They were in town to deal with school crowding, but the Senate Education Committee took a few minutes Monday to approve a proposal from the University of South Florida to buy a psychiatric center from Tampa General Hospital.
The special allocation still must be approved by the House, but Monday's vote moved USF one step closer to taking over the building, which has been a financial burden to TGH.
USF President Betty Castor convinced the senators that the purchase is a good deal for the university. TGH bought the facility for $4.1-million in 1993 and has offered it to USF for $1.6-million. Castor wants the Legislature to approve the purchase during the special session so the deal can close before a deadline at the end of the month.
"This is an emergency," Castor said. "It's one of those opportunities that doesn't come along very often."
Judge dismisses milk conspiracy claims
TAMPA _ A federal judge has dismissed two milk retailers' claims of a price-fixing conspiracy allegedly conducted by a number of dairies: Gustafson's Dairy Inc., Borden Inc., T.G. Lee Foods Inc., Flav-O-Rich Inc. and The Southland Corp.
State and federal investigators began looking into the same dairies in 1987 for rigging bids for school milk programs.
Afterward, the retailers, Morton's Market Inc. and J&J Produce and Deli Inc. claimed that they, too, had been victimized by price fixing. In dismissing the retailers' claims, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday found last week that the dairies and their executives had already been punished by prosecutors and were protected by statutes of limitation.
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NEW LEGISLATOR ON THE BLOCK: Surrounded by family members, newly elected Republican Rep. Deborah Tamargo of Tampa is sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Major Harding, left, on the House floor Monday.