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County says deadline on arena violated

 
Published May 23, 1992|Updated Oct. 11, 2005

The Tampa Sports Authority didn't meet the state's legal requirements in October when it extended a deadline for the company that wants to build a hockey arena in Tampa, according to a county attorney memo released Friday.

The public sports authority improperly extended to May 31 a deadline for drafting the financial terms of a lease agreement signed with Tampa Coliseum Inc., according to the memo.

The county attorney said state law required the authority to give public notice, have public hearings and secure the approval of Tampa's mayor and City Council and the Hillsborough County Commission _ steps the authority didn't take.

The county attorney's opinion comes as the sports authority is considering extending the deadline again, this time to allow more time to amend the earlier lease. The coliseum company reportedly is seeking several concessions, including a greater share of the parking revenue, from the authority.

The sports authority controls the property next to Tampa Stadium, where the coliseum group hopes to build an 18,500-seat arena. The arena would be a permanent home for the Tampa Bay Lightning, which plans to play its first two seasons at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

A May 18 memo by a private attorney representing the authority contradicts the county opinion. The mayor, city council and county commission both approved the original lease agreement, which included a clause allowing for deadline extensions, Donald Gifford, the private attorney, wrote.