Culverhouse Jr., son of former Bucs owner, fights on multiple court fronts to preserve investments
Hugh Culverhouse owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but the team suffered, says son Hugh Culverhouse Jr., because his father was "tightfisted." Now Culverhouse Jr. is in court on multiple fronts to defend his own investments. (Photos: Tampa Bay Times files)
Wake up and good morning. Miami attorney/developer Hugh Culverhouse Jr., whose namesake father once owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is spending more time in the courts lately trying to get back money he's lost in investments and, separately, claiming he's being discriminated against as a developer.
Earlier this week, the multi-millionaire Culverhouse sued the firm run by billionaire John Paulson claiming his hedge funds showed "reckless indifference" by not doing proper due diligence before investing in the Chinese forestry company Sino-Forest Corp., costing investors more than $460 million. Culverhouse held a limited partner interest in Paulson Advantage Plus when Paulson's firm sold off its Sino-Forest holdings last year. Paulson & Co. says the Culverhouse lawsuit lacks merit.
According to Culverhouse's lawsuit -- read the original document here -- several outside research firms raised red flags last year about Sino-Forest. One firm called Muddy Waters published report saying Sino-Forest had exaggerated its timber holdings, prompting a 70 percent drop in the timber company's share price. Another firm called Augment Partners claimed Sino-Forest's future growth projections depended upon a "Ponzi-like" scheme, according to the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Culverhouse (right, in a dated photo) has opened a separate legal front in Sarasota. He sued Sarasota County claiming he has been systematically discriminated against because he is not a "favored" developer. The issue is over 2,300 Palmer Ranch acres Culverhouse owns east of Interstate 75, which are caught in limbo in the county's 2050 development plan. A similar case was brought by Culverhouse in the 1990s which resulted in an $11 million settlement in his favor. Read the details in this month's Sarasota Herald-Tribune story.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times