DeLand Florida -
High Taxes, High Crime, Crony Capitalism, Corruption 

Staff & Commissioners Work for Themselves -  Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Welcome to DeLand Florida - 

Home for the Homeless and a City that does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT IT. This photo was taken April '16 at the abandoned KMart on International Speedway. 

The Brain Drain is On - DeLand has few industries, teachers doing their best and being insulted with low salaries, and a Brain Drain reported by the News-Journal

DeLand is now a city divided between the Power Mongers, the Haves and the Have Nots..... Play their Game and Win!

     ONCE UPON A TIME in DeLand.... It was once a quiet safe community, city hall staff dedicated to improving the quality of life for all. That's no longer true. When the economy began to sour in 2007 did city staff and commissioners turn inward to feather their nests. 

     As an attorney in the county and fifth generation Floridian, I've watched in dismay as new people run for office and are rebuffed, lied about, then quit. City Hall and City Commissioners control the newspapers, the Beacon and the News-Journal. Free speech is denied; the truth blanketed over.

     Crony Capitalism is rampant in DeLand. If we signed this statement these people would attempt to destroy our livelihood as they have done to other law-abiding citizens. They've run off good people from city positions, from those wanting to start businesses. They've attempted to destroy with raw viciousness anyone disagreeing with them. 

     These Crony Capitalists will not win. It may take years to return this town to the way it was prior to their take-over. But we will wait, we will watch, and we will work for truth and justice. After all, a House of Cards ultimately collapses.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, 
give him power.” Abraham Lincoln
michael pleus deland city manager

Michael Pleus, Manager

  • Held dinner to intimidate underlings by telling them new people running for  office may fire them."  Reported to Scott Price, by employee, 7.14
  • Illegal real estate deal; purchased mayor's house not arms length transaction; records sealed from public scrutiny; discovered too late for investigation and punishment
matt adair code enforcer deland

He just got a RAISE - to STETSON UNIVERSITY. Matt Adair, Code and Building - Ex-Marine runs department like the military

  • Election day intimidated 

resident who supported cleaning house from top to bottom. Reported by Maggi Hall, 8.14

  • Refused to stop sexual harassment; several employees quit
  • Determined to keep power buddies in office; put

    "Vote for my good friend Bob Apgar" on his website; conflict of interest

  • Orchestrated illegal raid on ARK costing taxpayers over $20,000; details on Killing Animals page
  • The new man on the job was his underling and "hit man."  

Mayor Gets Orders from 
Pleus & Lawyer Elkind
then tells "Puppet Commissioners" How to Vote so states former City Council member Scott Price 

Bob Apgar, Mayor 

  • Fired as attorney for Consolidated Tomoka Land Company in Daytona; refused to get another job. "At 63, the mayor said he...doesn't want to drive to Orlando to work for a large law firm, or establish a law practice in DeLand from scratch." Beacon, 12.09 
  • Short sells Million Dollar House in Victoria Park leaving lender loss of over $400,000; the mortgage was so blurry that it was sealed from the public and an attorney had to get a court order to unseal it; a real estate attorney, mortgage broker, and title company said it looked questionable, 4.14
  • Friend of Big Developers. Railroaded through environmentally damaging Arvida project. Brags DeLand leads county in residential building permits. Wound up owning property there (interesting). Voted $750.000 in tax breaks to Gallery of Homes. Owner, Bob Fitzgibbons, then gave Apgar  sizable donation for his campaign. Wonder why.
  • Mayor since 2001; commissioner 13 years; 26 years in power now another 4! 
  • NOT ENDORSED BY HIS PARTY; "DeLand needs to increase revenue," he proclaimed meaning HIGHER TAXES to Republicans. News-Journal, Tom Coriale, 8.9.14
  • City Hall and Volusia East Side WANT BOB TO STAY IN OFFICE; Why? 
  • Over 60% of campaign donations for '14 race came from people living outside voting area including Daytona millionaires donated. Why?
  • Apgar's buddy, News-Journal editor, Pat Rice, destroys Apgar's opponent, Pat Johnson, with lies, innuendos, half truths. The paper receives millions in advertisement from Apgar's millionaire "friends" on the east side and thousands from MainStreet DeLand
  • Apgar's buddy, Rice, had to give out the last hit in an ugly campaign by Apgar and his wife and the Paivas; the longest editorial in the News Urinal (now our nickname) berates Apgar's opponent and justifes the half-truths and treatment of Johnson; more proof the media supports Apgar
  • His buddy, Barb Shepherd, owner of the Beacon, continued the fight to down his opponent, Pat Johnson. Shepherd gets tens of thousands of dollars from the city for various "reasons" even using CRA money for her personal gain.
  • Obstructs Free Speech. Cronies had two Facebook pages against him and city politics shut down
  • Takes credit for what local businesses and Stetson achieve
  • Salary - $16,262 + travel expenses + $17,873 in membership fees; ad
  • Upper middle and upper class want Apgar to have power to rubberstamp Pleus and Elkind. What's in it for them?
  • The Apgars are close friends with Charles Paiva's parents.  Teresa (L) and Paiva's mom put up Apgar signs. It is interesting to note that when signs were put up for the opposing candidate they disappeared within a day or to. Surely those women weren't stealing Pat Johnson for Mayor signs?

    darren elkind deland attorney

    Darren Elkind, Lawyer

    • He and upper staff control commissioners;  
    attend meetings, watch the rubberstamping
    • Lied repeatedly in court regarding illegal raid on ARK in an attempt to confiscate ARK's valuable real estate adjacent to city's bus station; details on Corruption Page. 

