Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

South Tampa businessman files lawsuit against Times Publishing

TAMPA — A South Tampa businessman has sued Times Publishing Co. for libel over a recent story about the abrupt closure of a Monstah Lobstah restaurant on Platt Street.

In a suit filed this week in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Thomas Ortiz says the Tampa Bay Times story contained inaccuracies that held him up to ridicule and damaged his reputation as a businessman.

Ortiz has founded several South Tampa restaurants and was the landlord for the Platt Street Monstah Lobstah.

The story included information attributed to Allen Berube, who has operated several Monstah Lobstah restaurants in Hillsborough as well as three food stands at Tropicana Field. They were known for lobster rolls, crab cakes and other light fare but none is currently in business.

According to the suit, false statements included:

• That Berube had an ownership interest in the Platt Street restaurant.

• That Ortiz, as landlord, allowed the restaurant business to be affected by a foreclosure.

• That the business closed after it was gutted of much of its equipment, including the cash register.

Earlier this month, Ortiz also sued Cox Radio and Matt "Spice" Lloyd over similar statements by Berube.

Times Publishing is the parent company of the Tampa Bay Times. St. Petersburg attorney Alison Steele, who represents the company, said Wednesday the suit has no merit and Times Publishing will be moving to dismiss it.

"The story was true and did not defame Mr. Ortiz in any way,'' Steele said.

South Tampa businessman files lawsuit against Times Publishing 06/27/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 8:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack


    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  2. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath


    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  3. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.
  4. Study: Pollution kills 9 million a year, costs $4.6 trillion


    NEW DELHI — Environmental pollution — from filthy air to contaminated water — is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

    New Delhi’s landmark India Gate, a war memorial, is engulfed in morning smog on Friday.
  5. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.