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Lawsuit and Ethics Charge Cite Flagler Commissioner Revels Ties to Business Associate in County’s Old Hospital Buy

| July 1, 2014

Commissioners Barbara Revels, center, and Frank Meeker, right, are named in a lawsuit by a watchdog group that seeks to stop county construction on the old Memorial Hospital property, which the commissioners inspected last May an hour before voting to buy the building at three times its assessed value. (© FlaglerLive)

Commissioners Barbara Revels, center, and Frank Meeker, right, are named in a lawsuit by a watchdog group that seeks to stop county construction on the old Memorial Hospital property, which the commissioners inspected last May an hour before voting to buy the building at three times its assessed value. (© FlaglerLive)

A newly formed group that calls itself the Flagler Palm Coast Watchdogs last week filed a lawsuit against the Flagler County Commission, seeking to halt work on the old Memorial Hospital property in Bunnell slated to be the sheriff’s new headquarters. The suit raises questions about the propriety of the county’s $1.23 million purchase of the property last August.

The 2013 Files:

The Documents:

In particular, the lawsuit alleges that Commissioner Barbara Revels never disclosed her business relationship with Bruce Page, the CEO of Intracoastal Bank, before pushing for the purchase of the old building, which Page and two other men owned, and voting on the purchase rather than recusing herself. Revels, according to her own annual financial disclosures, owned stock in Intracoastal Bank worth $100,000, and is a close friend of Page’s. Revels also has a six-figure loan with Intracoastal.

Florida law requires elected officials to abstain from voting on any measure that would yield them a “special private gain or loss” or yield a business associate a similar gain or loss. The law defines a business associate as “any person or entity engaged in or carrying on a business enterprise with the officer  as a partner, joint venturer, co-owner of property, or corporate shareholder (where the shares of the corporation are not listed on any national or regional stock exchange).”

The purchase of the old Memorial Hospital was controversial because it was hurried, the negotiations that led to it were conducted in secret, with each county commissioner knowing about it well before the matter was disclosed at an open commission meeting, the price taxpayers paid for it was three times the assessed value of the property, and double its market value. The owners of the property, particularly Page and Michael Chiumento III, the lawyer, have close ties to local government officials. They had tried and failed for a decade to sell the building, until the deal with the county.

An ethics complaint was also filed against Revels at the Florida Commission on Ethics last month, making claims similar to those raised by the lawsuit.

“There’s no damages other than injunctive relief,” Josh Knight, the Palm Coast attorney representing the Watchdogs group, said Friday. “The sole purpose of forming the Flagler-Palm Coast Watchdogs, and you’ll see this in our complaint, is they’re dedicated to ensuring fiscal responsibility and the total transparency of the activities of our local governments, as well as their strict conformance with Florida statutes consistent with Florida government in the sunshine doctrine. We’re not trying to create problems here. There’s a genuine issues at the heart of this matter, the least of which being Ms. Revels’s failure to provide us with a Form 8 conflict of interest. She is a shareholder with the bank that Mr. Page and Mr. Chiumento are shareholders in. They’re the ones who profited from this deal.”

barbara revels flagler county commission

Barbara Revels

Revels was on vacation in the Bahamas this week and could not be reached. But Al Hadeed, the county attorney—who got the lawsuit on June 25, when it was electronically filed, as he is named on the documents—said the lawsuit had no validity.

“They are related by virtue of being shareholders of the same bank,” Hadeed said of Page and Revels, “but she’s not a bank officer, she doesn’t sit on the board of directors, she doesn’t have any decision making authority within the bank. She’s a shareholder and an account holder, and the bank was not involved in this transaction. Bruce Page was in his individual capacity.”

Revels, Hadeed added, had disclosed her relationship to Page since her financial disclosure form was on record. But the voting-conflict disclosure form is a separate requirement.

Bruce Page. (© FlaglerLive)

Bruce Page. (© FlaglerLive)

“Commissioner Revels’s relationship with Mr. Page was known to these individuals that have complained about this vote,” Hadeed said. “They knew it at the time and they were voicing their reservations concerning that relationship, and ultimately it’s not for me or the County Commission or the judge to determine whether the failure of Commissioner Revels to file a disclosure form amounts to a violation” of state ethics laws. “That’s going to be decided by a different agency,” meaning the Florida Commission on Ethics.

The ethics commission neither confirms nor denies the receipt of ethics complaints, and does not disclose whether one is being investigated until it reaches a decision on whether probable cause exists for further action. So far, there is no indication that the ethics complaint is being investigated, as neither the county nor the individual who filed it have been contacted by investigators.

“I don’t know that you can read anything from the silence,” Hadeed said. “I’m not trying to infer anything from the silence, other than the fact that we have no official or preliminary determination of any kind.”

