Tampa Bay Business Journal: February 7, 2014

TAMPA - In this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal segment, editor Alexis Muellner discusses the major flaw in the SunBiz.org website, what plans Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik could have for property he owns, and the newspaper's new feature on start-up businesses.

The Business Journal recently discovered a major flaw in the Secretary of State's website, SunBix.org. People can go easily on the website and illegally change business information.

Roy Marshall registered his company MIT Restoration LLC with with Florida's division of corporations at the Secretary of State's office so he could conduct business in the state.

He later learned he lost his company's name because his brother, Brian Marshall, put MIT Restoration in his name.

"Basically, my company was stolen. It could happen to any company registered," said Roy Marshall. "There's a big hole in the system, and now someone else has my company or at least its name. It's just not fair."

The flaw in the system exists partially because Florida wants to be a business-friendly state. However, as the situation with Roy Marshall shows, businesses will lose faith in the state government if they can not trust their information and data will remain safe.

Jeff Vinik could soon announce a major addition is coming to downtown Tampa. City documents report Vinik's group is proposing to build a hotel/condominium building on land it owns near the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Exactly what the long-range plan for the entire 21 acres of property the Vinik group own is unknown, but it certainly appears they are moving forward with developing part of it in the near term.

The Business Journal has a new feature focusing on start-up companies. The paper is not giving them free advertising. Instead the entrepreneurs are being asked what they do, how much money they are trying to raise and the people they are working with.

The feature may help provide insight on the start-up process that could help other Tampa Bay residents look to starting their own companies.

For more information on these stories, click on the video player on the left, go to youtu.be/ZowZoqSBm8g or pick up this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal available on newsstands.

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