Thomas “Tommy” LeGault, the 41-year-old Palm Coast resident and candidate for Flagler County Commission, is being sued by Flagler Broadcasting’s WNZF for unpaid bills. He has been pursued by Flagler Palm Coast High School officials for months over unpaid fund-raising dollars owed the school’s competitive cheerleading team. And he has twice faced eviction from two separate Palm Coast rentals in the last three years, the last time just three months ago.
LeGault runs a business called Savor Flagler, which sells cards that offer discounts at participating local businesses and encourages patronizing local businesses. The company was registered by a different individual with the Division of Corporations in 2016 but dissolved the following year. The state Division of Corporations lists it as “inactive,” and no similar-named company could be found, nor could one could be found under LeGault’s name. LeGault says it is registered, though he said he has trouble finding it on the state’s site himself.
LeGault has associated himself with fundraisers and public support especially for education and mental health initiatives, giving particular attention to suicide prevention efforts, for example. He says he’s helped raise thousands of dollars for Flagler Palm Coast’s Future Problem Solvers in the past, and for Imagine School at Town Center.
The WNZF suit is the result of a dispute over money owed dating back to last year, when LeGault, just before he announced for county commission, was paying to host an infomercial on WNZF called “We Love Small Business With Tommy,” where he was described as a “Flagler County entrepreneur and community builder.” The infomercial ran from February through May 2019, according to Flagler Broadcasting General Manager David Ayres. A YouTube recording of a show last May had five views.
“Ironically it was about how you’re supposed to run a small business,” Ayres said, “and he’d have small businesses come in, talk about it, have tips, how to successfully run a small business.” Ayres laughs at the irony. “I can’t believe I’m even saying that.”
The unpaid bills started adding up even while LeGault was still on the air. WNZF worked with him, giving him room and time to pay. He was “notorious for saying he would pay,” Ayres said of LeGault, but LeGault would not. In May, the radio station cancelled the infomercial show over the unpaid bills.
He would keep pledging to make good on the bills. “He was at Creekside, I was walking by, he came out said ‘hey, I’m going to pay that money I owe you.’ I was like, OK.” But there was no payment. “He’s not denying that he owes it, he just doesn’t have it. He’s a nice enough guy.”
“They know the circumstances that we fell behind,” LeGault said, attributing the problem to a “terrible car accident” that caused him to be out of work for three months.
By the time WNZF cancelled the show in May, he owed several thousand dollars. LeGault’s payment history shows that two checks bounced in February and March. He made a few small payments subsequently, but by the time he saw Ayres at Creekside Festival at Princess Place Preserve in mid-October, the payments had all but stopped. There was an $80 payment in November. When the radio station turned the account over to a collection agency, he owed just over $3,500.
“We had a word of mouth contract with WNZF for our radio show, we had a disagreement with the balance owed, we’re working to resolve it pretty quickly,” LeGault said Thursday.
Ayers doesn’t see it that way. “We have all kinds of documentation,” he said. “He was billed, and did the shows, and so either he pays it or we’ll let the legal system do its thing he’s never disputed any amount.”
Ayres says LeGault stopped communicating with the collections agency (LeGault called it “a complete false statement but that’s where I want to leave it at that”), so opted to file suit in small claims court for what now amounts to $4,953 “for unpaid amount for services rendered” and collection fees.
LeGault claimed not to be aware of the lawsuit nor the summons, saying he had not received it. The summons was issued on Jan. 6 and was sent to the address listed on LeGault’s December campaign finance report, the last report on file–16 Wellhaven Lane in Palm Coast. In November, LeGault faced eviction from that address, but the matter was settled and he never left the house. Two years ago he and his girlfriend, Mary Wiltshire, his campaign manager, were evicted from their rental at 65 Secretary Trai, for which they owed $1,500. A judgment was entered in favor of the landlord. He said they vacated voluntarily.
