Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge won't halt Channelside RNC events

TAMPA — A bankruptcy judge Tuesday said he would not bar Channelside Cinemas from hosting events, some of which may involve big-name political celebrities, during the Republican National Convention next week.

A complaint had been filed on behalf of the cinema's landlord, Channelside Bay Mall LLC, asking the judge to stop the cinema from hosting events because they violated a lease provision prohibiting the cinemas being used as a "meeting hall."

Channelside Cinemas filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.

In court papers, an attorney for the theater mentioned numerous big names who planned events, including Glenn Beck, Colin Powell, Laura Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin and Bill Cosby.

But a cinema marketing executive, Matt Pezzullo, told Judge Michael Williamson that Beck may have backed out. And after the hearing, Pezzullo said others mentioned in court papers had not yet signed contracts, though they may yet book events at Channelside.

Lawyers said Christine O'Donnell, a Republican from Delaware who lost a bid for U.S. Senate, was hosting an event at the cinemas dubbed the Troublemaker Fest. O'Donnell is best known for once telling comedian Bill Maher that she had "dabbled into witchcraft."

The financially struggling mall in which the theater is a tenant was placed in receivership in 2010 after defaulting on a bank loan. The receiver, Charles G. Taylor, asserts the theater has not kept him apprised of its plans and had not sought permission before booking next week's events.

Brandon Faulkner, an attorney for the receiver, said he did not necessarily oppose the events. He said the receiver just wanted more information to ensure plans, among other things, did not conflict with events by other Channelside tenants.

Faulker suggested a compromise allowing any RNC events to take place on the condition that cinema officials provide copies of the contracts it has signed, and guaranteeing profits be used to pay money owed to the landlord, including past-due rent.

Paul DeCailly, an attorney for the cinemas, said the events are allowed under the lease and his clients are not required to get approvals from the landlord.

Williamson said he would not ban next week's events because the receiver had not proven he had a substantial probability of success at a trial later. The judge also said canceling any programming would not be in the public's best interests.

Williamson nonetheless imposed a few conditions on cinema officials, ordering them to provide more information to the receiver, including its contracts. He also ordered the cinema to release budget projections and to use profits to pay money owed to creditors.

William R. Levesque can be reached at

Judge won't halt Channelside RNC events 08/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Navy expected to relieve admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in response to deadly disasters at sea


    The Navy will relieve the senior admiral in charge of the service's 7th Fleet based in Japan in response to four embarrassing accidents this year, two of which killed sailors at sea, two U.S. officials said.

    Tugboats assist the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain on its way to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday. [U.S. Navy]
  2. Trump chides media over Charlottesville


    President Donald Trump is blaming the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Va., protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester.

    Trump met service members before the rally.
  3. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  4. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement