Limousine Regulator’s Practices Called into Question

Posted on August 27, 2008 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

TAMPA — As a Hillsborough County commissioner, Kevin White serves on the government agency that regulates limousine services. This summer, he started a security business that advertises, among other offerings, limousine services for VIPs.

His new business, Icon Security Solutions Inc., has the same landlord as the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission, where White is the chairman. His storefront is sandwiched between two wings of the agency's office.

White initially denied he is providing limo services or plans to, although his company website touts "Superbowl Limos & Protection." The company is featured on the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee's list of emerging businesses available as local subcontractors.

White said the company would provide security for people in private limousines, and any other service for this year's game that is legal. White was then asked about another page on the Icon website describing its VIP service. It reads: "Our associations give us a wide array of vehicles to provide you with. Choose from 12 passenger Limousines, to luxury sedans, to sports cars." It also says the vehicles can be accompanied by drivers and "tailing escorts."

White told the St. Petersburg Times that the cars provided will not be classic limousines, and said the website may need some clarifying. "That's the problem when you start a start up business,' he said. "You find there are some things that need to be modified. Thank you for bringing that to my attention."

The PTC regulates all cars for hire that come with a driver, whether they are limousines or not. To do what his website pitches, White would have to have business ties with companies he regulates. Icon is not a certified limousine service with the agency. Any limousine service seeking to do business during the two-week runup to the Super Bowl will have to do so by affiliating with a locally certified company.

White also said he sees no conflict with renting space from the same person who leases space to a government agency he helps oversee. "It was just a building with space for lease within close proximity of my county office downtown," White said. "Location, location, location."

White has been dogged by questions about his conduct while holding or seeking elected office. He has paid fines for purchasing designer suits with campaign money, faces a sexual discrimination lawsuit from a former County Commission aide, and federal investigators have been asking questions about his dealings with a convicted mortgage swindler.

Source: St. Petersburg Times

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