A primary element of Florida's 2012 effort to bring the Summer Olympics to Tampa and Orlando will be the Olympic stadium -- the construction, location and finances of which eventually could affect the area's reaction to the effort in general. Potential controversy centers on whether taxpayers will have to foot the bill: Hillsborough County commissioners have said their support of Florida 2012 will evaporate if that's the case.
The details of that project, along with much of the bid, have remained hidden from public scrutiny to this point. Florida 2012 president Ed Turanchik has said that to do otherwise would jeopardize the bid's competitiveness.
But one problem -- what to do with the stadium when the Olympics end -- would appear to be solved. It looks as if that stadium will go to the University of South Florida's football program. A few months ago, USF athletic director Paul Griffin signed a confidentiality agreement with Florida 2012, essentially promising not to spill the beans about that agreement, the St. Petersburg Times reports.
What, exactly, that agreement says is in contention: Although Griffin is a state employee, and presumably governed by open-records laws, neither he nor the university's attorneys had a copy of the agreement to share with the media, and Turanchik simply refused to do so.
What is certain, however, is that the flap has galvanized Turanchik's critics [Ring bearer, May 11], who from the outset have accused the former elected official of being too secretive. Turanchik has promised only to unveil bits and pieces over the next few months, including any possible athletic sites in metro Orlando, leading to the final submission of Florida's bid to the United States Olympic Committee on Dec. 15.