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Hagan cashes in on Rays stadium talks

Commissioner Ken Hagan has collected checks from Rays and MLB executives, as well as developers he negotiated with in Ybor City.

TAMPA, Florida - Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan, who assumed the unofficial role of chief Rays stadium negotiator for the county, is trying to strike a deal that would turn hundreds of millions of public and private dollars into a financial win for all parties involved.

But his campaign account is already seeing a windfall, as numerous executives and developers involved in the high-stakes negotiations have cut checks to Hagan in recent months, campaign finance records show.

As Hillsborough County was racking up huge bills in 2017 on outside legal counsel through firm Foley & Lardner - $24,000 per month during the final third of the year – messages obtained by 10Investigates show Kami Corbett, an attorney and lobbyist for the firm, was coordinating a Hagan meeting with the firm’s partner, Bob DuPuy.

Less than a month after those April communications and the planned meeting, records show DuPuy, who was also the former COO for Major League Baseball, then cut a maximum-allowable $1,000 campaign donation to Hagan.

DuPuy also sent Hagan a $1,000 check in 2013, just before Hillsborough County hired his firm.

Hagan also received a series of seven $1,000 campaign donations from companies and family members tied by Darryl Shaw this past summer; Shaw is an Ybor City developer, who, according to text messages obtained by WTSP through public records requests, was discussing land prices during those same summer months with Hagan and the county’s outside counsel.

This past June, Rays owner Stu Sternberg also sent Hagan a $1,000 check. And according to Hagan’s ethics disclosures, the Rays gifted the commissioner a “suite with food provided” at an Atlanta Braves game in August.

Representatives from Foley & Lardner did not return requests for comment Tuesday. When Shaw was contacted about his donations in August, he declined to comment.

Commissioner Hagan again failed to respond to a request for comment this week; he said he would no longer talk to 10Investigates in October “due to your irresponsible and misleading reporting.”

He repeated that phrase 16 times.

Find 10Investigates reporter Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Read his Sports Business Blog at Shadow of the Stadium.

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