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More studying, fewer Bladder Busts for Crist PSC appointee?

by Dara Kam | November 11th, 2009

bladderCould Gov. Charlie Crist’s Public Service Commission appointee be trying to distance himself from the perception he’s actively involved in managing a bar where they offer “Free Beer Til Someone Pees” at “Bladder Bust” night every Tuesday? Where a flier reads, “Don’t Die Sober on Friday 13th”?

friday13thspecialcopyCaught at his home in Pensacola today, Benjamin “Steve” Stevens corrected a Post on Politics reporter’s question about Rick’s Cabana Nightclub to say he wasn’t a manager, he was a co-owner.

A little later, when Post on Politics asked a bartender at Rick’s for the manager, she asked, “Oh, Steve?” and dialed Stevens up.

Stevens continued to insist he was not the manager, saying that there was a day manager and a night manager and the day manager was out of town.

His main interest in the liquor store and lounge operations is the building itself, he implied.

“It’s a commercial real estate investment,” he said. “It’s being treated like that right now. Otherwise I’d be there 24/7.”

Stevens, 44, was Escambia County Sheriff’s Office chief financial officer until January, when newly-elected Sheriff David Morgan took office and brought a new management team in. According to his application papers for the PSC position, he hasn’t worked for anyone else since then.

His real estate/accounting office is across the street from the club and package store where a bar employee says he is a regular presence.

These days, Stevens said he’s prepping for his new $130,000-a-year gig on the PSC.

Crist tapped him for the regulatory panel last month. With no ties to the PSC and no prior experience with utilities, he’s part of Crist’s clean sweep of the agency blackened by accusations of conflicts of interest with the utilities it regulates.

Stevens said he is poring over about 15,000 pages of documents to get up to speed on the two high-profile rate cases before he is sworn in and has to vote early in January — a proposed $1.2 billion rate hike for Florida Power & Light Co. and a $500 million rate increase sought by Progress Energy Florida.

Can he help clean up the PSC’s image?

“Absolutely,” he said. “Any time you have new eyes and thought processes it helps.”

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20 Responses to “More studying, fewer Bladder Busts for Crist PSC appointee?”

  1. This guy is sleazy Says:

    Is he drunk while he is “studying” for the PSC? Time for Crist to pick someone else.

  2. Sue Susan Says:

    I know Mr. Stevens and from what I observed this reporter did not just catch up with him. She deliberately went to his private residence, stood on his front lawn until he came outside, attacked him with questions and then went to his place of business and questioned his staff. What exactly is the story here? If it were me I would have thrown her out. You people should be ashamed.

  3. Pensacola CPA Says:

    Why isn’t the Pensacola News Journal reporting on this? Why is this story in a south Florida newspaper? What does this reporter even know about anyone from north Florida? Nice sunglasses on her photo. She fits in well at this bar.

  4. Pensacola Pete Says:

    Great question… WHY ISN’T THE PNJ REPORTING ON THIS?????

  5. Early Cuyler Says:

    Pathetic… the first poster is obviously Dara trying to get people to pile on… not working… I dont know why she has such a hard on about this guy and his bar, plus it says sleazy in the name and that always makes me think of her fishnets but seriously Dara how does it feel to have someone spew crap about you? To show up on someones doorstep when you are coming from South Florida to write an attack piece on them is pathetic when it has absolutely no bearing on their ability to be a PSC commissioner. Plus can you imagine that poor employee being cornered by her?!?!? I can only imagine she dressed up hoping to go clubbing and that thought makes me need to go slam my head against the wall….

  6. R U Kidding???? Says:

    The fact that a reporter – where ever he or she may be from – was able to expose this guy, this fast, this badly. Is an embarrassment to the panhandle and the state. He is a complete fraud who acted dishonestly instead of just answering the questions acted. What does that bode for his public service? Not much. Where did this guy come from? Why is he on the PSC. That needs to be the next inquiry. I don’t care what reporter has to look into it.

  7. FEMA Frets Says:

    While all of this information on the “bladder bust” and bondage bar is salacious and interesting, when is someone going to look into the FEMA funding financial scandal that resulted in this guy leaving the County and the Sheriff’s office? Or do we need to bring in a reporter from the Beltway for that one?