Both the lawsuit and the ethics complaint were filed by men closely associated with the Ronald Reagan Assemblies of Flagler County, a right-wing group to the right of the traditional Republican Party that aggressively but not always accurately aims to subvert local government in the name of fiscal responsibility. Ray Stevens, twice a former Republican candidate for sheriff, filed the ethics complaint. (July 2 update: Stevens said he was contacted by the ethics commission to provide additional information.)

Dan Bozza, a retired, bookish individual who says he spent a career “in finance” at the Chicago Stock Exchange, is the only named officer of the Flagler Palm Coast Watchdogs. Bozza was the write-in candidate in the Republican primary race that ensured the election of County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen two years ago, unseating the more moderate Alan Peterson. There were no other candidates in that race, and by law Independents and Democrats would have had a right to vote in it, even though two Republicans were running, since its result were to decide the final outcome. By fielding himself as a write-in, Bozza, providing an alleged third choice on the ballot, and to pointed criticism from some local GOP leaders, “closed” the primary so that only Republicans could vote—thus ensuring that Peterson could not benefit from more moderate votes. Peterson lost.

In an interview Friday, Bozza would not say who else is involved in the Watchdogs group, only that the group—if it is, in fact, more than one person—is seeking a non-profit designation from the IRS. Bozza said he set up the Watchdogs “to “give a lot of angry people a way to channel their anger” by donating to the Watchdogs, which in turn will file more lawsuits against local government. The twin missions of the group, in other words, is to raise money and fund lawsuits, Bozza said, because “it’s only because of lack of funding that prevents citizens from their right to justice. Justice is expensive.”

The lawsuit, however, appears less than precise in what it’s seeking, beyond an injunction to stop work on the old hospital. The suit states that Revels, as a co-shareholder in Intracoastal Bank, “had an affirmative duty to disclose her business relationship with Mr. Page and/or Intracoastal Bank prior to voting on the purchase” of the old hospital. And it refers to Commissioner Frank Meeker’s reluctant decision to vote for the hospital buy. But the suit does not seek to reverse the purchase. It claims that the Watchdogs—Bozza is not personally named—would suffer irreparable damages if any additional money is spent on the old hospital property. But the plaintiffs may have trouble convincing the court of how they would be suffering, if the Watchdogs is presented as a nameless front without a stable of actual taxpayers behind it: courts generally don’t take kindly to fronts, preferring to deal with flesh-and-blood individuals.

“We just want more clarification and assurances that this was done in the best interest or residents and taxpayers of Flagler County,” Knight, the attorney for the Watchdogs, said. “I don’t believe that it was. I’ve spoken to several sheriff’s deputies, they feel that it’s a joke of a deal. This is going to be the future site of the sheriff’s department, they’re aware of the property, they think it’s a joke. They think it’s compromised from a security standpoint, from a strategic standpoint, not to mention the pervasive environmental issues plaguing that property.” (Sheriff’s deputies’ claims are not part of the lawsuit.)

Knight on Friday said he was surprised that Hadeed had already read the lawsuit, even though it had not been docketed yet by the Clerk of Court. “How’s that possible? I didn’t send him a copy,” Knight said.

Al Hadeed. (© FlaglerLive)

Al Hadeed. (© FlaglerLive)

But he had. Hadeed received an electronic “Notice of Service of Court Document” of the filing on June 25 at 12:27 p.m., according to an email he received, because his email is among those included in the filing list. A minute earlier, he received another email from the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, advising him that “you have received this email because you have been added to the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal eService List by… Joshua David Knight.” In other words, Knight’s e-filing ensured that Hadeed would immediately receive the documents. All such court documents must now be filed electronically.

That enabled Hadeed immediately to get to work on getting the case dismissed. That’s routine whenever a lawsuit is filed. But Hadeed said that even though he was having difficulties framing his motion, because of the vagueness of the complaint, he would be filing it Tuesday.

“It’s very difficult for me to understand the cause of action that is being asked,” Hadeed said. “There’s an allegation about a failure to disclose a relationship on the part of one commissioner, and there’s an allegation of a commissioner who provided an explanation of his vote, which, by the way, only has partial quotes in the complaint. And from those two  allegations, they believe under the ethics law that they’re entitled to get an injunction. Now, I strongly disagree and I will make that argument to the court. I don’t think there’s any merit to the suit, absolutely no merit.”

Hadeed said the timing of the suit may have to do with election season, though Revels is not running for office this year. Meeker is, and though he is a Republican, the Ronald Reagan group has been his bane, going as far as trying to oust him from the Republican Executive Committee, and he’s not hidden his antipathy for it in return. Meeker faces in the Republican primary the same challenger he faced two years ago: Dennis McDonald, another Ronald Reagan Assembly favorite and a multi-warheaded thorn in the side of city and county governments.

