Ken Hagan wants to know if Hillsborough County can sue Tampa Bay TV station WTSP

The commissioner doesn't like being accused of coordinating with developer Darryl Shaw to buy land near a proposed Rays ballpark.

click to enlarge Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan. - Hillsborough County
Hillsborough County
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan.

The good folks at the Tampa Bay Times were pretty blasé about the news that Ybor City developer Darryl Shaw is the seventh investor in a loan that saved their paper in 2017, but reporters started to put the boxing gloves on for this more thorough piece that's emerged in the aftermath of the news.

On Wednesday, our dude Charlie Frago and his colleague Christopher O'Donnell wrote that Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan has asked county attorneys to see if they have grounds for a defamation lawsuit against Bay area TV station WTSP.

Reporter Noah Pransky broke the Shaw investor news on Tuesday, but a companion piece also claimed that Hagan may have coordinated with Shaw — who is also the CEO of the BluePearl veterinary practice and owner of the land that Ybor City's New World Brewery used to be on — in purchasing six properties within the footprint of the Tampa Bay Rays' proposed ballpark in the historic district.

Campaign records show that in 2017, Shaw donated $7,000 to Hagan's re-election campaign for a contest that saw Hagan raise more than $556,000 on the way to barely beating Democrat Angela Birdsong in his District 2 race.

WTSP had no immediate comment when contacted by Times reporters, but Hagan did say that, "The idea that I somehow tipped [Shaw] off is beyond laughable."

Shaw also denied the allegations in a phone call with CL on Tuesday.

The Times says that, for now, county attorney Christine Beck has been instructed to prepare a memorandum that will be sent to other commissioners. Hagan, the paper added, said that the memo will refute the story based on data from public records.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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