Bill Edwards not one of Times’ secret lenders, what about Jeff Vinik and …

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

One down, dozens of millionaires left to go.

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Times’ Charlie Frago reported that St. Petersburg developer and philanthropist Bill Edwards is insisting he’s NOT one of the secret lenders to the newspaper company.  

A week ago, CEO Paul Tash explained in a column that the Times has accepted a $12 million loan made in part by anonymous lenders as part of a larger refinancing by the newspaper company. Of the eight local lenders to The Tampa Bay Times, only four were named; Tash and his wife, Karyn, are among the named investors, along with three other philanthropists and business executives.

This has left many wondering who are the other four investors, described by Tash as all having “big investments in the Tampa Bay region.”

Not Edwards.

“I was not approached and I am not an investor,” said Edwards in a statement issued in response to a question posed by a Times reporter.

OK, so scratch Edwards. But what about Jeff Vinik? He certainly has ‘big investments in the Tampa Bay region.’ And e stands to benefit from continued coverage of the market in which he’s investing billions of dollars.

If Frago’s gonna chase down the Edwards rumor, he has to chase down the Vinik rumor. Vinik’s covered so prominently by the Times that readers of the newspaper are all but left to assume that he is one of the secret lenders.

And when Frago is done asking Vinik, he needs to ask Kiran Patel and and Pam and Les Muma and Mel and Betty Sembler and David Straz and Kate Tiedemann and so on.

Times reporters need to keep working to identify the local philanthropists who threw a lifeline to their company. They’ve opened this door.

Question is: Will the bosses at the Times try to close it?

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.