News and Announcements

In Jail Phone Exchange, Hogan Tells Weepy Son To ‘Man Up’

Here’s a prime example of why to use discretion when calling from the jail.  The calls are recorded.


In Jail Phone Exchange, Hogan Tells Weepy Son To ‘Man Up’

By  STEPHEN THOMPSON  | The Tampa Tribune

Published: May 22, 2008

CLEARWATER – Shortly after he was put in a cell at Pinellas County Jail, Nick Bollea started complaining about the accommodations to his parents in telephone conversations, often breaking into tears, according to copies of the conversations made by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
"I have to get out of here," the 17-year-old tells his mother, Linda Bollea. "I can’t deal with this for eight months."
The call was made in the early evening of May 9, on the same day Bollea pleaded no-contest to a charge of reckless driving involving serious injury and was sentenced to eight months in jail. On Aug. 26, he crashed a car into a tree in Clearwater, leaving his sole passenger, Iraq war veteran John Graziano, with brain damage.
Bollea was placed in a cell by himself, one roughly 8 1/2 feet wide by 16 1/2 feet long. Like Bollea, all juveniles who are sentenced to jail time as adults or are awaiting trial to face felony charges as adults are isolated and separated from adult inmates.
Bollea says his cell is half the size of his bathroom at home, and he repeatedly complains about there being no windows.
"They put me in a crazy ward," he says.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Bordner said initially Bollea was placed in the room at the medical building because there was no other available. He since has been moved but remains isolated from adults, Bordner said.
In his first conversation with his mother, he takes a few shots at his attorney, Kevin Hayslett, saying that if knew he was going to be in a windowless cell by himself, he would rather have gone to trial. His charge carried a potential sentence of up to five years.
Bollea said Hayslett gave him the impression that he would be in minimum security and able to play cards. His mother counters that if he were put in with the general population, maybe people would beat him up because he is a celebrity.
"Don’t cry, Baby," says Linda Bollea, who sometimes swears and wonders aloud whether what they say to one another will be on the local cable television station "like … everything else around here."
Inmates repeatedly are warned that their calls may be recorded.
"It’s so much worse than you could ever imagine," Nick Bollea says. "This is like a state prison. I’m all by myself."
When his father, Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, takes the receiver, he at one point tells his boy to "man up."
When his sister Brooke hears that her brother only is given two sheets, an empty pillowcase and a towel, she suggests he put the towels in the pillowcase to serve as a pillow.
"I wouldn’t worry too much about it," Brooke says at a different point in the conversations.
Hayslett, Bollea’s attorney, took issue today with the conversations being released.
Sheriff Jim Coats released the recordings at the request of the media. Coats runs the jail.
"Most people believe their conversations with their child in custody would remain private, and that being in custody, regardless of who you are, is never easy," Hayslett said. "Being in custody is never easy, either for the child or the parent."
Reporter Stephen Thompson can be reached at (727) 451-2336 or spthompson@tampatrib.com.