Investigative journalism: The story of David Riggs

Some newspaper people believe that ALL journalism is investigative journalism. There’s some truth to that. But stories like this one are different and require much more work than most. This particular story was about a very unusual man who got himself in trouble over and over again as he pursued big dreams, many of them not exactly legal. It required weeks of work and many interviews. I found out recently that the man, David Riggs, died a couple of years ago, plunging his jet plane into a lake in China. Things hadn’t changed very much for him. For what it’s worth, I’m very proud of this story, which I wrote for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. You better go get a cup of coffee, it’s REALLY long…


Staff Writer

A convicted bank swindler who says he moved to Tampa to start a new life in the video post-production industry has left a trail of unpaid bills, angry suppliers and disillusioned business associates.

In the three years since David Riggs came to Tampa from Atlanta, he has become involved in at least three post-production companies. In doing so, according to people close to Riggs’ business interests, he has allegedly cost investors and suppliers thousands of dollars — allegations he denies.

His current company, Digital Majik Post Productions Inc., does work for a number of advertising agencies and other clients, including Tampa-based Paradigm Communications, one of the Bay Area’s largest ad firms.

Many clients speak highly of Riggs’ editing abilities and the way he showers them and prospects with attention, including gifts.

But suppliers and former associates paint a different picture — they describe Riggs, who has spent time in U.S. and Hong Kong prisons, as a manipulating figure who takes their money and property and then leaves them holding the bag.

“I hope someone catches up with that rat so he will just go away,” said one former supplier who claims he was left holding an unpaid bill worth several thousand dollars.

According to various people, Riggs has claimed to be the recipient of Emmy and Clio awards; to have done work for such major clients as Mitsubishi Electronics; to have been the author of the “This Bud’s For You” slogan; to have served as a backup member of the U.S. Olympic skeet shooting team, and to have played the trombone in the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus band.

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