Dennis McDonald. (© FlaglerLive)

Dennis McDonald. (© FlaglerLive)

Knight was the attorney representing McDonald in McDonald’s attempt to stop Palm Coast from rebuilding the Palm Harbor shopping center (though Palm Coast is not involved in that project, except as a regulatory agency) and possibly widening Palm Coast Parkway, because the construction entailed removing some trees. Palm Coast counter-argued that the suit was riddled with factual errors and false assumptions, had no merit, and managed to get it dismissed. The city sought to get it dismissed with prejudice, meaning that Knight would then be barred from bringing such action again against the city. Knight declined. The city then sought to get Knight and McDonald to pay $18,000 in attorney and legal fees.

That action is pending a hearing on Aug. 21 before Circuit Judge Dennis Craig, who is the likely judge who will hear the lawsuit Knight filed on behalf of the Watchdogs.

As with the lawsuit against Palm Coast, however, the lawsuit by the Watchdogs may run into monetary issues: if the judge were to grant an injunction, normally the party seeking the injunction would be required in such cases to put up a bond—either a surety bond or a personal bond—to cover the sums of the contracts being stopped. Those sums, in the old hospital case, will be very large. The Watchdog group appears to have no funds at the moment, and would have trouble finding an insurance company that would back a surety bond, leaving the bond to be covered by individuals’ dollars, though members of the Ronald Reagan group are not known for having frequented too many poorhouses.

“My goal,” Knight said, “is to immediately start depositions, and I’m confident I’ll obtain enough testimony to justify the claims that we’ve set forth in our complaint. And look were not trying to cause undue trouble here, we want to make sure that the best decision was made for everybody, and it seems like a recurring theme here that the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. It just doesn’t add up on paper.”

Flagler Palm Coast Wachdogs v. Flagler County Commission

49 Responses for “Lawsuit and Ethics Charge Cite Flagler Commissioner Revels Ties to Business Associate in County’s Old Hospital Buy”

  1. Rob says:

    Do you believe Al Hadeed would say otherwise?
    Here is a post from May 6, 2013. There may be a ring of truth to the reference that a commissioner has friends who benefited from this purchase.

    Read and re-read the first paragraph, second sentence of this article
    “Under the agreement, the price is not negotiable should the county decide to buy the property at the end of the due diligence period”

    Let’s put it another way. I want 4x for my property and you get 90 days to inspect it. And even if you find that the property is only worth 2x and requires 10x in rehabilitation costs, it’s too bad the price is still 4x.

    A commission member who is also a builder endorses this acquisition.
    Is there any chance that the builder’s friends or association members would reap the benefits of her endorsement / vote?

    And what about the sellers?
    Whose friends are they?
    After the sale they will all probably be having dinner, drinking wine and backslapping the politicians who let them cakewalk their way through the deal.

    What kind of fool would enter into such a one sided sales agreement?

    If anyone can’t see this as a sham they don’t want to.

  2. JoJo says:

    Always thought there was something fishy about this purchase. I mean the temporal speed of the sale? What a piece of garbage. Like I said, I’ll never step foot inside the old hospital because of asbestos. Clean it up all you want but it’s a hazard Flagler County Taxpayers should not have got stuck with!

  3. m&m says:

    Can you spell corruption??

  4. confidential says:

    Those secret and or distorted to the public deals feed in our hard earned funds to pay our ever increasing taxes.
    Probably if digging a little deeper many more shady deals will surface. Like I always say they buy with our taxes, overpriced derelict real estate and or utilities to benefit the elite while lying to their teeth Palm Coast Plantation Bay utility. There is a very tight close groupie in the county and cities and all fed by our elected officials to benefit themselves and buddies.
    We should be calling the FBI on them .
    Including the approval of the PC city hall after was denied by the people’s referendum
    I have to applaud the brave hearts battling for us all, the Tax Watch Dog Group and attorney Knight! They are just right! Is not about elections but about corruption. Whether their name is Ronald Reagan Coalition or our Citizens Dennis McDonald, Ray Stevens, Dan Bozza and even Woody Douge gathering signatures against the proliferation of the traffic rip you off cameras and their kangaroo courts, that even our local judges Moore Stens and Dennis Craig, found at fault.
    All these dedicated tax payers and Attorney Knight should have our total support because the damages of corruption affects us all, every time they raise our taxes to be dilapidated for the elite benefit.
    I see the face of that banker involved also in too many high fly county organizations including governments and Flagler County Chamber of Commerce. I see it as an open conflict of interest when our taxes are utilized to buy or benefit his/her personal investments.
    Unfortunatly County Attorney Mr. Hadeed knows very well the insights of it all and that is why he is back in his counsel position for this county, after he was ousted back when Hutch King was elected with good reasons, I think was 2000 or so.
    He should put his skills that we all know he has them, to the service of the taxpayers that sustain him, other than defending the one’s that misrepresent us all.

  5. Tell us more says:

    Let the good times roll. It is about time we the people were made aware of the UNKNOWN! We certainly woudn’t have known this history from the media had the Watchdogs or others not done some bone diggin’. I want to hear what Revels has to say. Can’t wait till she gets back from the Bahamas….who’s paying for that trip?

