Dick A. Greco

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Dick Greco
Mayor of Tampa, Florida
In office
1967–1974, 1995–2003
Preceded byNick Chillura Nuccio, 1st term; Sandra Freedman, 2nd term
Succeeded byRichard L. Cheney, 1st term; Pam Iorio, 2nd term
Personal details
BornRichard Attilio Greco
(1933-09-14) September 14, 1933 (age 85)
Ybor City, Tampa, Florida
Political partyDemocratic[1]
Spouse(s)Linda F. McClintock-Greco
Alma materUniversity of Tampa (B.A.)

Richard Attilio Greco (born September 14, 1933) is a politician, businessman, and civic activist from Tampa, Florida.

Early life[edit]

Dick Greco was born in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa, where his Italian-American father owned a hardware store. He graduated from Hillsborough High School and the University of Tampa [2] where he obtained his B.S. in Education (1956). After obtaining his degree, Greco took over his father's hardware store and became increasingly active in many civic programs and organizations.

Political career[edit]

In 1963, Greco decided to use his growing public profile to campaign for a seat on the Tampa city council. He won the election for District 4 and was sworn in on October 1, 1963, less than two weeks after his 30th birthday.[3]

Mayor of Tampa, Part I[edit]

In 1967, Greco ran a successful campaign to be Tampa's youngest ever mayor (and one of the youngest mayors in the United States) by beating incumbent and fellow Ybor City native Nick Nuccio in an election that was seen as a transfer of power from one generation to the next[4][5]

In his first term, Greco balanced issues such as simmering racial tensions, crime, and extremely limited tax revenue. In 1971, Greco again beat Nuccio in a mayoral election rematch, but resigned in 1974 to accept a job with Edward J. DeBartolo Corp., a mall development company, a career move which tripled his mayor's salary of $30,000.[6][7]

Mayor of Tampa, Part II[edit]

Greco remained with the DeBartolo Corporation for 21 years, much of it spent away from Tampa.[7] He returned to his hometown in the early 1990s and successfully re-entered Tampa politics in 1995 when he ran for and regained the mayor's office. Owing to his years in the commercial development industry, Greco pushed for many large projects, often joint ventures involving both private and public funding. Some (such as the Tampa Marriott Waterside) were widely praised, while others (such as the Centro Ybor shopping center and Raymond James Stadium) were more controversial and would cost the city budget millions of dollars over subsequent years.[8] Despite some setbacks, Greco remained popular enough to win a second consecutive (and fourth overall) term as mayor with no opposition in 1999.

During his fourth term as mayor, Greco's administration was involved in controversy when the city's housing director, Steve LaBrake, was accused of improperly awarding city contracts and taking bribes. Despite mounting criticism, Greco refused to fire LaBrake until after the director was indicted in federal court. LaBrake eventually served time in prison for his actions.[9][10] Greco was also criticized for continuing to back private redevelopment projects with city money, in several instances leaving the city with large debt repayments after developers defaulted.[11] Due to term limits limiting Tampa mayors to two consecutive terms, he could not run again in 2003 and was succeeded by Pam Iorio.

Despite some controversy during his last years in office, Greco was still widely popular in Tampa and was the second former mayor (after Nick Nuccio) to be honored with a public statue. The statue depicts Greco sitting on a bench beside Dick Greco Plaza, a streetcar station named in his honor for his efforts to build the TECO Line Streetcar System connecting Ybor City and downtown.[12][13]

After leaving the mayor's office, Greco returned to the DeBartolo Corporation, which had moved its headquarters to Tampa in 1999 at his recommendation.[7]

5th run for mayor[edit]

In 2010, Greco announced that he would try to win an unprecedented 5th term as mayor of Tampa in 2011 when Iorio's second term expired,[14] potentially making him both the youngest and the oldest mayor in the city's history. But though seen by local political observers as the early favorite,[15] Greco ran third in the general election, 384 votes behind Rose Ferlita, who lost in a subsequent runoff election to Bob Buckhorn.[16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Neil (February 27, 2011). "Flier pushes GOP candidates in Tampa races". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved September 9, 2012. Former Mayor Dick Greco, a Democrat and the perceived frontrunner in the mayoral race, has been targeted in attack ads by another Miami-based third party group backed by Republicans.
  2. ^ Member Search Results - The University of Tampa
  3. ^ "City of Tampa Archives - City Council Members". 2017-08-01.
  4. ^ Debate brings new edge to Tampa mayor's race - St. Petersburg Times
  5. ^ Greco vs. Nuccio - Cigar City Magazine Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Candidates bring wealth of experience to Tampa mayoral race, tbo.com
  7. ^ a b c Cronan, Carl (23 June 2003). "Former mayor back home with DeBartolo". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  8. ^ Zink, Janet (29 November 2010). "Dick Greco files papers to run for mayor of Tampa". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Greco's legacy permanently stained by the dirt of LaBrake scandal" - St. Pete Times
  10. ^ Master salesman Dick Greco seeks a fifth term as mayor
  11. ^ "Greco: There's nothing I would have done differently" - St. Pete Times"
  12. ^ "Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco honored" - St. Pete Times
  13. ^ "Greco puts a spark to trolley fire" - St. Pete Times
  14. ^ Greco shakes up Tampa mayor's race with bid for a 5th term
  15. ^ It's still too close to call
  16. ^ Buckhorn routs Ferlita in Tampa mayor's race, then talks of creating a better Tampa - Tampa Bay Times
  17. ^ Analyzing why Dick Greco came up 384 votes short | Daily Loaf
Political offices
Preceded by
Nick Chillura Nuccio
Mayor of Tampa
1967–1974
Succeeded by
Richard L. Cheney
Preceded by
Sandra Freedman
Mayor of Tampa
1995–2003
Succeeded by
Pam Iorio