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Tampa Bay cities didn't get what they sought in oil spill claims

The city of St. Petersburg demanded nearly $60 million to settle its lawsuit over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is in line to get $8 million.

Tampa wanted about $60 million and is set to land $27.4 million.

And Clearwater, which actually has a beach on the Gulf of Mexico, sought $20 million and will get roughly the same amount as St. Petersburg.

Disparities among the settlement amounts that Tampa Bay's elected officials have approved in recent days to end their claims against BP and other defendants raise the question: How were they calculated?

Details are scarce because the federal judge presiding over the case, Sally Shushan, has issued a gag order over settlement discussions. Government officials and their attorneys discussed the amounts behind closed doors, emerging only to hold a public vote. They have declined to comment on details until the order is lifted.