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Bolleas' jail tapes anger victim's father

Linda Bollea, right, says in one tape she misses John Graziano more than his own mother.

Bollea family photo

Linda Bollea, right, says in one tape she misses John Graziano more than his own mother.

CLEARWATER — John Graziano's father said he is outraged by statements made by the Bollea family in conversations taped by the Pinellas County Jail.

Ed Graziano, whose son was critically injured in Nick Bollea's Aug. 26 car crash, said the release of the tapes has caused his family much pain and he wants to set the record straight.

Graziano said he was especially disturbed by a conversation between Nick Bollea, 17, the son of famous wrestler Hulk Hogan, and his mother, Linda.

During their talk, Linda Bollea says she knew John better than his own mother did.

"She's not sad. She's just acting angry like she just wants the money," Linda Bollea said of John's mother, Debbie Graziano. "John never meant anything to her or Ed. It's just sad because I really appreciated you kids, and I just miss John. I miss you, too. She's not suffering. I am. I have the loss."

Ed Graziano said he found those comments offensive.

"My wife lives for her children, and nobody knew my son better than my wife did," he said. "My wife is the best mother there is in the world."

The conversation was included in the 149 files of taped phone conversations between Nick Bollea and his family made available by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office last week.

The recordings were released after a public records request from a media organization, said Marianne Pasha, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

But Bollea's attorney, Kevin Hayslett, said the release of the tapes was inappropriate and he is "looking into taking the appropriate actions."

"I've never ever heard of any Sheriff's Office releasing post-conviction conversations between a child and his parents," Hayslett said.

John Graziano, 23, suffered a major brain injury after Bollea lost control of his Toyota Supra and crashed into a palm tree near downtown Clearwater. He remains in a semiconscious state at James A. Haley VA Medical Center.

Bollea is serving an eight-month sentence at the Pinellas County Jail after pleading no contest to a charge of reckless driving with serious bodily injury.

Since the release of the jail recordings last week, portions have been posted on Internet sites and other media outlets.

Ed Graziano said some of the conversations seem to contradict the sad and remorseful image Nick Bollea projected during his sentencing hearing.

In one tape, Nick Bollea told his father that John was "a negative person."

Bollea also asked his father to line up a reality television show about him getting out of jail and back on his feet.

"I want to do it where I'll make the most money," he said.

Hulk Hogan said he'd produce the show and make his son an owner.

"The reason he was put in jail is to think about what he did to my son," Ed Graziano said. "That's the last thought on his mind."

Tamara El-Khoury can be reached
or (727)445-4181.

Bolleas' jail tapes anger victim's father 05/26/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2008 2:55pm]
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