  6. Genie says:

    Of course our local politicians are corrupt. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that. We also have a country administrator who gets a contract extension without it even coming up for a vote and a city administrator who has a contract WITH NO END. This is how you get too cozy with the $$$$$. These gentlemen need to have time limits to their contracts, permanent time limits.

    Palm Coast, corruption is thy middle name. Follow the money, folks. Follow the major landowners and their connections to both city and county governments, administrators, elected officials and check out the bank accounts. Look into the land sales, the banks, the title companies, even the taxes. And don’t leave out the land SWAPS. This deal NEVER should have gone through.

    Where can I send a check to help Watchdogs out? Consider me one very fed up resident.

  7. Kendall says:

    While I don’t agree with much the Tea Party stands for, and I find the behavior of our local Robald Reagan club to be repugnant most of the time, I do agree with them on this.

    This deal stunk to high heaven from the outset and I will not vote for any county commission incumbents that made this happen. I hope someone is held ethically and criminally accountable for this gross abuse of power.

  8. JG says:

    Seems a damned shame that it takes the lunatic fringe to recognize what a screwing Flagler taxpayers are getting with this deal. As Jimmy Buffet once noted: “I’ve played some s***holes before, but this takes the cake.”

  9. wolley segap says:

    But Al Hadeed, the county attorney—who got the lawsuit on June 25, when it was electronically filed, as he is named on the documents—said the lawsuit had no validity.-

    Attorneys, speaking on behalf of their clients, always say the same thing. lol.

  10. Charles Gardner says:

    Any deal that comes together so quickly is almost always a bad deal.

  11. Greg says:

    I’m sure there is more than one or two that benefited from this deal. I would hope that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will conduct a criminal investigation if the Ethics Commission (who reports tot he Governor) determines that there was wrong doing.

    All I can say is FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

  12. Dennis McDonald says:

    If I may offer a correction, the TRO filed against the City was NOT about rebuilding the Palm Harbor Shopping Center, it is in desperate need ! If you read the complaint it was about the City’s violation of C+Rs that they claim they are not subject to.

    Dennis McDonald

  13. Anonymous says:

    I personally will be voting out ALL incumbents this election… out with the corrupt in with the novices!

    • Steve Wolfe says:

      Then join us in holding the next ones acountable. It needs to be done. That’s why the Reagan Assembly has put up candidates who welcome the scrutiny. They want to get to work for the citizens, not the special interests.

  14. Steve Wolfe says:

    Time to take another look at who really gives a damn about the government’s behavior. We should all be aware, informed and concerned about how our money is spent and for whom. Not saying anything new by reminding that money is a root of all kinds of evil. If we don’t stay engaged, the folks who gather big revenues from us can and often do things that benefit interests other than ours. I urge all to get involved and act locally. It sends a message uphill that we take government matters seriously. If you want real change, you must BE the change. Don’t just elect someone who promises change and then turn your back. I offer you the Reagan Assembly’s candidates. We are going to sit on them if you elect them and hold them accountable.

    It’s YOUR money, not theirs. We ecpect a bank to honor our deposits with integrity. We should expect no less from our smiling, elected officials.

    • tulip says:

      @ Steve Wolfe Re: your quote ” I offer you the Reagan Assembly’s candidates. We are going to sit on them if you elect them and hold them accountable.”

      In other words if any of your candidates get elected, they will not be allowed to have a mind or opinion of their own, as they will have to abide by demands and wishes of the unethical, close minded, dictatorial and rough officers of the RR club. I pity your candidates. I can only hope that people do their homework and find out which candidates are RR people and not vote for them.

      • Steve Wolfe says:

        Yes we will hold our candidates accountable to their campaign promises. That’s what all of us, even you, are supposed to do after elections. The incumbents are accountable for their records. If you like paying 1.23 million for a zombie prison valued at 1/3 of that which will cost even more yet still be a zombie prison, constant tax increases, and promises of more over spending then vote for your friends. If you like red light cameras as a means of raising city revenue while sending millions of citizens money out of state, vote for your buddies. I make no apologies for supporting transparency in government. I like to be able to see through more than thin rhetoric.

  15. Read it says:

    I smell some rotting taters in the palace!

  16. Harold says:

    Take the MONEY away and the political TROLLS will go away !!!

  17. confidential says:

    These politicians are driven by greed and by doing so destroy the very fabric of our USA economy. The harm us financially raising taxes to fund their frivolous abuses.
    There can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy.”–mistakenly–worried-about-the-middle-class-151842954.html

  18. the truth hurts says:

    While the Watch Dogs are checking out the hospital deal they might also want to look into why the Sheriff’s department used the old courthouse annex to practice some drills, leaving it in shambles. How much did that cost the tax payers? Now the Sheriff’s department gets to move into another building, newly renovated on our dime too? It’s a fact and I haven’t heard a word about it. Look into, the place is wreck, thank you Sheriff Manfre!

