HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – New emails uncovered by WFLA show a closer relationship between the head of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission and local cab companies than originally thought.
The emails show PTC executive director Kyle Cockream is in constant contact with Lou Minardi who is the President of the Yellow cab. Cockream shares inside information from the Hillsborough County attorney and a lobbyist with Minardi. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn believes the relationship between the PTC and cab companies needs to be investigated.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn believes the relationship between the PTC and cab companies needs to be investigated.
“If there is collusion there, then I think people need to answer for that, but clearly the perception is that is very, very close, way too close in my estimation to the people that they’re regulating,” Buckhorn said.
State Representative Dana Young has formally requested the FDLE to investigate the relationship. Thursday the FDLE assigned the case to its office of Executive Investigations.
Late Thursday, PTC Board Chairman Victor Crist called for an emergency meeting of the PTC to discuss the emails that have been released and the relationship they reveal between Cockream and the cab companies.
Cockream has sent out written responses to WFLA claiming the emails have been “taken out of context,” but he has refused multiple requests for an interview. WFLA made a public records request for Cockream’s schedule.
Thursday, he had just one meeting on his calendar, but when a news crew showed up at the meeting, Cockream wasn’t there. Also on Thursday, the Hillsborough County attorney advised the PTC they should seek new council.
The County attorney has been advising the PTC on legal matters but also advises the Hillsborough County Commission. County attorney Chip Fletcher says it could present a conflict of interest if the PTC is dissolved by the state legislature and the duties are taken over by the County Commission.
Fletcher says he will advise the PTC at their next regular meeting to find new legal advice to avoid problems.