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Tampa Bay full of famous rivalries, family feuds

Tampa Bay is generally a peaceful place. We don't have Tonya Harding's thug bouncing on Nancy Kerrigan. We don't have Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien clawing for late night fame. But we're not Switzerland. Tampa Bay has had its share of family feuds and rivalries that even a kiss from Richard Dawson can't fix. Here are a few memorable ones in recent years. — Susan Thurston

Hulk vs. Linda Hogan

Tampa Bay's favorite tabloid couple duked it out for nearly two years before finalizing their divorce in 2009. The couple, whose real names are Terry and Linda Bollea, kept the gossip mill grinding with accusations of hidden assets and fights over Hulk's financial responsibilities. She accused him of cheating during their marriage and harassment after their separation. He complained about her spending habits and her boyfriend's use of the couple's vehicles. In the end, before signing the confidential agreement in court, the couple greeted each other with smiles and hugs. "The war is over," Linda declared. Said Hulk, "I think it's a great day for everybody. We can finally function as a family." The two appear to have moved on. Linda was recently out pimping her new book, Wrestling the Hulk — My Life Against the Ropes. Last year, the Hulkster entered wedded bliss with girlfriend Jennifer McDaniel.

Len Barrie vs. Oren Koules

When Len Barrie, top, and Oren Koules bought the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008, it was the first time the team was run by hockey fans. But, almost from the start, their partnership was marred by infighting and money issues. Barrie, a former NHL player, and Koules, a Hollywood producer best known for the Saw horror films, body-checked each other on how to run and build the franchise. Finally, hockey commissioner Gary Bettman got involved as referee and gave each 60 days to buy out the other. When that didn't happen, the league stepped in and brokered a deal with Jeff Vinik, who bought the team in 2010 at a deep discount. Estimates at the time put Barrie and Koules' losses at about $60 million.

Bubba the Love Sponge vs. the FCC

Entertaining or indecent? Local shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and the Federal Communications Commission often disagree. The FCC levied a record $755,000 in fines in 2004 for segments of Clem's show that included graphic discussions about sex and drugs. Less than a month later, Clear Channel Communications and WXTB-FM 97.9 (98 Rock) fired him. It wasn't his first tussle with federal radio regulators. In 1998, the FCC fined him $23,000 for airing indecent material that included describing a member of his entourage receiving an enema. After castrating and slaughtering a feral pig during a show, he was charged with animal cruelty but later acquitted. Clem now hosts a nationally syndicated radio show and a morning program on Cox Radio-owned WHPT-FM 102.5 (The Bone), so far skirting the FCC's nasty patrol.

Michael Schiavo vs. the Schindler family

Long before her death in 2005, Terri Schiavo became a household name and lightning rod for debate on end-of-life decisions. Her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, fought for more than a decade to keep her alive with the help of a feeding tube. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, said she would not have wanted to live artificially, even though she didn't have a living will. Schiavo suffered cardiac arrest in 1990 that left her in a persistent vegetative state. Several years later, her husband petitioned the court to have her feeding tube removed. The case bounced from state court to appellate court and, ultimately, her feeding tube was removed on March 18, 2005. She died 13 days later. After her death, her parents created the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, now the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, which supports families facing similar end-of-life decisions. Robert Schindler died in 2009.

Joe Redner vs. Tampa City Council

Joe Redner's battles with the city run long and deep. Most notable might be his fight against a lap-dancing ban. Redner, who owns the world-famous Mons Venus strip club, argued that lap dancing is harmless entertainment that helps the local economy and keeps thousands of people employed. City officials countered that it leads to crime, sexual deviancy and other problems. An estimated 800 people jammed the Tampa Convention Center in December 1999 to debate the ban, which was approved unanimously after a 13-hour hearing. Police initially enforced the rule by raiding a few strip joints and arresting dancers and customers. Today, the passionate debate has mostly died down. Dancers are still required to stay 6 feet away from customers, but elected officials generally agree the city has bigger things to worry about. For mellower Redner, it's pretty much business as usual.

Tampa Bay full of famous rivalries, family feuds 09/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 1:15pm]
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