Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin. ethics commission

Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin. ethics commission
Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin. (© FlaglerLive)

For the second time in two months, the Florida Commission on Ethics has dismissed a complaint against Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin, this one alleging that he had voted on land use items that benefited him and Don “Toby” Tobin, a friend and Realtor colleague of Alfin’s at Grand Living Realty.

Melody Hadley, the Ethics Commission’s advocate, found no probable cause that Alfin had voted in any way to benefit himself or Tobin, and recommended following an investigation that the Commission find likewise. The Commission at its closed-door meeting Friday agreed, and disclosed its decision this afternoon.

Two months ago the commission found that another complaint against Alfin making a similar allegation, involving a different colleague, was legally insufficient to warrant so much as an investigation.

“It’s a shame that some people are willing to lie, quite frankly, and hurt others in an attempt to control our wonderful city,” Alfin said this afternoon, wearied by the successive complaints. He said he preferred residents and the council worked together to improve the city and its quality of life. “When anyone ever accuses you of something I always take that very seriously, and obviously there’s a financial burden you’re well aware of, which is my cross to bear.”

Alfin is a real estate broker associate at the firm. Tobin is a sales associate, and hosts a weekly infomercial on WNZF on which Alfin has made appearances. The complaint was filed by Candace Stevens, a resident of Point Pleasant Drive in Palm Coast who has appeared before the Palm Coast City Council to complain about flooding on the property, which she attributed to new construction nearby. She has been critical of the council’s response to the flooding issue, which is not part of her ethics complaint.

The complaint centers on an August 2022 City Council vote establishing the Landings Community Development District, on whose board Tobin then served. Alfin and Tobin had co-listed properties on five occasions before that, and before Alfin was mayor, but not since. Neither are shareholders at Grand Living, where Alfin has been “mostly inactive since becoming mayor,” according to Lindsay Dolamore, manager of Grand Living. Hadley found no connection between Alfin’s votes and any benefits to himself or to Tobin.

Stevens filed the complaint on Jan. 23–the same day that Darlene Shelley of Palm Coast’s Hidden Lakes subdivision had filed the earlier complaint that the commission found legally insufficient, and the same day that Jeremy Davis of Palm Coast’s P-Section filed a complaint against Council member Ed Danko that was also found legally insufficient.

The filings’ identical dates suggest that the complaints were a concerted effort by residents who have been critical of Alfin and Danko, both of whom are in the middle of election campaigns–Alfin for re-election, Danko for a County Commission seat.

It does not cost anything to file an ethics complaint. It can cost a lot to defend against one. Those who have complaints filed against them may seek to have their fees reimbursed. But it requires filing an action of their own through the Commission and meeting a high bar.

That’s just what Flagler County officials did several years ago after Kimberley Weeks, the former supervisor of elections (and now a felon) and Dennis McDonald had filed a series of frivolous complaints against them. But the county officials had to prove that the complaints were filed with malicious intent to defame the officials, and with reckless disregard for the truth. The county did so, and the Ethics Commission agreed. Even then, the fines incurred by Weeks and McDonalds went unpaid.

Alfin, who was represented by Mark Herron, the Tallahassee attorney, said he had no intention of taking that route even though “I knew from the beginning there was no merit. But there’s no satisfaction in that,” given the “waste of energy” battling the complaints entails. “I think that these kind of issues are best dealt with and looked at in the rearview mirror as we move forward and build the city together. I see no benefit in keeling this in front of the community, because I see no value in it for the community.”

The mayor commended the commission for its work. “They handled it well and were very thorough and I applaud them for their efforts,” he said. “There’s certainly a place for them to be a monitor of things that can happen in the political world.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Pam Richardson, Flagler County Commission District 5 Candidate: The Live Interview

Pam Richardson. (© FlaglerLive) Pam Richardson is one of two Republican candidates…

Las Vegas Man Charged With Killing Mother of His Children During Sex Assault

A Las Vegas man was indicted Thursday on charges that he killed…

Kelmscott, WA: Shocking stabbing attack leaves teen, 16, in an induced coma fighting for life

By Michael Pickering For Daily Mail Australia Published: 01:20 EDT, 20 July…

Arkansas Man Pleads Guilty to Drowning Girlfriend’s 5-Year-Old Son in Toilet for Biting Him

An Arkansas man charged with drowning his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son in a…