  19. Mike says:

    That entire deal smelled fishy from the start, it was a run down building that was worth half of what was paid, yet our political leaders voted for it and closed the deal so quickly there was no time for any investigation. Politicians wonder why why people think they are snakes, wake up politicians this is the very thing that rings true about secret deals.

  20. Samantha Claire says:

    There they go again.

    This ill founded litigation has us hearing a lot of poorly-informed hateful rhetoric against some decent officials honestly trying to govern in the face of this new smelly wave of invective and radicalized politically motivated activity.

    Reagan assembly’s Steve Wolfe said it best right here: Sour anti-government-at-all-costs Reagan assembly leadership will sit on their candidates if elected. Wow. A really chilling prospect. County and city candidates endorsed by the Reagans, as Mr. Wolfe clearly states if elected, would be controlled by the Reagans as they are even now while running for office. Their “controlled” candidates are Dennis McDonald and Mark Richter for County Commissioner; Anna-marie Shaffer and Steven Nobile for Palm Coast City Council; Janet McDonald and Michael McElroy for School Board. One can easily imagine the Reagans controlling this group to disastrous effect for years to come.

    t is during these off-year low turnout primary elections that the radicals gain footholds through control of elected officials. I am appalled at Reagan spokesman Steve Wolfe’s bold faced “control” statement.

    Preventing five major offices from ending up under Reagan assembly control is done at the ballot box this August. Palm Coast city election is open to all registered voters, but county ballot is closed to all except Republicans. To have a voice for good government against Reagans in the county primary, one must be registered Republican – deadline to change parties or for new registrations is July 28.

    Mr Wolfe, thanks for exposing Reagans intentions. SC

    • wolley segap says:

      I’ll founded? I am no fan of the RR club but even a broken clock is right twice a day. The hospital was a very bad deal forced on us taxpayers…way overpaid and then the future cost to overhaul the building…this wasn’t the only option that was available. I’m glad someone is taking the matter up. I would also wonder why the Sheriff, with other options available, went with the dilapidated structure…is his wife at all affiliated with the firm that brokered the deal? If your going to dig RR club dig deep.

      • Steve Wolfe says:

        I thank you, sir, for considering the issues a higher priority than the mere political and personal attacks from the semi-professional hecklers. It is they who want total control of the political process here because they are parrt of the local incumbency machine. Anyone who votes as they propose is putting their stamp on tax-and-spend, pro-corruption, and insider-only government. We all know what we have in Tallahassee and Washington, but if we can’t clean off our own front porch, we can’t expect to be more effective on a wider scale.

        The Reagan Assembly offers the kind of candidates who seek transparency in government. I think it has been demonstrated that the disinfectant of light needs to be used in this county and city. The control of government belongs in the hands of the voters and tax payers, not the friends of the politicians who write here to poo-poo our ideals. There will be no back pedaling from our intention, as good citizens, to hold our candidates accountable. Someone has to do it! And let me amp it up by saying we will hold ALL politicians to account. The results of doing that is the push to dump those incumbents who have performed poorly or dishonestly, to dig deep to expose things to light, offer solutions (including those who will do it, not just sit back and say it), and even this very discussion.

        I must say, I am grateful for this forum. It has been engaging and has exposed more people to a small group that won’t go down without a fight to maintain their grip on the cheerleading posts for incumbents. This is politics. We need this all to come out. Thanks to Pierre for his publication and dedication to holding local politicians accountable. Flaglerlive has been steadfast in the exposure of the bad hospital deal as well as many other ill-conceived actions on our dime.

    • Genie says:

      Ms. Claire, pardon me but I am more surprised at your support of the shenanigans that have been going on here ever since I moved here well over a dozen years ago. And I am wondering why? Are you aware yours is the only comment in support? Did you just get caught with your pants down?

      You want us to give them a chance to do more of the same? Surely, you jest.

      I’ll be voting for all new candidates and urge others to do the same. It is the only way we’re ever going to clean up this sort of thing in Palm Coast.

      Maybe we can get some term limits, as well?

    • Mike says:

      Just bullet point the pro’s of us buying the hospital at the price we did, and all the extra money goin into it as being a good deal, politicians deserve every sour word said against them we they make deals like these.

  21. tulip says:

    The Reagan candidates are and will be controlled by the RR group. These candidates are now merely puppets and, if elected will continue to be puppets. I’d rather have a person be in office that acts on their own free will and thoughts, whether I agree with it or not, rather than someone who’s getting their strings pulled.

  22. Bob Hamby says:

    The Ronald Reagan Republican Assembly Flagler Shares these Values & Principles
    – Respect for the Constitution
    – Respect for Life
    – Belief in Limited Government
    – Belief in Individual Responsibility
    With Frederick Douglass Republicans.

    Evil indeed Samantha &Tulip?

  23. tulip says:

    @ Bob Hamby In print the RR beliefs look good and I have no problem with the list. However, it’s the way your organization forces it’s rules and beliefs onto other people and if members don’t do exactly what the RR wants, they are kicked out of the club, also a person was pushed, races deliberately closed, forbidding thousands of voters the right to vote in those races. You people are always complaining about “rights”, yet you dictate to others and have no desire to look at both sides of an issue. All you people want is total control.

