County Chair Jason Davis: Troubled SEV ad authority exec. director & chair both resign posts on same day

SVAA scandal involves director & board chairman / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® photo /
At left is a snapshot of the top of a story in 2013 on a credit card scandal in the Sou5heast Vilusia Advertising Authority involving Executive Director Carl Watson and Board Chairman Tom Clapsaddle. The internet newspaper won a journalism award from the Florida Press Club in 2014 for its coverage of the scandal.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Carl Watson's tenure as executive director of the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority had been suspect from the very first day he on the job when he agreed to have lunch with the office manager paid for by the agency credit, even though he knew full well it was against the written bylaws of the agency.

It didn't end there. Two months later, Watson also bought lunch for the newly-appointed SVAA Board Chairman Tom Clapsaddle, after he sent an email to County Councilwoman Deb Denys while she was on the dais to provide dirt to nail Clapsaddle's predecessor, Palmer Wilson, so he could get the chairmanship. Which Clapsaddle was rewarded with after Denys led a 4-3 vote to dump Wilson, which was clearly politically motivated on her part in her bid for re-election in 2014.

Today, both Watson and Clapsaddle tendered their resignations, Volusia County Chair Jason Davis said in a brief phone call to Headline Surfer® just before 5:45 p.m. when he found out.

"They both resigned," Davis said. "Watson apparently has some kind of sickness from when he was in Texas and Clapsaddle said he had to resign to take care of his sick father and run his hotel and he couldn't do both plus be chair of the ad authority. That's all I was told."

Asked if this was continuation of the scandal that befell the SVAA in 2013 with the credit card and their roles in pushing out Wilson, Davis said he didn't think so, but added, "We don't need another scandal involving these two. Good riddance is all I can say. I'm just reporting the news to you as to what I heard. It was done during their (board) meeting today."

Neither Watson nor Clapsaddle could be reached for comment.

Watson's resignation is effective June 30 while Clapsaddle's is immediate.

Editor's Note: This story is being updated.

Henry Frederick Picture

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 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 nearly evenly 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 West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.