Show Me the Money: New Smyrna Beach

Volusia County chair on suspended ad authority director: 'She'll be lucky to stay out of jail'

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Nicole CarniSVAA Director Nicole Carni breaks down in tears last fall after discussion of her $110,000 salary being reduced to $85,000 and yet again to $71,755.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Volusia County Chairman Frank Bruno didn't mince words this morning about the controversy swirling around suspended Southeast Volusia advertising Director Nicole Carni: "She'll be lucky to stay out of jail."

Asked if that meant Carni is under criminal investigation, Bruno said that is something being held close to the vest: "That isn't something I'm really going to get into, but let's just say it has been discussed."

Carni reiterated at mid-day to NSBNews.net that she has done nothing wrong.

Coming Today: NSB citizen watchdog Bob Tolley files new ethics complaints against mayor

NSB citizen watchdog Bob TolleyHeadline Surfer photos by Henry Frederick / Bob Tolley, shown at left at a New Smyrna Beach City Commission meeting, is a critic of Mayor Adam Barringer,  shown below.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Citizen watchdog Bob Tolley has filed a new round of ethics complaints with the state against Mayor Adam Barringer for his verbal tirade on a New Smyrna Beach cop who wouldn't let him cut through a barricaded side street before the city's Christmas parade.

To date, Tolley has filed four separate ethics complaints against city officials, beginning with the municipality's "private" retirement party back in November for former City Commissioner Jim Hathaway with up-front costs paid for with a city credit card. The retirement dinner was held at Barringer's beachside wine restaurant, SoNapa Grille.

But it's the treatment of the cop, Ralph Hunnefeld, a combat-tested veteran of the Iraq War, whom the mayor called a "pr-ck" that has Tolley, himself a Vietnam vet, up in arms.

New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer / copyright Headline SurferNSB Mayor Adam Barringer'sa vehicle / Headline SurferAnd in a related story, New Smyrna Beach police have come under criticism for a series of traffic-related warnings the mayor has received with some questioning whether he is being given preferential treatment because of his status as the city's top elected official. Prior to becoming mayor in 2009, Barringer received several traffic-related citations, but only warnings since.

County attorney on friendship between fired SVAA director and assistant: 'one of the best witnesses against Mrs. Carni'

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Friends emailNicole Carni and sister commentKathy Woods BurrowsKathy Woods Burrows, shown in the inset photo, was Nicole Carni's assistant when they worked at the NSB Visitor's Center.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Fired Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority Director Nicole Carni and her trusted assistant, Kathy Woods Burrows, were best friends, sisters even. At least that's what people were led to believe.

New Smyrna Beach's LOOP advertisement used for private gain by former chamber president

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New Smyrna Beach marketing adRobert LottNEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The city's "NSB Waterfront Loop" marketing campaign, paid for by CRA-supported tax dollars, is being used for private gain by former Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce President Robert Lott, who, along with his wife, emerged from federal bankruptcy court earlier this month with his wife, having staved off hundreds of creditors. 

Bankruptcy benefactor Robert Lott campaigns for County Council candidate Jim Hathaway

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New Smyrna Beach City Commissioner Jim Hathaway, at far left, has a new supporter in his campaign for Volusia County Council: Former Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce President Robert Lott, who, along with his wife, received bankruptcy protection, having owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to creditors.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Longtime City Commissioner Jim Hathaway and Robert Lott were polar opposites when it came to approval for the $16 million Hampton Inn.

Lotts seek bankruptcy protection from NSB beachside hotel developers who advanced them $46,000 for marketing in now-defunct Observer

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Four years ago, a series of city commission meetings led by then-Mayor Sally Mackay, were heavily attended by merchants and chamber leaders on the beachside's Flagler Avenue who lobbied for special zoning that would pave the way for a new hotel: The $16 million Hampton Inn & Suites.

Those rallying cries were led by Steve Dennis, then-Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce director and CRA commission member, and Robert Wayne Lott, the president-elect of the chamber, a member of the Southeast Volusia hospital board taxing district and purchaser of the weekly Observer newspaper with his wife, Michele Lott.

CRA funds put to good use: Clancy's Mid-Town Dogs newest eatery in New Smyrna Beach

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Steve Clancy, owner of Clancy's Mid-Town DogsPhotos for NSBNews.net / Steve Clancy stands tall in front of his new Clancy's Mid-Town Dogs, 440 N. Dixie Freeway (US 1), a classic example of how CRA taxpayer monies used for "bricks and mortar" can markedly improve  a community's appearance and vitality.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- What used to be a used car lot on US 1 has been transformed to a brand new eatery: Welcome to Clancy's Mid-Town Dogs.

With $19,500 in matching CRA renovation grants, business owner Steve Clancy has renovated the 500-square-foot building into a walk-up restaurant with landscaped, outdoor seating.

It's also an example of the "bricks and mortar" approach to dealing with blight, which the state Florida statutes intended CRA grants for as opposed to the after hours alcohol-themed street festivals that cater to bars.

Tony Otte tells News-Journal: 'This is a very exciting time for the city of New Smyrna Beach'

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Tony OtteNEW SMYRNA BEACH -- As director of the city's CRA and its economic development director, Tony Otte has his pulse on what's happening in New Smyrna Beach, and in his world it's all wonderful, especially with the NSB Waterfront Loop campaign.

Or so says today's Sunday edition of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, with a story headlined: "Getting the job done: Tony Otte, New Smyrna Beach redevelopment chief."

There's no mention in the story of the impending close of Kmart on State Road 44 or that of the Food Lion on the beachside. And who credits Otte with "Getting the Job Done?"

Is it Mayor Adam Barringer? No, the News-Journal couldn't even get him Friday night for its Saturday story on the Food Lion.

Is it Commissioner and County Council candidate Jim Hathaway? No. He too, has been invisible to the media.

New Smyrna Beach CRA among 1,600-plus special taxing districts in Florida ordered scrutinized by Gov. Scott

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NEW SMRNA BEACH -- The oft-criticized CRA here is among 1,662 special taxing districts in the Sunshine State under review by Gov. Rick Scott today.

Scott ordered his staff to undertake a comprehensive review of Florida’s special taxing districts to continue bringing "accountability to their powers to tax, spend and incur debt at the expense of Florida taxpayers."

The Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget will conduct a review and make recommendations for cutting costs and introducing accountability as directed by Executive Order 12-10. Scott previously directed a review of all water management districts and hospital districts – two examples of special taxing districts.

“A major factor in our goal of lowering the cost of living for Floridians are the roughly 1,600 special districts in Florida which bring in more than $15 billion in taxpayer-funded revenues each year,” Scott said.

New Smyrna Beach CRA does business with merchant leader who has $1 million IRS lien

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NSBNews.net videos produced by Multimedia Editor Sera Frederick / Elaine Stathakis identifies herself as a "business owner" in the video to the left at a public meeting last year on the Hampton Inn project. In the second video, she tries to conceal her face from the camera while a resident asks city officials about curbing public drinking following the "Creepy Crawl" Halloween events put on by the Merchants of Flagler Hospitality Group chaired by Stathakis. 

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- When Elaine Stathakis took to the podium at a city commission meeting last year to talk about the importance of approving the beachside hotel on Flagler Avenue, she identified herself as a business owner. But Stathakis conveniently left out one little detail: She owes the IRS more than a million bucks.

To top it off, not only does she not own a business, she doesn't even have a job. Instead, she "volunteers" at the Om Bar, said Mark Leone, the actual owner.

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