Cubs and Walter chairman still linked
With first-round bids due Friday for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, the name of Tampa's Walter Industries chairman Michael Tokarz continues to be listed as an interested bidder. The Cubs owner, the struggling Tribune Co., hopes to sell the team with other assets in an auction that analysts say could top $1-billion. Ten potential owner groups were approved to bid on the Cubs by Major League Baseball, which must approve any sale. Though Tampa Bay knows Tokarz via his title at Walter, he is in fact the head of MVC Capital, a New York City area company that makes private-equity and debt investments in small and mid-sized companies in a variety of industries. Troubled with disgruntled shareholders about five years ago, MVC has enjoyed a turnaround under Tokarz, who has more than 30 years of investment experience. News reports say four to five Cubs bidders should make it to the next round. A winner could be identified near the end of the baseball season.
Activist McDevitt has a new role
She may be an Akerman Senterfitt lawyer these days, but the Tampa Bay business community best knows Sheila McDevitt as a local political activist and the 26-year veteran and former general counsel of TECO Energy. Now she's been elected chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida. The board, which McDevitt was appointed to by Gov. Jeb Bush, is the constitutional body created by voters in 2002 to guide the university system. McDevitt assumes the lead responsibilities on Aug. 1 and will serve for two years. At the top of her agenda: trying to assert authority over tuition rates and define its constitutional powers.
Florida economists like McCain
Among Florida economists, what do UCF's Sean Snaith, USF's Don Bellante, University of Miami's Michael Connolly and Luis Locay, UF's Charles Britt Moss and Peter J. Van Blokland, and University of Tampa's Chuck Skipton have in common? They are among 300 economists who signed a public endorsement of presidential candidate John McCain's "Jobs for America" economic plan. Among his plan's specifics: control government spending by vetoing every bill with earmarks and implementing a line-item veto.
Franks, Sullivan focus on Flight 93
There are two big connections between the Tampa Bay area and Flight 93, the 9/11 plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pa., after passengers and crew tried to retake it from hijackers. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks, above, who ran U.S. Central Command out of Tampa and Outback Steakhouse chain (based in Tampa) co-founder Chris Sullivan happen to cochair the uphill financial effort to create the Flight 93 National Memorial. Franks told an Ohio crowd last week that more than $9-million of the $30-million in private money needed for the memorial has been raised. Sullivan is aiming for about half of that $30-million to be raised by the end of 2010.