Advertisement
  1. News

Pinellas judge grants stay in Hogan case against Gawker

A judge on Friday stayed the $140?million award to Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan.
Published Jun. 11, 2016

Gawker is filing for bankruptcy protection and will sell itself rather than pay $140 million to Terry Bollea, who wrestled as Hulk Hogan.

The company says it plans to sell itself to publishing company Ziff Davis.

Gawker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection about three months after Bollea won a lawsuit against the online gossip and news publisher. The sale will be conducted through bankruptcy court so other bidders could emerge.

The New York company said in the filing that it has as much as $500 million in debt and up to $100 million in assets.

Bollea sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with the wife of Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, who was his friend at the time. Bollea was awarded $115 million in compensatory damages, plus $25.1 million in punitive damages.

It was later revealed that billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel had been secretly funding Bollea's lawsuit.

Thiel, who cofounded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, has been a frequent target of Gawker writers, who have written unflattering pieces about Thiel's political beliefs and utopian goals.

One 2007 post outed Thiel as gay. Another Gawker site, Valleywag, ran a number of stories skewering Facebook, which provided a big chunk of Thiel's estimated $2.7 billion fortune.

A spokesman for Thiel said he had no comment on Friday.

In the filing, Bollea was listed as Gawker's biggest creditor.

Gawker founder Nick Denton said in a statement that Ziff Davis' e-commerce, licensing and video assets would be a good fit with Gawker's websites, which include tech site Gizmodo, sports site Deadspin, video game site Kotaku, celebrity and women-focused site Jezebel, news and gossip site Gawker, car site Jalopnik and self-help site Lifehacker.

In addition, a Pinellas County judge on Friday granted Gawker's motion to stay the $140.1 million judgment awarded to Bollea pending an appeals court review.

But there are conditions: Gawker stock shares from former editor A.J. Daulerio and Denton will be used as security.

The shares include nearly 6,000 from Daulerio and about 45 million from Denton, whose shares total about 30 percent of Gawker Media's stock.

"He is willing to pledge all of his shares to the court as security for any judgment following appeal," Gawker defense attorney Michael Berry said during Friday's hearing.

Attorneys representing Bollea drafted an order that would outline the conditions of Gawker's pledge. A copy of the order was not available Friday.

Berry said in court that Daulerio and Denton could not afford to pay the judgment, adding that it would mean "certain financial ruin" for them.

Daulerio does not own a home and has less money in his bank accounts than he owes in student loans, Berry said. Denton owns a condo, which he is seeking to rent to move into a less expensive home.

A Gawker spokesman said the proposed order gives Bollea and Thiel control of the media company's bank accounts and daily operations.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
    The shooting happened on the 5100 block of Matanzas Avenue, police said.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
    Charges in the incident are pending, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
  3. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks to reporters in Tampa on Aug. 21. Delays in his filling vacancies on the state's five water management district boards have twice led to those agencies canceling meetings to levy taxes and set budgets, which one expert said was unprecedented. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    Vacancies lead to canceling two agencies’ budget meetings.
  4. Jessica Stoneking, Seven Springs Elementary School art teacher, and a group of kindergarten children enjoy a colorful floor rug during instruction time.  The rug is one of the many flexible seating options art students have in Stoneking's class. Gail Diederich
  5. President Donald Trump listens to music by military musicians during a State Dinner in the Rose Garden at the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) AP
    Allies of Joe Biden, the early front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, seized on the developments to portray him as the candidate Trump least wants to face next fall.
  6. Imam Askia Muhammad Aquil says religious leaders must be empathetic to the needs of families members of those who die by suicide. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Attitudes have evolved with understanding about mental illness
  7. Rabbi Reb Tuviah (Paul Schreiber) is rarely seen without his guitar. He will sing at the upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at Temple Beth David in Spring Hill. Paul Schreiber
  8. Joshua Michael Nichols, 21, was arrested by Pasco County Sheriff's deputies on Saturday in connection to the early morning shooting death of an unidentified man during an argument outside a Spring Hill home. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    One person is in custody. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
  9. Yesterday• Pasco
    Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, received his third “Paul Harris Award.” the highest recognition from the Rotary Club, on Aug. 15. The pin was presented to Dr. Musunuru, a nationally-recognized cardiologist, by Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins in recognition of his humanitarian and philanthropic services to the people of Pasco County and the State of Florida for nearly 40 years. Pictured: Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, (left) and Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins. Jemith Rosa/Hudson Rotary Club
    News and notes about your neighbors
  10. A Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy walks around the Old Skool Sports Bar and Grill, the scene of a shooting early in the morning, north of Lancaster, S.C. on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.  Lancaster County Sherriff's Office said in a statement that the agency was investigating a fatal shooting that also injured several people.  (Jessica Holdman/The Post And Courier via AP) JESSICA HOLDMAN  |  AP
    Two adult males were shot and killed.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement