Monday, December 11, 2017
Business

Tampa Port Authority vows to continue fight for Channelside

TAMPA — Buoyed by its win in court last week, the Tampa Port Authority vowed Tuesday to continue fighting for Channelside Bay Plaza.

"We cannot let it slip through our fingers," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, who sits on the port's governing board.

The board members wanted to make sure that CEO Paul Anderson and chief legal officer Charles Klug have the legal and financial firepower they need to prevail in the court case that will decide Channelside's fate.

"I want to make sure the two of you have the authority to take the right action," Murman said, "and if you don't have the authority, we need to give it to you today."

Both said they have what they need to continue litigation.

Channelside is up for grabs but under the jurisdiction of a bankruptcy judge who will ultimately decide who can buy the downtown mall and for how much. Two former suitors, the Tampa Port Authority and Liberty Channelside LLC, are battling each other for the right to buy it.

Liberty had also sued the port for damages from when the port squashed its deal for Channelside last year. But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi dismissed all four of those claims last week. He did, however, give Liberty a month to refile one of them.

"That was a victory for us," Klug said. "But the matter continues."

The port failed to convince the court that it had no jurisdiction over the Channelside lease. Instead, the judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the Irish Bank Resolution Corp. decided the bank has de facto control of it.

But Stephen Swindal, the chairman of the port authority, said the port knew challenging jurisdiction was a legal long shot.

"We're strongly protecting our interest in this matter," Swindal said. "We are committed to seeing this process through with the goal of bringing about the full potential of the Channelside retail complex."

The port, which owns the land beneath Channelside but wants control of the building, believes it is the best choice to unify ownership and pick a new developer to refurbish the complex.

The board also wanted to make sure that Swindal, who once personally brokered a deal for the port to buy Channelside —a deal the same federal judge dismissed in February — can still act on behalf of the port to resolve litigation. But settlement talks seem far off, officials said.

If the port can buy Channelside, it will likely be for more than its last offer of $5.75 million.

"It ain't going down," Swindal said of the price.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at (813) 226-3404, [email protected] or @jthalji on Twitter.

Comments
Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan steps off Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan steps off Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Chris Sullivan, co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, resigned from the board of the restaurant chain’s parent company last Wednesday, according to a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document, filed by Tampa-based Bloomin’ B...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA — With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Updated: 8 hours ago
JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

CLEARWATER BEACH — While Tampa is excited about its first JW Marriott hotel, plans are moving ahead for a $130 million JW Marriott property on Clearwater Beach, despite some hiccups. "We’ve done really well in our opinion," Uday Lele, developer of t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC said Monday that U.S. authorities were preparing to dismiss criminal charges against the bank, five years after it reached an agreement to avoid prosecution related to lapses in its money-laundering controls.In 2012, the bank, one of the world’s...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

TAMPA — With nearly 200,000 people around Tampa Bay still driving around with defective airbags that could kill them, a major automaker is trying to dramatically cut that number down this week.Fiat Chrystler Automobiles U.S. has launched Airbag Recal...
Updated: 10 hours ago
This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

When most people think back on the child celebrities of their time, they likely think of child movie actors, the well-trained stars of showbiz. For some, these were stars like Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, or Macaulay Carson Culkin from "Home Alone." F...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Times Staff WriterWell, this is awkward. A company that is suing the Florida Bar has hired a former Bar president to represent it. Ramon Abadin has joined the legal team of TIKD, a company that expedites the process of fighting traffic tickets in Pin...
Published: 12/11/17
A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

By the time Teralyn Fleming could finally plead her case to get federal disability insurance, she had been waiting two years and three months. The wait was not a peaceful one — a blood clotting disorder pushed her out of the workforce in 2015 so she ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The protest was organize...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Duke outage leaves 7,700 without power near Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Up to 7,700 customers across Pinellas Park, Lealman and Kenneth City lost power in a Thursday night outage, according to Duke Energy.The outage impacted a cloverleaf-shaped area of customers, with pedals extending in the cardinal dire...
Published: 12/08/17