  8. Charlie Tuna Says:

    Where did Charlie Crist meet this dude? He does not have a Gay bar. So obviously he must have met charlie when they were splitting up the FEMA and other Federal Funds between their contractor friends. Real Estate investor who ust to be the bean counter for the Sheriff. Give me a break. Crist says he is a life long member of the NAACP and he fires an honest African American from this board without comment. Crist = corruption, thats what it is. Go figure.

  9. huh? Says:

    Dear Early Cuyler,
    Sounds like Dara is doing her job, and doing it well, and as always, people have to make remarks about her appearance because she happens to be a woman. Get a life.

  10. And your point is Says:

    Sue – what, were you staking out his front lawn and eaves dropping on the happenings of his life? Probably not. She is a reporter and their job is to get the story, so going to his residence to ask questions and interviewing his co-workers is not out of the question. I’m glad that a reporter, regardless of where the paper is located, is doing the research on the matter. Who cares where she’s from.

  11. Hate To See Matt Martyred Says:

    Charlie Tuna has it right. We had an ethical, credible and diverse member of the PSC in Matt Carter. Crist has traded him in on somebody he must have met on bondage night. What a joke. That’s what happens when your bar buddy chairs the PSC Nominating Council.

  12. Skop Dawg Says:

    This is excellent! Now I have somewhere to go to awkwardly try to pick up women who are way too young for me! Can’t wait to have you on board, Steve!

  13. Cynical Idealist Says:

    The only thing more pathetic than Charlie Crist appointing Steve Stevens to the PSC is Dara Kam trying to make herself to be an intrepid reporter.

    I can’t believe the Post paid her way over to Pensacola to cover this “story.”

  14. Early Cuyler Says:

    R U Kidding: Your name fits… She didn’t expose anything everyone knows he owns a bar. That is the problem she went over there to investigate something already known. Yeah she really deserves some credit.

    Fema Fret: He left when his sheriff didnt win re-election because he is loyal he could have stayed on with the new sheriff.

    Charlie Tuna: Is obviously someone from FPL who is trying to stir up crap to make Crist look bad more power to you just leave the innocent out of it

    Huh?: Shut up Dara I can say it because you hurt my eyes regularly and as for the remarks Mary Ellen dresses like she should be at the Capitol and not trash lets focus on men Caputo dresses like a homeless person Bosquet dresses appropriately for the work he does.

    And your point is: Exactly that there are no other reporters save Mary Ellen Klass who seems to be over this do you honestly think Dara knows something other reporters dont? She’s just going after this for someone from FPL plus she wanted a paid trip to a bar.

  15. Who is Early Cuyler? Says:

    Would love to know. Clearly, you are either: a) a lobbyist who creepily roams the halls, stalking members and getting hammered every afternoon at one of the watering holes of Downtown Tallahassee, all while cheating on your wife with you too young girlfriend, b) a staffer who is being told to write hateful things on this blog by their boss, or c) a member (and I have a guess as to who) who has some sort of a thing/connection for this bar owner/former CPA for the sheriff who somehow managed to get on the PSC…

    Are you REALLY talking about the way that the reporters dress in the Capitol? I guess that your feelings are hurt that this reporter tried to find out some more information. There may actually be a bigger story to all of this than the public is aware of and kudos to Dara for seeing to it that if there is, that it gets uncovered, and REPORTED.

  16. Palm Beach Post questions Crist appointee | ricksblog.biz Says:

    [...] on that and his promotion “Free Beer Til Someone Pees” at “Bladder Bust” Tuesday. Read more. AKPC_IDS += “7919,”;Popularity: unranked [...]

  17. I am scared Says:

    Please bring back Jeb Bush this State cannot stand much more of this

  18. Round-up, 11.12.09 Says:

    [...] Steve Stevens and Cabana Lounge. State media continues to investigate Steve Stevens, the recent appointee of Governor Charlie Crist to the Public Service Commission. Mr. Stevens served as the chief financial officer of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office during the McNesby administration and has an ownership stake in the Cabana Lounge bar. [...]

  19. oh yeah Says:

    Anyone who has worked with Dara Kam knows that she is one of the finest reporters in Tallahassee. Sorry you didn’t like the story, but she was doing her job.

  20. Pensacola peep Says:

    This report is ridiculous. Dara should be ashamed of herself.
    And to comment to “oh yeah” – anyone who knows and has worked with Mr. Stevens knows he is one of the finest members of the PNS community. Wait until you see him do his new job! He’s a hardworking CPA with strong values.
    Dara – don’t you have anything better to write about?

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