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.