DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The four-member voting bloc on the Volusia County Council -- Doug Daniels, Deb Denys, Pat Patterson and Pat Northey -- dubbed the "Gang of Four," didn't listen to the county attorney who advised them they did not have the subpoena power to go after political foes under the so-called Waverly investigation.
And on Monday, Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano issuerd that very ruling. And now they are going to cost the taxpayers far greater than the $150,000 already approved for theiur outside counsel, Jonathan Kaney Jr.
In fact, the cost to the taxpayers could more than double and possibly even triple that amount.
Nobody was more pleased with the ruling by Circuit Judhe Raul Zambrano's ruling Monday than attorney and 2012 county chair primary candidate Ted Doran, the defendant in the court case for refusing to answer Kaney's subpoena, who told Headline Surfer®, "The ruling exposes a scheme to use taxpayer funds for personal political agendas. Everyone who had a hand in this should be held accountable."
Doran added, "No offense by public officials is worse than a breach of the public trust. The council members -- Daniels, Denys, Patterson and Northey -- who plotted to defame innocent people, for personal gain, should atone for these grave indiscretions."
Kaney did not respond to a message for comment.
And this was as political a scheme as there is -- with Councilman Doug Daniels of Ormond Beach in November 2013, pushing for an investigation to "lance the boil" that is Waverly Media for in-kind political campaign contributions, which was already under investigation by the State Attorney's Office and whose principals were under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for a series of high-end real estate beach home transactions.
But Daniels' push was so obviously politically motivated and financially suspect in bringing on board his former law partner, Kaney, to lead the effort. Supporting Daniels in the effort were council members Deb Denys of New Smyrna Beach, Pat Patterson of DeLand and lame-duck office holder Pat Northey of Deltona.
About two dozen candidates and others were subpoenaed by Kaney, though County Attorney Daniwl Eckert advised the entire seven-member council that granting subpoena powers to Kaney was illegal under the county charter. Daniels begged to differ and with the majority viting bloc, he was able to get Kaney in gear.
But two subpoened winesses refused to testify -- Doran, who ran for county chair in the 2012 election, and district 3 County Council candidate Justin Kennedy, who ran in 2012, and again in 2014.
The states were high and the political motivations obvious: Three of the Gang of Four were up for re-election or seeking another seat because of term limits in the 2014 election cycle:
• District 1 County Councilman Pat Patterson won the runoff over former Councilman Andy Kelly, who had accepted Waverly Media in-kin contributions for bus bench advertising in his run for Supervisor of Elections in 2012.
• District 3 County Councilwoman Deb Denys won the primary and re-election over candidates Justin Kennedy and David Machuga. Kennedy had accepted Waverly in-kind contributions in 2012 as did fellow Democrat Jim Hathaway who won the 2012 primary, but lost the runoff to Denys.
The GOP purposely left Machuga's name off the Repunblican Voter's Guide to benefit the incumbent, Denys, in the non-partisan election and Kennedy was widely criticized by Denys before a largely partisan GOP audience at a Daytona Beach News-Journal candidate debate moderated by the print newspaper's editor, Pat Rice, at the Brannon Center. At an earlier public candidate debate in the Oak Hill City Commission chambers sponsored by HeadlineSurfer.com and moderated by its publisher, Henry Frederick, Denys was a no-show.
• District 5 term-limited County Councilwoman Patricia Northey lost the November runoff to incumbent Joyce Cusack. Northey was a no-show at a public candidate debate before the preimary, sponsored by HeadlineSurfer.com.
Kaney did not return messages for comment. He told the News-Journal he disagreed with Zambrano, but said it would be up to the County Council whether to appeal Zambrano's ruling.
The State Attorney'd Office has already ruled the politicians who took in-kind advertising from Waverly did not commit a crime. And the dfederal case involving Waverly rel estate has nothing to do with politicians.