Tampa officials confirm former City Attorney Gina Grimes is not working with the city in any capacity

Last month, the city thought that Grimes might take on a new position, but said today that she has moved on.

click to enlarge Gina Grimes goes condo shopping in season one of the Netflix series 'Selling Tampa.' - Photo via Netflix
Photo via Netflix
Gina Grimes goes condo shopping in season one of the Netflix series 'Selling Tampa.'
After saying that former City Attorney Gina Grimes might return to the city despite resigning earlier this year, the City of Tampa has now confirmed that she is no longer working for the city in any way.

Communications Director Adam Smith told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay today that Grimes' last official day working with the city was on Sept. 16, and that she is not working in any official role or under any type of contract for the city.

Grimes resigned on Aug. 5 and was helping with the transfer of her role to new City Attorney Andrea Zelman until last month.  The city had considered creating a new management role for Grimes to continue working with the city after her resignation as attorney.

"As part of her transition out of legal office, she has been looking into the prospect of the city creating an internal project manager type position to ensure accountability, efficiency, equity, etc. on the multiple major city projects in the works that overlap multiple city departments," Smith wrote via email to CL on Sept. 7. "I know the mayor would love to have Gina in that role, but nothing has been decided."
When asked why the position didn't work out, Smith said that he assumed it was because Grimes wasn’t interested, or the timing didn’t work.

"She was an outstanding city attorney who would be huge asset to the city," Smith wrote.

When Grimes resigned in August, she said it was mainly because of bureaucratic rules, which require department heads to live within City of Tampa limits. Grimes, appointed to city attorney by Castor in 2019, is currently a resident of Pinellas County and has not lived in Tampa during her time as city attorney.

“Due to personal family circumstances, it is no longer feasible for me to relocate into the City of Tampa,” Grimes wrote in the memo announcing her resignation.

Earlier this year, CL reported that Grimes used her personal cellphone to communicate with an attorney who sued former councilman John Dingfelder out of office, in part, for using a personal email. Grimes declined to represent Dingfelder in the lawsuit.
Despite telling City Council members to not use their personal phones for city business, Grimes used hers to stay in regular contact with the attorney who sued Dingfelder, Ethan Loeb, during hours of phone calls between December and March of this year, according to documents obtained by CL.

Grimes also used her personal cell to discuss a property in Tampa city limits with Stephen Michelini, a consultant for developer Jon Lum.

In Grimes' communications with Michelini, information from Oct. 5 texts to Grimes was missing—two days before Grimes said the city would not represent Dingfelder.

When CL asked where the images and PDFs were, the city attorney's office said that's how they appeared on Grime's phone when it was scanned as part of the request made by CL.
All of the attachments in the records request said that they are stored in Apple's iCloud web storage service, but the city could not locate them—which infringes on the Sunshine Law, that requires public records be maintained.

Grimes formerly served as chief assistant city attorney and city council attorney for the city from 1985-2004. Before returning to the city in 2019, she worked as a land-use attorney with Hill Ward Henderson.

About The Author

Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia previously wrote for the USA Today Network, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, Scalawag Magazine, and various other news outlets. When he's not writing, Justin likes to make music, read, play basketball and spend time with loved ones. 

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