    Bill Ridgeway, Police Chief 

    • Crime has increased under his watch
    • Research underway regarding questionable real estate deals 
    • Crime rate higher  than state or nation; details under Crime & Racism

    Machiavellian Tactics Practiced  

     “Political power is everything. The end justifies the means. However unscrupulous, attain the upper hand even if that means deception, treachery, and lies. For the true Machiavellian, every action relates to this goal: all associations, all conversations, all

    friendships and activities are devoted to accomplishing this end.

         The old notions of chivalry and trust are dead. Enemies are defeated not by force but by…betrayal. Of catching an opponent off guard, of false promises and adroit dealing.

         The key to the system is information. Through spy networks and espionage, it is obtained at all costs and by any method.”   

          --Sir Anthony Parkhurst, Principall Navigations, 1589

    charles paiva deland city commissioner

    Charles Paiva,  

    Commissioner, up for re-election in 2 years

    • Accused of fondling student who told police he groped her...asked whether he could kiss her...said Paiva had habit of hugging her and grabbing her buttocks. Paiva said he hugged the girl that day but never touched her inappropriately and that they were alone together for less than a minute. School authorities suspended Paiva from coaching during the investigation. He later quit and said he would never again accept a coaching post at a school. The case was dropped as often happens when "resources" can silence. Orlando Sentinel, 8.23.06 
    • During 2014 campaign refused to remain neutral; placed signs in yard, stood on street corner with signs, lied about candidates opposing the Cronies 
    • Apgar's wife wrote News-Journal berating Republican Party for not endorsing her husband; Did she write that letter or their buddy Richard Paiva, Charles' father, a Democrat?  
    • Reported Paiva's father wrote threatening email to Scott Price, candidate for office

    Jessica Davis, Commissioner

    • Backed by staff, commissioners who were afraid of her opponent, Krystal Brown, whose former husband was vehicularly lynched by DeLand cops
    • Jessica's husband, Mario Davis, was convicted of armed robbery, is on probation for 10 years; yet commissioners put him on Economic Development Board
    • Close friend with Volusia Co Council Joyce Cusack who voted AGAINST hiring an outside attorney to investigate internal corruption; she received donations from the businessman indicted; Cusack was elected again and is thick with Josh Wagner, county commissioner who cannot be trusted. Corruption runs to the highest levels in Florida. 
    • Between Davis and Chum Cusack and the city commissioners and staff, DeLand is in trouble ethically. These people aim to control.

    Dale Arrington, Asst. City Manager

    • SHE RAN TO ORANGE CITY FOR AN INCREASED SALARY. Waiting to see what the new female will do - or not do....... 

    Kevin Lewis, Finance Director 
    • Emailed city staff 5.14 when public records were requested:
    • "We are not required, nor should we, prepare any type of ‘financial accounting of cost - to taxpayers.’ We should provide only specific documents requested.” 

    City Hall Staff and  Commissioners Lack Integrity  

    • Lobbyists not required to register
    • No policy on budgeting for reserves
    • No ethics policy
    • Manager runs city as opposed to elected officials directing manager
    • Mayor generally present at city hall but inaccessible to public
    • Don’t have balanced approach to government
    • Mayor and commissioners don’t take hands-on approach; rubberstamp staff
    • Manager and clerk only two directly report to commission; rarely available in offices; both received higher raises when they asked commission
    • Has the local newspapers in their back pockets
    • Many activities increasing financial liabilities aren’t approved by commissioners and/or never appear in commission minutes
    • Many excellent employees have quit without stating reasons
    • No historical preservation program
    • No environmental protection program
    • Makes it difficult for new businesses to get started
    • Attorney too powerful 
    • Friends with big developers, wealthy Daytona business people
    • Ignores City’s Mission Statement - "We are dedicated to work in partnership with out citizens to improve the quality of life for all."
    leigh matusick deland city commissioner

    Leigh Matusick, Commissioner 

    • Doesn't have own  opinions; rambles at meetings as if she understands topics then always votes with Apgar
    •  Her husband Bob is Stetson's head cop;  stated to professors cops are paramilitary; proud of cop and military awards; read on Opinion Page what Stetson professors said about the military presence on campus honoring 9/11
    • Like wife like husband as she supported the paramilitary raid on ARK

    Chris Cloudman, Commissioner

    •  Appointed to fill vacancy; declares will run in 2 yrs
    • Voting record will identify his character but hopefully we have a bright young man aboard; new blood and fresh ideas needed (Forget it no hope for him; he's working for his employer, Stetson, as proven with the only vote FOR a massive development which would directly have benefited Stetson. The other commissioners voted against it after 3 attorneys for the neighborhood, University Terrace, marched into city hall armed against the project. Of interest too is that one of the developers is a Stetson grad, Butch Paul, who was Stetson's Board Chair for years and is a major donor to Stetson AND partner with the city's attorney and henchman, Darren Elkind. 
    • Vice chair city's planning board
    • Associate director continuing education Stetson

    Crony Capitalism at work? Mark Shuttleworth, once Lake Helen's mayor but booted out, got this building for far less than its value. Taxpayers lost big. Look who he supported for the recent election. Coincidence?