deputy. "He was the boss until his term ran out."

Henriquez said he decided not to push the issue. He requested and received resumes of roughly a dozen management-level employees, their job duties and an organizational chart. He was also able to sit down with those employees individually — but outside County Center at the Tampa Law Library.

"I imagine that was with the blessing of the boss," Henriquez said.

Henriquez's first visit to his new workplace came Tuesday, before a swearing-in ceremony at the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse in the morning. The investiture was followed by his first formal staff meeting, something he described as "an awesome experience," and one that was likely "cathartic" for the office he has inherited.

He said later that he understood Turner got a similar non-welcome from predecessor Ron Alderman after a bruising campaign fight, which Weathers confirmed.

"We did things just like that," Weathers said. "Everyone was cooperative and cordial. We just didn't get into the office until after he took the oath."

Turner did not return a call seeking comment.

A cloud has hung over the property appraiser's office for seven months, since Turner admitted to the Tampa Bay Times that he had sent multiple pornographic emails to his human resources director. Turner acknowledged that he dated the woman, Carolyn Filippone, while she worked for him and then fired her as the Times was preparing its story.

The revelations drew last-minute challenges to Turner's bid for a fifth term in office after 16 years on the job, from Henriquez, a Democrat, and by former Republican state Sen. Ronda Storms. Storms made Turner's admission the focus of her campaign, and easily defeated him in the Republican primary.

Henriquez, a 48-year-old former state legislator who had no Democratic primary opposition, was able to let Storms do much of the heavy hitting. His campaign touched lightly on the porn scandal, with Henriquez generally describing it as "unfortunate" but declining to castigate the deeply wounded incumbent directly.

Turner stopped taking spoken interview requests after the initial stories, accepting questions only in writing for a time before eventually declining to respond at all after his defeat.

Henriquez said he would have liked the chance to pick Turner's brain, look over the office and meet with staff to allay concerns about the potential for a shakeup. He said Tuesday he doesn't anticipate wholesale change, but rather a reinvigoration of the office.

And despite the brushoff, Henriquez was complimentary of Turner during his investiture remarks. "I honor the service of Mr. Turner," he told a crowd of nearly 100 friends, family members and elected officials. "It has been a very well-run office for many, many years."

Afterward, he expressed empathy for Turner and declined to criticize him for failing to extend a welcome. He said he had run into Turner at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' home finale and the two had a cordial conversation. "Maybe there will be some opportunities to talk in the future," Henriquez said. "Given the personal nature of how this came about . . . obviously this was very difficult for him and his family."

Bill Varian can be reached at varian@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3387.

After election loss, Hillsborough property appraiser gave successor the brush-off 01/08/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 7 Florida finishes No. 17 Gonzaga in 2OT; No. 1 Duke up next for Gators

    College

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Jalen Hudson scored a career-high 35, including eight 3-pointers, and No. 7 Florida downed No. 17 Gonzaga 111-105 in double overtime Friday night at the PK80 Invitational.

  2. Lightning attitude under fire after loss to Capitals

    Lightning Strikes

    WASHINGTON — You don't often sense frustration in captain Steven Stamkos' voice, at least not this season.

    Vladislav Namestnikov, right, who scores the Lightning’s only goal, is sent flying by Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen, who goes off-kilter in the process.
  3. Fennelly: In all that drama, real rivalry is born

    College

    ORLANDO — Now it's a rivalry.

    We had talked all week about what it would take to turn USF-UCF into a real rivalry, because it's too young to be one. Not enough history. What would it take?

    It took Friday.

    It took UCF 49, USF 42.

    USF fans congregate during the first half of Friday's (11/24/17) in-state rival NCAA football game between UCF Knights and the USF Bulls at Spectrum Stadium at the University of Central Florida (UCF). (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
  4. Jones: Thriller doesn't diminish what might have been for USF

    College

    ORLANDO — It has been a heck of a season. It really has.

    USF safety Devin Abraham (20), left, is comforted by backup quarterback Chris Oladokun at the conclusion of Friday's (11/24/17) in-state rival NCAA football game between UCF Knights and the USF Bulls at Spectrum Stadium at the University of Central Florida (UCF). (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
  5. Hernando deputies identify woman killed in Brooksville home

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Sheriff's Office on Friday identified the woman killed on Old Stage Coach Road earlier this week as 32-year-old Janet J. Carroll.