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Arrogant Vinik Lackey Tyler Hudson Spills It: Hillsborough's Transit Tax Was 'Fraudulent'

March 15, 2019 - 9:00am
Tyler Hudson
Tyler Hudson
In a text to a Hillsborough County voter two weeks before the November transit tax referendum,  Jeff Vinik point man Tyler Hudson virtually admitted the now exposed scam is fraudulent.
 
Once more Hudson, in responding to Charlotte Greenbarg’s accusation that promoters of the Vinik Tax were disingenuous, did so openly, arrogantly, sophomorically, and without a shred of remorse.
 
He replied to Greenbarg with a meme of a toothy canine and the words, “Hehe.” (See below).  The connotation is clear: “So what?  What are you gonna do about it?”
Greenbarg is a prominent conservative activist and a member of No Tax for Tracks, a group dedicated to defeating efforts to foist a multi-billion light rail system anywhere in Tampa Bay.  Replying to a promotional text from Hudson, she challenged the veracity of tax proponents and the tax “scheme” itself.
 
Vinik, a former hedge fund manager and owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, poured millions promoting the 1 percent transit tax.  His $3 billion Water Street Tampa  development is drowning and the multi-billion tax windfall is seen as a Vinik bailout.
 
Local wags refer to the woefully behind-schedule downtown project as “Underwater Street Tampa.”
 
The transit tax is tied up in litigation.  There are two cases: one brought by County Commissioner Stacy White; the other by a private citizen.
 
John Cimino of Temple Terrace filed the second complaint as a class-action lawsuit. Cimino is representing any other Hillsborough County resident who has paid the surtax as part of a purchase made in 2019. That would be just about anyone over the age of 8.  In other words, a large majority of the approximately 1.4 million people living in Hillsborough County.
 
Unlike White’s lawsuit, Cimino is asking a judge to issue an injunction stopping the collection of the tax and to refund taxpayers.  Another prominent  issue: the referendum calls for an “Independent Oversight Committee” to parcel out the billions.  So far, all the appointees are friendly to Vinik.
 
The lawsuits have ramifications much bigger and broader beyond Hillsborough County.  Can anyone appropriate sales tax proceeds in Florida? 
 
Opponents of the ballot measure observed from the get-go that it was rife with violations of Florida statutes and ballot language problems.  None of this was reported by the debt-laden Tampa Bay Times, dependent on Vinik and his allies for financing to keep it afloat.
 
The Tampa Bay Business Journal and local electronic news entities were equally culpable in keeping Hillsborough voters in the dark.  Vinik spends millions in advertising not only for the Lightning, but for any event held in Amalie Arena.
 
Hudson, who held the title of AFT chairman, knew about these potential legal snags at least as early as July 5, four months before the referendum, according to Tom Rask of the Tampa Bay Guardian. That is the day the Guardian asked Hudson about these issues in an e-mail. The Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office was copied so that the questions to AFT would be on the public record.
 
In that same e-mail, AFT was asked it it had obtained “a legal opinion on its petition before it started gathering signatures.” Despite repeated e-mails and calls to Hudson and his assistant, there was no response, Rask reported.
 
Hudson and AFT thus forged ahead, spending $700,000 of Jeff Vinik’s money and a total of $4 million on their tax hike effort, even though this substantive legal question was raised well before the measure was placed on the ballot.
 
Now the farcical tax measure faces two court challenges.  If the courts find the tax violates the Florida Constitution, there is no mechanism to determine who paid how much putting the funds already collected in limbo.
 
Greenbarg, incidentally, informed Hillsborough county commissioners of Hudson’s childish but damning text.
 
Jim Bleyer, a former reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and Tampa Tribune, writes the Tampa Bay Beat blog.

Comments

Stop whining, people now realize you can't keep building roads. Rail is the best way to, go as people will ride it. What people won't do is ride buses. Spend you time on fighting that. Buses on city streets create more traffic and is another form a welfare in places like Tampa.

I agree with Insane Jimmy. The meme shows on the side of Charlotte Greenbarg, that she sent it, not received it. there really isn’t anything to argue about this point. The message to come from Tyler shows on the wrong side. It didn’t come from him.

I have contacted my Representative and the Governor’s office calling for a state audit of Hillsborough County government for not only this but Go Hillsborough which was investigated by the county sheriff (which smacked of the Dukes of Hazard) and unaccounted impact fees. Now would be the time for people to push this. Beltran had said he was will to do this when he was running, if he doesn’t he will not get a vote out of my household again.850-488-7146 the Governor’s number

The text of course, is absolutely accurate. If Jeff Vinik disagrees, he can sue me for defamation—-which he won’t. Discovery will inmask him for the fraud that he is.

You're lying again. Do you understand how phones work?

“Unmask.” Difficult to type while on an elliptical machine.

ANYTHING "on rails" (that hauls PASSENGERS), is a "bottomless MONEY PIT", (which America's history has ALWAYS testified too)... BEWARE TAXPAYERS,.. BEWARE ! ! !

It's how technology works ask a local millennial that like voted yes to explain it to you instead of lamely trying to fake texts.

Millennials are interested in “jobs” which Tampa lacks. Light rail is a boondoggle that only helps real estate interests.

What does light rail havw to do with fake texts

Opinionating that there was "fraud" is one thing. PROVING IT is another. (Note 1: No question to most people that the Trump campaign very likely colluded with Russia regarding getting Russia's help to win the 2016 election. Unequivocally PROVING IT with documentation and direct testimony is something else. Note 2: Trump will very likely end up being charged with obstruction of justice in the matter. BUT ... this is all supposition and conjecture until the FBI reports the results of its investigation. There's no proof of fraud in this Tampa issue until an indictment, a trial, and a guilty verdict certify it.)

If you voted for this tax - YOU WERE DUPED! Voters must read the fine print, not just the "heading" for Voting purposes!

There was no fine print on the ballot that told the truth. That’s the fraudulent part.

Charlotte the ballot language said exactly what it was going to do the language in the ballot was specifically in the summary.

Was there any "fine print" on the presidential ballot "telling the truth" about Trump's total lack of personal character and moral values ... or about all of his monumental failures in business ... including thousands of lawsuits? If not, then his election must be fraudulent, too! Ain't that right, Charlotte?

You know that's not how texts work. They show up on the same side as the sender. You wrote an entire article because your septuagenarian brain can't figure out a smartphone. Nice hoax.

Nice try “Insane Jimmy” troll but it falls as flat as you

It's not how tech works as a local millennial to explain it to you, but the right side is texts you sent and the left side are the ones sent to you.

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