County chair miffed that luxury hotel not revealed until after $20M secured for Daytona International Speedway project

Jason Davis / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer photo / Volusia County Chair Jason Davis, shown here on the dais, said he was surprised to learn an upscale boutique Marriott is part of One Daytona as shown in the illustration above. 
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer
 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Just weeks after the Volusia County Council approved $20 million in taxpayer funds for the "One Daytona" retail village across from Daytona International Speedway, County Chair Jason Davis was miffed to learn a luxury hotel was part of the project, but not revelead until after $20 million in funding was secured for the private venture.

An upscale boutique Marriott hotel is coming to One Daytona, the 190-acre development across from Daytona International Speedway that’s slated to open in two years.

Davis said he first learned of the hotel in a June 23 in a story published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal headlined, "Marriott expected to build upscale boutique hotel in One Daytona."

"I was stunned," Davis said, adding it gives him reason to pause regarding the 6-0 approval of the County Council $20 million in taxpayer revenues on April 3.

Davis, 52, was not present for that vote because he was home recovering from a heart attack.

Asked if he believed the hotel would gave changed the mindset of the council, he responded, "It might have." Then again, it might not have made a difference as Davis is the lone member of the County Council not to receive campaign contributions in this election cycle or the the last in 2012.

County Council members up for re-election in the upcoming elections are At-Large Councilwoman Joyce Cusack, opposed by term-limited District 5 Councilwoman Pat Northey and fellow challenger Webster Barnaby, a Deltona City Commissioner; District 1 Councilman Pat Patterson opposed by challengers Voloria Manning and Ronnie Mills; and District 3 Councilwoman Deb Denys opposed by challengers David Machuga and Justin Kennedy.

Cusack, Northey, Patterson and Denys have all received campaign contributions this election cycle from either Lesa France Kennedy, Mori Hosseini or Hyatt Brown. France Kennedy heads up International Speedway Corp., which owns Daytona International Speedway and 12 other tracks that are part of NASCAR, which the France family controls.

Hosseini, of ICI Homes, and Brown, of Brown ans Berown Insurance, are on the board of ISC with France Kennedy. And while she has a personal worth of $875 million, Brian France, her brother and CEO of NASCAR has a personal net worth of $1 billion as does her uncle, Jim France, vice chairman of NASCAR.

In the 2012 elections, recipients of campaign monies from either France Kennedy, Hosseini or Brown, included Josh Wagner, Doug Daniels as well as Patterson, Denys and Northey. Davis who won his seat in 2012, did not receive any Speedway funding.

Patterson and Denys are up for re-election in the 2014 elections because of re-districting. And Northey was term-limited in her seat, which is part of this election cycle, too. It is being contested by candidates Rich Gailey, Phil Giorno and Fred Lowry.

Davis said had be been able to attend the April 23 meeting, he would have voted for the $20 million for the Speedway request because he supports economic development.

However, Davis said he finds it hard to believe the Marriott wasn't known to the Speedway when France Kennedy and others lobbied in person for approval of $20 million from the County Council.

The county had to float a bond to come up with the initial funds for the Speedway's "One Daytona." An additional $20 million was approved by the Daytona City Commission. And the Florida Legislatute approved $90 million in subsidis for Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, the Florida Department of Trnsportation has given initial approval for $20 million for two new walkways over International Speedway Boulevard between the track and the retail village.

The county had to float a bond to come up with the initial funds for the Speedway's "One Daytona." An additional $20 million was approved by the Daytona City Commission. And the Florida Legislatute approved $90 million in subsidis for Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, the Florida Department of Trnsportation has given initial approval for $20 million for two new walkways over International Speedway Boulevard between the track and the retail village.

None of the other six county council members returned calls or email messages for comment on this story.

The County Council and City Commission saw intense personal lobbying at the April meeting for passage of $20 million from each layer of government for One Daytona" including the likes of Atlanta developer Jim Jacoby, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University President John Johnson and former Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey.

“It will make this a better place for all of us to live, work and play,” Ritchey told the county officials," adding, “This will be a linchpin project."

France Kennedy, the International Speedway Corp. CEO, sounded the right notes as well, saying in part, “I appreciate your leadership and vision for Volusia County.”

One of the biggest cheerleaders for the Speedway funding was none other than County Manager Jim Dinneen, who worked behind the scenes to make the financing work.

“I think that people who cut ribbons should also cut checks,” Dinneen said, insisting the use of taxpayer money wouldn't prove burdensome to future councils, even with the large debt, from $5 million in reservers and a bond to cover the balance of the $20 million. 

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.