  24. Bob Hamby says:

    p,s. to Samantha

    Thanks for naming the Palm Coast/Flagler County candidates who share these Values & Principles
    – Respect for the Constitution
    – Respect for Life
    – Belief in Limited Government
    – Belief in Individual Responsibility
    with the
    Ronald Reagan Republican Assembly Flagler &
    Frederick Douglass Republicans.

    We also believe in government of the People, by the People, and for the People!

    Holding elected officials accountable for their actions is not “controlling” them it is the necessary action of a free people if to maintain a government of the People, by the People, and for the People!

    • confidential says:

      I totally agree with Bob.
      When any organization or citizens take a stand against government fraud perpetrated by the ones elected to represent the big majority of the people and not the very few elite interest, then partisan lines should become less important and we should support the brave hearts battling for us all.

  25. Sherry Epley says:

    AND. . . exactly who says the majority of the people want their government leaders to be controlled by/accountable to the Ronald Reagan anything?? How soon we forget “Reaganomics” and other horrific things which are still impacting us:

    1. Ronald Regan cut taxes for the rich and increased them for the middle class!

    Ronald Reagan is loved by conservatives and was loved by big business throughout his presidency and there’s a reason for it. When Reagan came into office in January of 1981, the top tax rate was 70%, but when he left office in 1989 the top tax rate was down to only 28%. As Reagan gave the breaks to all his rich friends, there was a lack of revenue coming into the federal government. In order to bring money back into the government, Reagan was forced to raise taxes eleven times throughout his time in office. One example was when he signed into law the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982. Reagan raised taxes seven of the eight years he was in office and the tax increases were felt hardest by the lower and middle class.

    2. Tripling the National Debt –

    As Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, the government was left with less money to spend. When Reagan came into office the national debt was $900 billion, by the time he left the national debt had tripled to $2.8 trillion.

    3. Iran/Contra –

    In 1986, a group of Americans were being held hostage by a terrorist group with ties to Iran. In an attempt to free the hostages, Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms and money to Iran. Much of the money that was received from the trade went to fund the Nicaragua Contra rebels who were in a war with the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. When the scandal broke in the Untied States it became the biggest story in the country, Reagan tried to down play what happened, but never fully recovered.

    4. Reagan funded Terrorists –

    The attacks on 9/11 by al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden brought new attention to international terrorism. All of a sudden, Americans coast to coast wore their American flag pins, ate their freedom fries and couldn’t wait to go to war with anyone who looked like a Muslim. What Americans didn’t realize was that the same group that attacked the United States on 9/11 was funded by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Prepping for a possible war with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan spent billions of dollars funding the Islamist mujahidin Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan. With billions of American dollars, weapons and training coming their way, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden took everything they were given and gave it back to the United States over a decade later in the worst possible way imaginable.

    5. Unemployment issues –

    When Ronald Reagan came into office 1981, unemployment was at 7.5%. After Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, he began raising taxes on the middle and lower class. Corporations started to ship more jobs out of the United States while hiring cheap foreign labor in order to make a bigger profit. While corporations made billions, Americans across the country lost their jobs. As 1982 came to a close, unemployment was nearly 11%. Unemployment began to drop as the years went on, but the jobs that were created were low paying and barely helped people make ends meet. The middle and lower class had their wages nearly frozen as the top earners saw dramatic increases in salary.

    And On and on and on. . .

    • Ray Thorne says:

      ” What Americans didn’t realize was that the same group that attacked the United States on 9/11 was funded by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s”

      The man wasn’t a psychic….And now, after 9/11, Americans should realize that Obama freed five of the worst from the same group that attacked the US on that day. If you can blame a person for what is unseen at the time, then certainly we can blame someone who has seen, and still conducted a transaction freeing those five that by his own admission, will most likely pick up where they left off. I am not a fan of the RR’s and the nonsense we saw last election but I totally agree with confidential’s comment above.

  26. Bob Hamby says:

    Sherry Epley,
    If you don’t believe In electing candidates for local office who believe in:
    – Respect for the Constitution
    – Respect for Life
    – Limited Government
    – Individual Responsibility
    would please share with the rest of us your standards for local candidates?

    • Samantha Claire says:

      Mr. Hamby’s ideological platitudes sound good and he seems to believe if repeated often enough might give him some cover. I find his attempts to rub our noses in his hijacked agenda in the name of Ronald Reagan to be quite disingenuous as Reagan himself could not get by his gatekeepers for Reagan membership. Giving him any more reasonable debate is a waste of electricity.

      Hamby also now touts their affiliation with a Fredrick Douglas Republican group. Sounds and feels good but, using Douglass trying to put some polish on their corroded paintwork is unfortunate for Douglass organization. Douglass was a great uniter promulgating hard work, unity, equality and justice for all. Another hijacking? Beware Douglass.

