Back in 2017, FTVLive showed you that Tegna’s WTSP (Tampa) was trying to nudge longtime Anchor Reginald Roundtree to the door.
Now they have decided to give him a push instead. His bio has been scrubbed from the station’s website.
Roundtree was fired Friday after more than two decades with the station.
Roundtree’s termination followed an internal review by the station’s parent company Tegna., said an email from spokeswoman Anne Bentley to the Tampa Bay Times.
The station refused further comment, but Roundtree’s lawyer said Tegna told them they let the anchor go because of questions raised in a recent Times article about the news anchor’s professional ethics in using his close personal friendship with a local criminal defense attorney to land an interview with his client in a high-profile shooting case.
Roundtree disputes that he acted improperly, said his lawyer Wil Florin. They say Tegna’s stated reason was a pretext. Instead, the 60-year-old Roundtree believes he was fired in retaliation for an age discrimination complaint he filed against TEGNA and WTSP.
“Seniority and standing in the community doesn't really matter to this company,” Florin said. “They want young, fresh faces, and there's laws that protect folks from being discriminated against on the basis of age.”
Florin provided the Times with a letter dated Jan. 28 addressed to WTSP and its parent company that accuses management of engaging in a “pattern or practice of age discrimination against their older employees, including Mr. Roundtree.” Attached to the letter is a formal complaint Roundtree filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Tegna disputed that assertion. “Our decision had nothing to do with his EEOC allegations,” Bentley said in an email.
The termination follows a bizarre legal dispute involving prominent Pinellas defense attorney John Trevena. The lawyer wrote in court documents that Roundtree, whom he called his “former best friend,” introduced him to a woman who stole money, jewelry and a car from Trevena and his wife. The woman, Deena Covell, is the sister of Roundtree's wife Tresha.