Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa mayor on scandal: 'What a circus'

TAMPA — For days, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn declined requests to weigh in on the scandal unfolding in one of his city's most fashionable neighborhoods, but that changed as City Hall released more than two dozen city emails from and to socialite Jill Kelley.

"What a circus this is," Buckhorn told the Tampa Bay Times, which requested Kelley's emails. "Hopefully, this thing will go away soon, and we can all get back to business."

The mayor, whose involvement with MacDill Air Force Base goes back two decades, said he feels for the people directly affected by the events that resulted in last week's sudden resignation of CIA director David Petraeus.

But Buckhorn said the bigger picture is less about the social overlap between base leadership and South Tampa's upper crust and more about the estimated $6.7 billion economic impact that MacDill has on the region's economy.

"It's probably the largest economic engine that we have in the Tampa Bay area, and we can't do anything that would weaken that relationship," he said.

And Buckhorn doubts that the scandal will change the big picture: "I haven't really paid a lot of attention to it, other than being a bystander. … I think this will have no bearing on that relationship at all."

Nor does the mayor expect that the scandal, with its tabloid overtones, will tarnish the city's reputation in the eyes of the nation.

"I think what they see is beautiful Bayshore Boulevard and a beautiful Hillsborough Bay," he said.

After Buckhorn was elected in March 2011, Jill and Scott Kelley offered to host a party to introduce him to officers from the nations that made up Central Command's coalition partners for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Three weeks after taking office, Buckhorn was the guest of honor at a cocktail party on the front lawn of the Kelleys' home on Bayshore Boulevard. In attendance were about two dozen coalition officers, plus CentCom brass and members of Tampa's business and political elite.

It was useful to meet the coalition partners, but Buckhorn said he had maintained his own relationships — even during the eight years he was out of political office — with top generals at MacDill. During the 1990s, he was then-Mayor Sandy Freedman's representative on a local committee that worked to persuade the Pentagon to keep MacDill open and active.

Buckhorn said he had not met the Kelleys before the reception they hosted in his honor, despite their history of hosting benefits and events in support of MacDill.

"My relationships with the CentCom people were my relationships, and they were longstanding," he said.

Tampa mayor on scandal: 'What a circus' 11/16/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 16, 2012 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The next step in a sex abuse survivor's recovery: Erasing her tattoo

    Health

    Times Staff Writer

    TAMPA — Even after 20 years, Sufiyah can't escape the memories of being sexually exploited by gang members as a teenager.

    The tattoo makes it impossible.

    Sufiyah, an aAbuse survivor, prepares to have a tattoo removed  at Tampa Tattoo Vanish  on Thursday. During her teen years, she was sexually exploited by a gang. The tattoo is a mark of her exploiters. 

Tampa Tattoo Vanish is a new tattoo removal business run by Brian Morrison, where survivors of human trafficking get free tattoo removal.  [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  2. Cridlin: Linkin Park's Chester Bennington had a wail that stood apart

    Music & Concerts

    For all the old-timers' talk about how they don't make singers like they used to, about how rock vocalists of the 21st century can't hold a candle to the frontmen of yesteryear, here's a fact no hater could deny:

    Chester Bennington could flat-out wail.

    Chester Bennington of Linkin Park  performs at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for the 2014 Carnivores Tour. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. Police investigating shooting in north Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Police were investigating a shooting in north Tampa Thursday that left one person seriously injured.

  4. Macy's chairman replaces ex-HSN head Grossman on National Retail Federation board

    Retail

    Terry Lundgren, chairman of Macy's Inc., will replace Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman as chair of the National Retail Federation, the organization announced Wednesday. Grossman stepped down from her position following her move from leading St. Petersburg-based HSN to Weight Watchers.

    Weight Watchers CEO and former HSN chief Mindy Grossman is being replaced as chair of the National Retail Federation. [HSN Inc.]
  5. Team begins work to exhume Salvador Dali's body for paternity test

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — A forensic team on Thursday entered the Salvador Dali museum in northeastern Spain where the surrealist artist's remains are due to be exhumed to settle a paternity claim brought by a 61- year-old woman.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. Work has begun to exhume his body for a parternity test. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]