DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Voluia County Republican Party Chairman Tony Ledbetter barred Headline Surfer® from the GOP Lincoln Dinner at the Daytona Beach Resort & Conference Center in Daytona Beach on Sept. 19, even though the internet newspaper had an entry ticket paid for by then-Volusia County Council candidate Rich Gailey, whose candidacy was backed by the GOP.
Ledbetter did not give a reason why, but earlier in the day, HeadlineSurfer.com filed a criminal complaint affidavit with the office of State Attorney Ralph Joseph Larizza against County Councilwoman Deb Denys, alleging she lied under oath during a deposition with Jon Kaney Jr., the outside attorney and investigator hired by the County Council to investigate campaign contributions.
Denys was asked in the deposition if she had ever taken out or accepted in-kind bus bench advertising. Denys answered, "No -- never have."
But Headline Surfer® checked with the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections and the website showed he had accepted campaign contributions from 20/20 Media Inc.
TheState Attorney's Office dismissed the internet newspaper's complaint after Denys told the SAO she accepted "bus shelter advertising, adding "there is a difference," even as 20/20 Media's subtitle is "bus bench advertising."
Headline Surfer® had twice been invited previously by the GOP to its annual dinner, which is its main fundraiser for political campaigns. Gailey was already inside when Headline Surfer® arrived and was instructed by party elders that the ticket would not be honored.
Because Ledbetter himself refused to verify this directly to Headline Surfer® and a GOP official threatened to call the police, the internet newspaper called police right then and there and remained on the public sidewalk for their arrival.
A Daytona Beach cop and Gailey met Headline Surfer® on the sidewalk and explained that Ledbetter did not want the internet newspaper at the dinner. Gailey said there was nothing he could do and he returned to the dinner. Gailey lost to fellow Republican Fred Lowry in the non-partisan general election.
Later in the evening with the internet newspaper remaining on the sidewalk, Ledbetter waved to the video camera in a taunting manner while waiting with a small group of attendees at the entrance while one of them went to the nearby parking garage to get their car.
Later in the evening with the internet newspaper remaining on the sidewalk, GOP boss Tony Ledbetter waved to the video camera in a taunting manner while waiting with a small group of attendees at the entrance while one of them went to the nearby parking garage to get their car.
The Lincoln Dinner media ban comes in at No. 49 in the HeadlineSurfer.com countdown of the top 100 local stories of 2014.
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