The Pasco County Commission and RADDSports Pasco Wiregrass LLC have reached a mediated settlement, which turns over the operation of the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus to Pasco County, and results in over $3 million in payments to RADDSports Pasco Wiregrass LLC.
The Pasco County Commission approved the settlement as part of its consent agenda on April 18. The consent agenda includes a number of items that are approved in a single action, unless someone pulls an item for discussion.
RADDSports had been operating the Wiregrass Sports Campus under a sports park operations and maintenance license agreement approved by the county on Aug. 15, 2017.
Disputes arose between the county and RADDSports, and the county issued the Notice of Default on Nov. 4, 2022, informing RADDSports that the county planned to take over the operations.
RADDSports subsequently filed a lawsuit against the county on Nov. 18, 2022, “seeking declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages for the county’s alleged violations of the Florida Public Records Act and breach of the Sports Park Agreement,” according to materials in the county board’s agenda packet.
The parties met in a mediation session Nov. 28, 2022 and, while not reaching a settlement, made progress and agreed to take part in another mediation on Feb. 8, 2023. Meanwhile, the lawsuit was put on hold.
At the continued mediation session, County Administrator Mike Carballa and RADDSports reached a full settlement and entered into an agreement, subject to the county board’s approval of the settlement.
The settlement approved by the board directs the Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller to issue a check to RADDSports for $1,094,000, which will be held in escrow until pre-conditions of the settlement have been met.
The clerk’s office also has been directed to issue four additional checks, in the amount of $500,000 each, with payment dates of April 18, 2024; April 18, 2025; April 18, 2026 and April 18, 2027.
Those checks will be held in escrow by the county attorney’s office and delivered to RADDSports on the first, second, third and fourth anniversary dates of the turnover — after the county attorney’s office has confirmed that RADDSports is complying with the settlement agreement, according to the agenda materials.
The county’s $3 million in payments are being made to “buy out” the remaining term of the Sports Park Agreement from RADDSports, providing the company complies with the settlement’s conditions.
The Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus, at 3021 Sports Coast Way, in Wesley Chapel, plays a significant role in Pasco County’s sports tourism efforts.
The county board and RADDSports opened the 98,000-square-foot facility in the summer of 2020 to attract tournaments and talent from around the country and the globe. The sports campus features volleyball and basketball courts, a dedicated cheer zone, outdoor fields and other amenities.
The county’s sports marketing experts and its parks and recreation managers now will oversee the facility, according to a Pasco County news release.
“The Florida’s Sports Coast team will focus on booking outside events and attracting outside visitors to our county,” according to the release.
Pasco’s sports partners will continue to enjoy events and activities, with an existing pipeline of economic impact-generating events already on the books, the release adds.
Despite the legal dispute with RADDSports, the county expressed appreciation to RADDSports.
“We thank RADDSports for helping design this amazing facility, which essentially serves as the centerpiece of Florida’s Sports Coast, and for its cooperation to allow the county to bring in-house the going forward operation of the facility,” the release says.
“Pasco County and RADDSports are working together to ensure a seamless management transition to minimize disruptions of Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus programming and events. Pasco County Parks, Recreation, & Natural Resources is honoring all prior event contracts, making sure local sports enthusiasts continue to have access to our world-class facilities,” the release adds.
The county built the $29 million sports campus with tourist development tax dollars on land donated by the Porter family, which has had a hand in shaping much of the development of Wesley Chapel.
Acreage once owned by the Porters now is occupied by a multitude of developments, including The Shops at Wiregrass, Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, AdventHealth Wesley Chapel, and public schools, neighborhoods and businesses.
Published April 26, 2023