Make us your home page

New chair takes over from Hoe Brown on Tampa Port Authority

TAMPA — Instead of sitting Tuesday in his usual spot, Stephen Swindal moved one seat to the left. It was not an insignificant move: That's where his friend William A. "Hoe" Brown, former chairman of the Tampa Port Authority, used to sit.

Brown resigned Friday from the board after revelations by the Tampa Bay Times last week that he illegally rented mobile homes with deplorable living conditions behind his Seminole Heights business office. Brown apologized and on July 9 dismantled the improper mobile home park.

But as more information about the scope and duration of the problems emerged, Brown's public and political ambitions succumbed to concerns about his business practices. In his resignation to Gov. Rick Scott, Brown said "this is the right thing to do."

Which is why, Tuesday morning, Swindal took his seat as the new chairman of the Tampa Port Authority. The former vice chairman was automatically elevated to chairman of the board that oversees the Port of Tampa and its annual $15 billion economic impact on the area.

"I didn't anticipate sitting in this chair this morning," Swindal said. "But I am honored to be your chairman."

Swindal, 58, is chairman of Marine Towing of Tampa LLC and was appointed by the governor's office to the board in 2008, along with Brown. Swindal was once expected to succeed George Steinbrenner atop the New York Yankees, but divorced from the family and was bought out in 2007.

His first act as chairman was to thank the past chairman.

"We wish his family the best," Swindal said.

None of the other six board members spoke about Brown. Nor did Tampa Port Authority CEO Paul Anderson, whom Brown helped select and hire in January.

Brown resigned from his unpaid position on the port board and from the boards of Visit Tampa Bay, the county's tourism agency, and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, which promotes amateur athletics. He also gave up his elected post as Republican state committeeman.

The governor will need to appoint a successor to fill the vacancy on the port board. The tourism and sports agencies will choose their own replacements.

The rest of the port meeting proceeded normally — but not before Marilyn Smith had her say.

The 72-year-old often does. The Hillsborough County activist is the port's resident gadfly. She regularly addresses — and at times, scolds — the board.

"I'm glad most of it is over," she said. But she did have words for one member of the board: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

In recent months, the city's code enforcement office asked Brown to address the conditions of his rentals. But interviews with tenants and police records show that living conditions there have been low, and the level of chaos high, for several years.

Why, Smith asked, didn't the city cite Brown years ago?

"I cannot understand why hefty fines have not been levied, Mr. Mayor," Smith said.

The mayor did not respond but had said earlier that "Hoe knows better. He shouldn't have done it."

Swindal told Smith her time was up. She wished him well as chairman.

"Congratulations," she said, "and let's sail on.

"Sail on," Swindal said.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at or (813) 226-3404. Follow @jthalji on Twitter.

New chair takes over from Hoe Brown on Tampa Port Authority 07/16/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers, thousands of concealed weapons holders


    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people and information about thousands of concealed weapons holders were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson …

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  2. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?


    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary


    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  4. Goodbye Tampa Bay Express, hello Tampa Bay Next; but toll lanes aren't going anywhere


    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Express is dead.

    The name, that is. But its replacement — Tampa Bay Next — includes several of the same projects once proposed for TBX, such as the express toll lanes on the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. DOT officials say there are still re-evaluating the most controversial aspect of the old TBX plan: spend $6 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area highways - Interstates 4,75 and 275 - that are currently free of tolls. But TBN will keep the plan to add express toll lanes to the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

    Working Life

    Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as a place to live and build a career.

    Mike Griffin is a senior managing director in Tampa for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides integrated real estate services. He is also chairman for 2017 of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first of the next generation of leadership emerging in this metro market. [Courtesy of Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]