Last year he made an arrangement with the Flagler Palm Coast High School competitive cheerleading team for a fund-raiser through his Savor Flagler cards, with a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the cards going to the team. The girls sold enough cards to raise $2,100. It was up to LeGault to return the owed percentage, FPC Athletic Director Steve DeAugustino said. But he still owes $1,000–money crucial to the cheerleaders’ ability to pay for competition costs, among others.
For months, the cheerleading coach sought payments but got only a few hundred dollars. She finally turned the matter over to DeAugustino–on Oct. 31. He’s been asking LeGault to make payments since. LeGault says he’s communicated with DeAugustino and responded to every communication. Emails tell a story more akin to Ayers’s experience.
“Will you be coming in today or tomorrow for the second payment? Just a reminder I need the final payment by December 18th,” DeAugustino wrote LeGault on Dec. 12. “Tomorrow is plan will touch base around lunch,” LeGault responded. But he did not show. “I have been trying to work with you for more than a month,” DeAugustino wrote two days later. “I would appreciate a response to my emails. I waited here for 2 hours yesterday because you promised to be in. what is going on?” LeGault responded three days later, telling him he’d be in Jacksonville then Orlando but would try sending someone else. On it went, with another plea from DeAugustino on Dec. 23 (“Why will you not reply to my emails?”) and another pledge from LeGault that day: “We will make some payment this week and make sure it doesn’t go into new year.”
But it did. LeGault paid $300 on Wednesday, leaving $1,000 unpaid.
“He hasn’t shared with me the hold up or the reason other than there’s other business that he was dealing with, it’s just going on and on and on and on,” DeAugustino said. “To me it should be pretty basic, you raise X amount of dollars, you agree on a percentage, that percentage is paid and it’s over. Percentage is already determined, he keeps his and sends us our donation and that’s it. I had that discussion with him, it shouldn’t be anywhere near this complicated.”
LeGault said “there was no contract” with the cheerleaders, and he said the cheerleading “staff” did things “incorrectly” as far as handing over the money and going through what he called “proper channels.” He said there was no due date for when he had to pay his share, then amended that to: “It was a deadline the coaches set not a deadline on a written contract or anything like that.” Why the lack of money on his part? “All the money I take when one closes out, it pays the next one,” he said of his various fund-raisers.
“I don’t really care what the reason is,” DeAugustino said. “It’s just a matter of this was the deal, I’m getting a lot of heat form the coaches and the parents. I’m just trying to be fair, but I just want the girls to get their money.” He added: “Our cheerleaders go out in the community all the time. My reason for giving him every opportunity to pay this was, I don’t want anybody thinking that the cheerleaders are doing this and that, or the parents are unhappy. I just wanted him to fulfill his commitment.”
DeAugustino today turned over the matter to Kristy Gavin, the school board attorney.
Legault, a Republican, launched his bid for the District 1 seat on the Flagler County Commission in early summer. The seat is currently held by Charlie Ericksen, who is not running for re-election. School Board member Andy Dance has filed to run as a Republican for the seat, as has Corinne Hermle, a Democrat. So LeGault, who is still gathering petitions to qualify, would be facing Dance in the Aug. 18 primary, assuming no one else files.
Dance declined to comment on the issue. “I worry about my own stuff. That stuff will take care of itself,” he said. “I just concentrate on my own business.”
LeGault’s campaign finance documents indicate he’s raised $4,764 so far, and spent $4,700, of which $1,000 went to his girlfriend in her role as campaign manager. The first picture featuring LeGault that comes up on his website also features his family, and was taken in the plaza of the Flagler County courthouse. He promotes “small business” and “mental health awareness,” along with the “future of all children in Flagler County.”
Asked how he squared his string of financial issues with his hope to be a county commissioner representing small business and responsible for budgeting millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars, LeGault said late this afternoon: “I will be able to prove to the voters what I can do for them and I’ll just leave it at that, and I don’t want to answer anything anymore because I’m on vacation with my family right now.”
To contribute directly to FPC’s cheerleading team, send a check to FPC Cheerleading, c/o Athletic Department, Flagler Palm Coast High School, 5500 East Highway 100, Palm Coast, FL 32164.