      The words of Reagans’ spokesman Steve Wolfe can’t be unwound or walked back. They control their candidates and plan to continue that control if any of them get elected.

      Does anyone care about the massive personnel and legal costs these people are running up on city and county taxpayers in prosecuting their nasty anti government election time agendas?

      Mr. Thorne, Their nonsense continues – Reagans have again closed the Republican Primary Election for county commissioners to Republicans only. 42,000 qualified Flagler voters are shut out. Deadline to re-register Republican to vote in this primary is July 28, 2014. SC

    • BW says:


      The truth is that the candidates you all put up are meant to be puppets for the group to gain control in the area. These are not people who have any real knowledge about the area, the way things work, the real issues, or have any real plan.

      1. You have a vet that doesn’t even understand local ad valorem taxes and how they work.

      2. You have a mom homeschooler who simply mimics the same issues but has no plan, can’t support anything, and refuses to be honest about who actually funded the lawsuit she waged against John in the 2012 Sheriff race when she cited “party pruity” (will “Palm Coaster Purity” be an issue for her).

      2. You have a local gun business owner who actually is advocating for increasing local government and spending by working with the local sheriff to hire more deputies, place them at intersections, and pay for that through traffic ticketing for running red lights. It doesn’t take a genius to know that requires maximizing ticketing, doesn’t address the problem, will cost taxpayers dearly, and will inevitably cause taxes to go up or motivation to ticket unethically.

      None have any real plan to address jobs either. Richter and Schaffer have no plan at all nor can speak to plan. And Nobile suggests we spend tax dollars to do what the County is already doing which is not working for them either.

      What you all should be doing is working with the local Republicans instead of fighting against your own party because you want control. You are simply destroying the credibility of your party. Bring solutions rather than simply wanting control and if you don’t want to work with the good local republicans we have then get out and have the guts to form your own party.

      • Genie says:

        Lots of smearing of candidates going on here. Local business people willing to come forward to represent us more honestly are puppets? That’s a new one!

        Truthfully, the local Republican party here supports the crooks currently in office. They are much more interested in trashing each other than doing anything to stop the local corruption.

        I can’t support that. So I will be voting for ANYBODY BUT the incumbents.

  27. tulip says:

    In response to B Hamby reply to S Epley:

    A good standard for a candidate is one who is knowledgeable, checks out ALL the facts pros and con before making a decision and doesn’t succumb to outside pressure. A good candidate is NOT a member or associated with a group that bullies other people by pushing them, as happened in last election.NOT someone who thinks it’s perfectly ethical to close off races, denying hundreds of voters the right to vote in those particular races. NOT someone who better cater to the wishes of the RR group when considering a decision, or face being spoken to in a derogatory manner and who knows what else.

    These people complain about their rights, yet want total control. I thank Samantha for posting the RR candidate names, there was one on there I didn’t know about. That person will not get my vote either.

  28. Genie says:

    Sherry Epley & Samantha, I find myself agreeing with these comments:

    If you don’t believe In electing candidates for local office who believe in:
    – Respect for the Constitution
    – Respect for Life
    – Limited Government
    – Individual Responsibility
    would please share with the rest of us your standards for local candidates?

    Please, share with us. What do you want for Flagler County? More of the same? I can’t believe that. Give us something useful we can all take to the polls. We may not agree on them all, but surely we can find some common ground here?

    I don’t think asking for honest, accountable candidates is asking too much, no matter where they are coming from. I think it is time that the land deals in Flagler benefited us all, not not just the elite few landowners. Maybe these “deals” need to go on the ballot?

    How many more empty Town Centers do you want to see? How many more increases in your water rates in order to make up the difference for land deals gone bad?

    Seriously, where do you stand?

  29. Anonymous says:

    So a good candidate is not a member of any local political party, is that correct, Tulip?

    A good candidate does not cater, unlike our current elected officials, right, Tulip?

    I am seeing many attacks here, some coming from members of the Republican Executive Committee. Very interesting…wonder why? Aren’t you all Republicans?

  30. confidential says:

    I agree than fighting among partisan issues does not help us, we need to unite and asses who will be the candidate to represent us best. Looks what is happening in Bunnell now the city is about to go bankrupt…why? thanks to the lies of the county manager Coffey and all the FC Commissioners when they promised that the taxpayers will not pay for the purchase of the Mori Hosseini useless Plantation Bay utility that the users will and now read:
    “Reilly said some of the debt stems from the city’s purchase of the Plantation Bay water system in conjunction with Flagler County and the creation of a solid waste department.”
    What is the solution proposed in today’s Taj Mahal meeting at 7 PM for Bunnel? …”to raise taxes in for the Bunnell residents to confront the shortfall”
    Lets see the rest of the Flagler County residents also paying already for this wasteful purchase to benefit the developer. Fed needs to be called here too much lying and frivolous spending of hard to come by taxpayers funds!

