Over the past 4 months, the Office of the City Attorney has added four private-sector attorneys to the City Legal Department. These attorneys bring vast experience in the area of land use and local government and will be a tremendous asset to the City of Tampa. All four attorneys left behind successful private-sector careers in exchange for the opportunity to be a part of the effort of Mayor Castor and City Council to Transform Tampa’s Tomorrow – finding creative and innovative ways to better serve the public and deliver City services.
“City Attorney Gina Grimes has built a world class office full of some of the City of Tampa’s biggest legal names,” said Mayor Jane Castor. “Each of these individuals bring to the table decades worth of professional experience that will prove invaluable as our city continues to grow and thrive. Their private and public sector careers are unrivaled in any other City Attorney’s office and we’re incredibly fortunate to have them.”
Morris Massey, Deputy City Attorney
Morris C. Massey is rejoining the Office of the City Attorney after 14 years of working at Hill Ward Henderson in the practice areas including land use, zoning, commercial real estate development, and real estate transactions. Prior to that Morris served the City Attorney's office for 8 years and before joining the City Attorney’s Office, Morris was a shareholder at Carlton, Fields, P.A. where he practiced for 11 years. Morris is a member of the American, Florida, and Hillsborough County Bar Associations. Morris is a graduate of Wake Forest University (BA, 1983 with High Honors) and the University of Florida College of Law (JD, 1986 with Honors) where he was a published member of the University of Florida Law Review.
Cate Wells returns to the Office of the City Attorney with three decades of experience in administrative, regulatory and land use matters before local, regional and state government entities in Florida. Cate started her career in the public sector representing the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation In 2001, Cate joined the City of Tampa where she served as legal advisor to various departments and administrative boards. Cate was a partner with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP between 2006 and 2018 and thereafter joined Trenam Law. Cate is a member of the Florida and Hillsborough County Bar Associations and is AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Cate is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, 1985) and the Florida State University College of Law (JD, 1988).
Susan Johnson-Velez, Senior Assistant City Attorney
Susan Johnson-Velez has been a practitioner of land use/zoning and local government law in Tampa for over 25 years. Prior to joining the Office of the City Attorney, she represented business, commercial and individual clients in the full range of local government and quasi-judicial land use matters as a solo practitioner. Prior to starting her own solo firm in 2009, Susan was a shareholder with the Fowler White Boggs law firm, and an Assistant County Attorney for Hillsborough County, Florida. She has been Board Certified by the Florida Bar in City, County and Local Government Law since 1999. Susan received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin and her Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Susan was a board member and past president of both the Hillsborough County Bar Association and the George Edgecomb Bar Association.