It appears one of the Tampa Bay Times' mystery investors is a mystery no longer, and it also may call — for some — into question why the storied daily paper of record has been — as some suggest — less than hard-hitting about the proposed new Rays stadium in Tampa Bay.
On Monday night, WTSP published a news story naming Darryl Shaw as one of the eight anonymous (well, until now) investors who each offered the Times a $1.5 million bailout last year. At first, Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash only identified four of the investors:
- Frank Morsani, a business executive and philanthropist.
- Ted Couch, a Tampa developer and philanthropist.
- Robert Rothman, chairman of a Tampa investment company and part owner of the Washington Redskins.
- Tash himself, along with his wife Carol.
Two more investors — Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and entrepreneur Dr. Kiran Patel — were later confirmed as the fifth and sixth, and now Shaw has been revealed as the seventh (who’s the last one, Noah??).
“The loan does not give the investors a stake in the Times' ownership, or a say in the Times' news coverage or editorial commentary,” Tash wrote in June 2017. Shaw, who also founded Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, told WTSP that he invested in the Times because it was a low-risk loan, collateralized by the paper’s printing facility, and he is a longtime subscriber of the Times.
According to Pransky, Shaw is the primary landowner for the piece of property the Rays may use for their new Ybor City ballfield. This really makes the whole hornet's nest about how Shaw and Hillsborough commissioner Ken Hagan may have worked secretly to help Shaw profit much more interesting (Hagan is the county’s lead stadium negotiator, according to Pransky).
On Monday, Shaw told CL that he “respects Pransky’s hypotheses” but feels like the reporter came to an “erroneous conclusion.”
Shaw reiterated his comments about supporting a free and independent press when he spoke with CL, and also said that he and Tash never spoke about real estate deals, including his property acquisitions in the Ybor City area.
This is a developing story.