  31. Bob Hamby says:

    to Samantha Clair (Ed F?), Sherry Epley, and BW
    Like I said earlier if you don’t like these values of the RRRA Flagler & Frederick Douglas Republicans:
    – Respect for the Constitution
    – Respect for Life
    – Limited Government
    – Individual Responsibility
    please share with us all what’s wrong with these values for local candidates and what are your standards. Since those are our values I will continue to proclaim them whenever untruths appear about our plans and values.

    Also I believe the NPA candidates closed the Republican primary for the County Commission candidates. Why don’t you ask them why they closed the primary and ask the Flagler Democrat Party why they have no candidates. Could it be they planned to support some of those already running.

    Holding elected officials accountable for their actions is not control of these officials. It is the duty of all citizens who wish to maintain a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. What type of government do you 3 want?

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Bob, I see you have been given the four Talking Points you are going to hang your hat on. They are good ones, nobody could argue with that. I’m sure they were tested to death by the best PoliSci shrinks Koch money could buy. I also see that you are showing the textbook Republican respect for the intelligence of the American voting public by repeating them enough times on just this page that PT Barnum would have blushed. And then you innocently asked what could possibly be wrong with these values. You Coquette you. Well, I’ll be your Huckleberry. I’ll bite. Here is the only thing wrong with those beautiful words and concepts:

      YOU DON’T BELIEVE A DAMN WORD OF THEM!!!! Not a one. And you know it.

      Coming from the mouth of you, your party, your Corporate masters who pay you and fund you, these honorable words reek of cynicism. Instead of outlining the guiding principles of your movement your proven deeds show they are merely the latest poll-tested sales pitch to suck in the rubes. Because you have proven this is not how you govern. You have shown us this time and time again.
      You spout these jingoism’s before every election to your scared and trusting electorate because it makes them feel all warm and fuzzy. So Patriotic. But after their vote you allow your Wall Street, International Banker and war profiteer bosses to fleece them without mercy. Any way they can think of. And they have about bled them dry. So they are even more scared, and you tighten your grasp.

      So let’s look at your 4 points and how you displayed them the last time you had Executive power:
      1.- Respect for the Constitution. Where to start? The beginning. Fact: George W. Bush was appointed to the Presidency by a Republican majority on the supreme court after he lost the 2000 election in Florida. And re-elected by crooked Diebold machines in Ohio in ’04. He pushed through the Patriot Act which gutted the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th. Guantanamo, Abu Grahb, using federal prosecutors as partisan hatchet men, (Gov. Don Siegelman) Illegal wars, Cheney’s secret energy policy, and on and on and on….
      2.- Respect for Life.- Let’s just look at the half-million dead Iraqis and the 4500 dead American soldiers and I’m thinking we can scratch this one from the list.
      3.– Limited Government.- Again, he created the Dep’t of Homeland Security, expanded the CIA, NSA, hired tens of thousands of private security contractors, increases the Government payroll by more than any President since Eisenhower and made it Business as Usual to spy on the American People. Limited my ass.
      4- Individual Responsibility. All I got to say is you bounce a check to Rent-A-Center, you’re ass is going to jail. Bankrupt your Bank, ruin the entire economy by illegal acts, launder drug money, defraud the Pentagon, lie to congress, then “Hey, shit happens.

      In summary, Republicans=Lying Scum.
      Ronald Regan Republican=Lying Scum wrapped in the fuzzy memory of a B movie actor with Alzheimers who wasn’t much even when he had all his faculties.

      And I bet I don’t have to repeat this twenty times to get people to remember it .

      • Steve Wolfe says:


        You are rather inaccurate yourself. We are a local chapter, and a self-funding group of concerned citizens who have vetted the values we espouse. It’s not the Bush Assembly for a reason, so you can take all those political talking points to another discussion. Reagan was an honorable president who is arguably the most successful in his post in our lifetime. If our economy was rocking right now the way it was under Reagan’s policies, you might be too busy making money yourself to worry about all this.

        When the United States is powerful and strong, the world complains, but when the United States is weak, the world suffers. It’s fine to bash policies that weaken America. I’m right there with you. Conservatives and Libertarians spoke out against many Bush policies. He doesn’t go down in many books as a Conservative President. But you and I are in this fight together. Terrorist bombs don’t discriminate. The economy doesn’t, either. Currently, our own government attacks us more than our national threats. We need to get our house in order according to the Constitution, and we have to start locally. We can’t coalesce around disagreements, so we should find what we agree on and put aside the nuance for later. Our principals are solid as you agreed. The execution of them is still performed by humans, which will always be flawed to some extent. But we have to govern humans by humans in the best way we can, which will always require scrutiny at all levels. There’s too much side-tracking going on here over the past. We have a future to take care of. Let’s learn from the mistakes (everyone’s) of the past so we can assure our future. Your constructive criticism is always welcome, but we won’t be hampered by mere rhetoric. We wear cowboy boots for that.

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