49. Internet newspaper barred from GOP dinner in Daytona

Top 100 Local Stories of 2014 in Central Florida / Headline Surfer®
Headline Surfer® videos /
The internet newspaper i relegated to the public sidewalk after being banned from the Volusia County GOP Lincoln Dinner in September, per order of Republican Chairman Tony Ledbetter. In the second video, Ledbetter is shown tauntingly waving to the Headlineurfer.com video camera. Below is a poster of the event. More videos below.

Voluia County GOP Lincoln Dinner Poster / Headline Surfer®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.

Headline Surfer® videos / 
The internet newspaper is barred from entering the Lincoln Dinner. In the second video, County Chair Jason Davis says there's nothing he can do about the situation.

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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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 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.