Monday, November 20, 2017
Top News App

Crist angry he had no say in proposed Tampa ballpark site before it went public

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan surprised the local sports world by announcing that local leaders picked a Ybor City site to offer the Tampa Bay Rays for a ballpark.

But that’s not all who were surprised.

Commissioner Victor Crist was livid Wednesday that he learned about the plan through the media. Crist said it was a violation of protocol for Hagan to unveil a location as a county plan and present it to the Rays without first getting the approval of the entire commission.

Crist’s fear is that this has been branded publicly as Hillsborough County’s plan, when the county commission hasn’t even seen it, let alone vote on it.

"This has had no vetting of the county commission. This has had no vetting of public input," Crist said. "This whole thing has been done in a vacuum behind the scenes, out of the sunshine and that is not how the Board of County Commissioners operates."

Crist pointed out that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told reporters that he, too, was caught off guard by Hagan’s announcement. County Administrator Mike Merrill told the Tampa Bay Times that he wasn’t given a warning by Hagan either, but said, "That's his prerogative."

Hagan informed reporters Tuesday that the county had solidified site control of 14 acres in the area between the Channel District and Ybor City through a nonprofit that will be run by Tampa lawyer Ron Christaldi and businessman Charles Sykes.

Crist said he met with Christaldi the day before, along with Rays President Brian Auld. The Ybor site never came up. Instead, during the conversation, which included about 12 other people, Crist talked about the merits of the Tampa Greyhound Track for a ballpark.

Why didn’t Christaldi or Auld clue him in? Crist wondered.

"You can find this whole thing breaks down quickly just because it was handled inappropriately," said Crist, who opined that his colleagues were just as upset.

But if they are, they declined to lash out, as Crist did.

Commissioners Al Higginbotham, Les Miller and Sandy Murman said they weren’t expecting an announcement Tuesday but nevetheless had no problem with Hagan making public the preferred site.

In a vote last year, the board formally designated Hagan the commission’s point person to lead the site search with other community and business leaders, and to negotiate with the Rays and landowners.

"We gave him that authority and to my knowledge he did exactly what we asked him to do," Miller said.

Murman said, though, it is important to note that no deal has been struck — "We’d have to approve that," she said — and she expects a conversation on the board soon.

"It’s a process," Murman said, "and we’re in the conceptual stage."

Comments
‘He’s going to come back and finish me off,’ Adam Matos victim told her boss

‘He’s going to come back and finish me off,’ Adam Matos victim told her boss

NEW PORT RICHEY — At a hearing to decide whether he should live or die, Adam Matos smiled at family members Monday.He saw them sitting in a Pasco County courtroom as his sentencing for four murders began. A bit later, a witness reminded jurors of the...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Trump intends to declare NKorea a state sponsor of terror

Trump intends to declare NKorea a state sponsor of terror

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Monday that the U.S. will designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terror amid heightened nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula. Trump said the designation will impose further penalties on the count...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies: Port Richey woman arrested for hitting boy, 4, with hanger

PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey woman was arrested on a charge of felony child abuse after a 4-year-old boy in her care told deputies she hit him with a clothes hanger, leaving bruises, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Teresa White-Fry, 38, was arr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

LARGO — The classroom was full, but the chatter was quiet as the students picked at doughnuts and sipped coffee from paper cups.Many were strangers to each other, but the reason they showed up at the Largo Police Department on a sunny Saturday mornin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top 5 at noon: Adam Matos sentencing begins; Seminole Heights thanks first responders; and more

Top 5 at noon: Adam Matos sentencing begins; Seminole Heights thanks first responders; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:SENTENCING PHASE CONTINUES IN TRIAL OF ADAM MATOS, FOUND GUILTY IN MURDER OF FOURThe sentencing phase begins Monday in the trial of Adam Matos, convicted Friday of first degree murder in the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

St. Petersburg pedestrian fatally struck in Osceola County

A pedestrian from St. Petersburg was killed Sunday night when he was struck by an SUV in Osceola County.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 24-year-old Matthew Mitchell was struck along on U.S. 192 at Pine Grove Road in St. Cloud around 7 p.m.Tr...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Vermont man, 51, struck and killed walking across SR 54 in New Port Richey

Times Staff WriterA 51-year-old Vermont man died Sunday night after he was struck by a car on State Road 54 east of Pecan Drive in New Port Richey, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Howard Leach Jr., of Enosburg Falls, was trying to cross all s...
Updated: 1 hour ago

FHP seeks New Port Richey hit-and-run driver who left man severely injured

NEW PORT RICHEY — Police are searching for the driver of a vehicle that left a New Port Richey man seriously injured after a hit and run Sunday evening, according to Florida Highway Patrol.Randy Pearson, 58, tried to walk across State Road 54, west o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

TAMPA — For weeks, Tampa police have saturated Southeast Seminole Heights, working long hours to catch a killer. Today, residents will say thanks with a sit-down supper.Several dozen volunteers with four neighborhood associations will serve up baked ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
VIDEO: Crocodile spotted lurking on Hollywood, Florida beach

VIDEO: Crocodile spotted lurking on Hollywood, Florida beach

A video captured by WPBF Monday showed a large crocodile lurking in the shallow waters just off of a beach in Hollywood, Florida.A crowd of onlookers can be seen observing the large reptile, which seemed content to relax in the surf.According to prev...
Updated: 1 hour ago