1. Archive

Baseball backer settles lawsuits

Frank Morsani, who announced recently he has curtailed his major league baseball efforts to concentrate on business interests, has settled two lawsuits filed by Tampa-based banks. Enterprise National Bank and Southern Exchange Bank of Tampa have dropped suits that sought repayment of more than $1.1-million in loans made to Morsani and his car dealership business, Precision Enterprises Inc.

Southern Exchange dropped its suit for repayment of more than $500,000 Monday, lawyer Larry Solomon said.

Solomon, who represents the bank, said Thursday that the loan was modified with new terms.

He did not give other details, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Enterprise National Bank, which was seeking payment of a $600,000 loan, dismissed its suit Oct. 19, said Glenn Burton, the bank's attorney. He also declined additional comment because of a confidentiality agreement.

Morsani could not be reached for comment Thursday. Jack Romano, a spokesman for the car dealer, said only that the legal actions were resolved.

Morsani's financial troubles came to light early this month when he hired a prominent Tampa bankruptcy lawyer to defend him in the suit brought by Southern Exchange. Morsani's wife, Carol, said at the time that he was having "a temporary cash flow problem."

Less than two weeks later, Morsani announced he would take a back seat to his partners in the effort to bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area.

Morsani, who has played a leading role in that effort since 1982, said he needed to concentrate on his other businesses, which include banking and car dealerships.

Morsani also said that by allowing someone else to take the lead, he wanted to "correct any misconceptions with baseball" about the financial staying power of the backers.