TAMPA — The Tampa Port Authority released a statement Friday reacting to the lawsuit filed against the port this week by Liberty Channelside LLC.
Liberty had a deal to buy the Channelside Bay Plaza building from the Irish Bank Resolution Corp. this summer, but the port's governing board shot it down. Then in September, the port, which owns the land beneath Channelside, signed its own deal to buy the Channelside building from the Irish bank for $5.75 million. Liberty's investors filed a federal lawsuit against the port Wednesday, accusing it of scuttling its deal to buy Channelside so that the port could buy the building itself.
"The Tampa Port Authority learned (Friday) through media reports that the Liberty Channelside LLC has filed suit against the Authority and the Irish Bank Resolution Corp. regarding issues associated with the Channelside retail/entertainment complex," the port's statement said. "At this time, the Tampa Port Authority has not received the official documents from the court and therefore we will not comment on the specifics of the suit."
The port's deal to buy Channelside was upheld while the IBRC sought U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection for its American assets, which includes the Channelside building. However, a federal judge granted that protection Wednesday, which could get the stalled sale agreement moving again. The sale needs the approval of the bankruptcy judge and a Hillsborough circuit judge to be finalized.