Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has responded to the allegations made by shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge that he got in the way of a deal to sell the historic Jackson House.
Speaking to FOX 13's Gloria Gomez at Raymond James Stadium, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Bubba's attempt to buy the home was "a bunch of malarkey." He also said it was, "a publicity stunt, nothing more."
The Jackson House in downtown Tampa served as a boarding house to blacks during segregation, and hosted many famous African American figures like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It has fallen into disrepair and is on the verge of collapse. There have been many attempts to rescue it from demolition, but all have failed. The home was built in 1901.
Bubba said he and his charity planned to buy the home, restore it, and use some of the rooms to offer free legal advice to minorities. But he said Mayor Buckhorn imposed 11th-hour deadlines and expectations for restoring the home that were impossible to meet.
He claims it is a personal vendetta against him because of the mayor's close relationship with his radio rival, Todd "MJ" Schnitt.
"Well that tells you how absurd this is," Buckhorn said. "I don't listen to his show, I don't know the guy, I don't know anybody who's credible who listens to his show, so I don't know how he can make this out to be a personal vendetta."
Bubba also claimed that if figures like JFK had stayed in the home, Mayor Buckhorn would be doing more to save it, and that the mayor doesn't care about black history.
"I don't care what he says," Buckhorn responded. "He makes inflammatory statements for a living."
The mayor said his office is willing to work with anyone, but he wants credible people who will make a real effort.
Mayor Buckhorn shrugged off any concern that Bubba would run against him in next year's mayoral race.
"I feel pretty confident in my record, where the city has gone over the last three years," Buckhorn said. "If he or anyone else wants to run, they are more than welcome to do it. I'll see them on the playing field."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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