Tampa Bay Times selling headquarters to pay debt


The Tampa Bay Times has put its downtown St. Petersburg headquarters up for sale in an attempt to pay off a $28 million loan that comes due at the end of next year.

Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, in a letter to his staff on Thursday, said selling the property would relieve the Times of the loan it took out in 2013 to pay off previous debts. The loan comes due in December 2016.

The potential sale is just the latest in a series of moves by the newspaper to liquidate assets and cut costs to pay debts.

The Times sold the historic Tramor Cafeteria building on Fourth Street South for $2.7 million in October. That sale included a small parking lot.

Just last year, the Times cut employee pay by 5 percent and offered buy-out packages to employees. It also abandoned its naming-rights deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning at what was known for several years as the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa.

In his letter, Tash said the proceeds from the sale of the eight-story, 250,000-square-foot headquarters, combined with other pending transactions, would pay off the $28 million loan with Boston-based Crystal Financial LLC.



Gold Meritorious Patron

Clearwater Sun
Cult tried to control newspaper -

November 24, 1979

Sun Staff Writer

WASHINGTON - The Church of Scientology plotted to purchase or otherwise "control" the Clearwater Sun by attempting to cut the paper's advertising revenue, discredit reporters and editors and rally readers against it, according to sect documents released Friday. -

High-level Scientology "Guardians," carrying out plans to "take control" of the city of Clearwater in November 1975, planted spies in the Sun's news and advertising departments to gather information that might be incriminating to the paper's finances and employes.

The Scientologists also collected data on Clearwater residents whose letters to the Sun were critical of the sect. The names, addresses and phone numbers of about 50 readers were compiled in April 1976, and documents show' cult leaders believe the writers' backgrounds should be investigated.

Hundreds of pages of secret correspondence on the plot --- termed "China Shop" --- were released by a U.S. District Court Judge who presided at a trial of nine Scientology leaders found guilty last month of conspiring to steal federal documents. The three-inch-thick file on schemes against the Sun also contained reports about activities against former Clearwater mayor Gabriel Cazares and radio broadcaster Bob Snyder.

A document dated Nov. 14, 1975 --- about the time United Churches, the Scientology front group, created its Clearwater base --- states the goal of the "China Shop" scheme:

"Our target on this, very confidentially, is ownership or control of the paper. So, as you know, the finance information on the paper, its debts, its income --- and how it could be cut, are prime information needs." Continues at LINK above