98. Ex-Flagler Ave kingpin Robert Lott serves as bouncer as taps flow for Rotary fundraiser

Top 100 Local Stories of 2014 / Headline Surfer®
Boozefest at Rotary fundraiser in NSB / Headline Surfer®Robert Lott boozes it up at Rotary fundraiser in New Smyrna Beach / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® photos /
Robert Lott, former Flagler Avenue kingpin who owned the Observer newspaper, was president of the Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce and on the Southeast Volusia Hospital Authority before declaring bankruptcy two years ago, sucks down a beer while manning the door at the Brannon Center Aug. 28, for New Smyrna and Edgewater Rotarians holding a fundraiser where alcohol was an even bigger draw than the food.
 

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Robert Lott was still wearing the same ratty clothes, though he went out of his way to show off his new plastic shoes when the internet newspaper showed up to take photos in August of the "Cheeseburger in Paradise" fundraiser at the Brannon Center. 

The event was sponsored by the held by the Rotary clubs of New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater with the taps flowing. Many of Southeast Volusia's political and business insiders like New Smyrna Beach City Manager Pamela Brangaccio and City Attorney Frank Gummey were having a good ol' time.

And for the cost of the ticket, the couple hundred attendees made sure they got money's worth of the booze. And that's why Lott, the heavy, was manning the door, to make sure nobody was getting inside.

The tap were flowing at the Brannon Center Aug. 28 for a Rotary fundraiser at the Brannon Center in NSB / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® photo /
The beer taps were flowing at the Brannon Center in New Smyrna Beach on Aug. 28, for an annual Rotary fundraiser. as shown here with partying that featured gourmet cheeseburgers and plenty of kegs of beer and mixed drinks, catering to the more affluent crowd from Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach, many of them political and business insiders like developer-attorney Glenn Storch.
 

And what better representation for the partying Rotarians than Robert "Bob" Lott, former kingpin of Flagler Avenue and ex-owner of the Observer weekly newspaper until he and his wife, Michele, sought bankruptcy protection two years ago when they lost the newspaper, their Edgewater home to foreclosure and their used cars.

And though Headline Surfer® was incited by the Rotarians to stop in and take pictures, Lott saw to it that the internet newspaper wasn't getting in.

And for Lott, this was his big opportunity as he saw it -- for pay back for several years of adverse news coverage of his financial consulting business being lost as well as his personal fortune and standing on Flagler Avenue.

Former Flagler Avenue kingpin Robert Lott at a New Smyrna Beach City Commission meeting / Headline Surfer®And though Headline Surfer® was incited by the Rotarians to stop in and take pictures, Robert Lott , shown here at right in a 2011 image, saw to it that the internet newspaper wasn't getting into the  Aug. 28 fundraiser to take photos.

And for Lott, this was his big opportunity a second year in a row as he saw it -- for pay back for several years of adverse news coverage of his financial consulting business being going down the tubes as well as his personal fortune and standing on Flagler Avenue, culminating in bankruptcy two years ago.

Headline Surfer® was there for the Aug. 28 event to take photos and even promoted it with an advance story as a community service, but Rotary officials were too thin-skinned to stand up to Lott's bullying at the door.

And so the internet newspaper didn't press the issue as it had done the previous year when it did a feature story on the event which raises funding for local children's programs, before Lott got involved and personally interceded, embarrassing several of the attendees and himself in the process.

The internet newspaper had no intention of drinking, but Lott needed something to feel in-charge over and asserted his manhood demanding $75 or no passage.

Of course, when asked to show that he, too, paid, Lott was suddenly speechless, beer in one hand, ticket stubs in the other. 

Lott, however, wanted to impress upon the internet newspaper that he wasn't penniless, lifting the same light gray ratty pants he's worn over and over to make sure the internet newspaper saw his new plastic Kmart shoes.

Bob Lott and Jack Grasty converse at Rotary fundraiser in 2013 / Headline Surfer®

Robert Lott is shown in 2013 speaking with then-New Smyrna Beach Commissioner Jack Grasty at the Rotary fundraiser at the Brannon Center and Lott is shown in a Headline Surfer® video checking the Riverside Park to see if the internet newspaper was still on the premises, which is public property.  The internet newspaper had no intention of drinking when  it showed up to cover the event in 2013 and again in 2014, but Lott needed something to feel in-charge over and asserted his manhood demanding $75 or no passage. Of course, when asked to show that he, too, paid, Lott was suddenly speechless, beer in one hand, ticket stubs in the other. Lott, however, wanted to impress upon the internet newspaper that he wasn't penniless, lifting the same light gray ratty pants he's worn over and over to make sure the internet newspaper saw his new plastic Kmart shoes. 

 
2013 coverage of the NSB/Edgewater fundraiser was far more positive without interference from Robert Lott / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® graphic /
The snapshot of the coverage of the 2013 Rotary 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' fundraiser for children's programs was far more positive where the internet newspaper was allowed to report the news without the interference and bullying of Robert Lott until he saw the interviewing and created a fuss.
 

Headline Surfer® didn't take his bait of getting into a verbal confrontation with him and left to avoid causing a scene.

Though New Smyrna Beach has a misdemeanor law against public drinking, neither Lott nor anyone else at the entranceway to the Brannon Center stopped the guests from bringing the booze outside with them to the docks at Riverside Park despite the city's open-container law.

And despite the presence of the city manager manager, city attorney and other officials like Commissioner Judy Reiker and her husband, Guy Mariande, there was no police patrol presence or even private police detail hired, despite the flow of alcohol inside the municipal-owned Brannon Center.

Nor was there any police presence outside the Brannon Center despite the flagrant violating of the city's open container law, a situation that has been a problem for years on Flagler Avenue where taxpayer-funded CRA and Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority bed tax monies have been spent on alcohol-fueled street parties like New Year's and Cinco de Mayo.

The latter party culminated in a deadly DUI crash in 2013, that resulted in an overturned vehicle and killing of a 32-year-old Port Orange woman on the South Causeway.

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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 for a decade now. 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 dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.