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Landlords gouge Orlando, the Fulwider story gets even messier, the Mennello Museum triples, and other news of the week 

Orlando being pitched as Florida's top city for buying rental property: As rental rates in Orlando soar, a new report from landlord-software TurboTenant is touting Orlando as the No. 1 place in Florida to buy profitable rental property. The report says Orlando is followed by Jacksonville, Tampa and St. Petersburg as the most lucrative area in which to snag real estate and hike up monthly rental fees. Orlando made the list due to the city's rapidly growing population and increases in home values. Orlando is currently facing an affordable housing crisis worse than cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with a paltry average of 13 affordable rental properties for every 100 low-income renter households in need. A report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition actually lists the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area as the worst among the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country when it comes to affordable housing. On average, rental properties get 34 leads and stay on the market for 19 days.

Orlando pastor jailed on child sex-abuse charges hired attorney who had relationship with alleged victim: Earlier in October, Rev. Bryan Fulwider was arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a child, who reported sexual battery by the pastor between 2005 and 2010. Now, it has been revealed Fulwider's attorney had a past romantic relationship with Fulwider's alleged victim. Court documents reveal the victim's lawyer, Lisabeth Fryer, has asked that the attorney representing Fulwider, Jacob V. Stuart Jr., be removed from the case, due to a past romantic relationship between the alleged victim and Stuart in 2012, when she was over the age of 18. Stuart, who is the nephew of District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart, denied any wrongdoing and filed a petition to strike the motion, calling his relationship with the victim "brief and casual."

Mennello Museum of American Art announces design team for 40,000-square-foot expansion: Friends of the Mennello Museum of American Art announced last week that they have secured a design team for their planned 40,000 square-foot museum expansion. The preliminary plans and an architectural model were unveiled by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and museum director Shannon Fitzgerald in a special presentation at the museum's White Canvas Party. The museum is owned by the City of Orlando. The $20 million expansion includes a 40,000-square-foot museum facility "integrated around the current 12,000-square-foot museum building," as well as an increase in cultural programming. The goal of the project is to create a cultural destination on Lake Formosa "designed to preserve and reimagine our green space, the intimacy of the Dr. Phillips Home, walking and bike paths, and sculpture garden." The expansion will offer the Mennello additional multi-purpose spaces for earned revenue from hosting weddings and other events in the classrooms and conference room. The new space will provide the ability to seat 250 and accommodate more than 400 for standing indoor and outdoor events.

City of Orlando approves new ownership of the Plaza Live venue: The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation announced last week that the transfer of ownership of the Plaza Live concert and event venue has been approved. The Orlando City Council voted to approve the city's acquisition of the venue, which will be leased back to the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation for one dollar per year for a term of 25 years, with the option to extend.

This story appeared in the Oct. 16, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.

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