Three Largo city officials threatened to sue after Leo Coughlin wrote in the weekly Clearwater Gazette that "Largo, pound for pound, is probably the most corrupt city in America."
Now Coughlin has resigned.
Coughlin sent e-mails to leaders of other Pinellas County cities Friday morning, with an attachment of a copy of the resignation letter he sent to Gazette editor Sandy Pollick.
"Sandy — It is unfortunate that you are controlled by the intimidation of a lawyer who obviously does the bidding of a city whose officials do not want certain information in the public print," he wrote. "In bowing to that intimidation, your publication, perforce, loses all credibility as a newspaper and becomes something of a lesser order."
Neither Pollick nor Coughlin could be reached for comment Friday, so it's unclear if the retraction and apology the city officials demanded in a letter through their lawyer, Alan Zimmett, is forthcoming.
Largo City Manager Mac Craig said he couldn't comment on Coughlin's resignation because he had not seen the letter. The other city officials are Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert and finance director Kim Adams.
"Leo's never written anything positive about the city of Largo," Craig said. "The vast majority of the stuff he writes in his column is not true."
Lorri Helfand contributed to this report. Dominick Tao can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.