Accusations and illegal activity infiltrate water board election process

Postmaster involved when political flyers were found in mailboxes without postage.

Today, hundreds of residents in Holley by the Sea found flyers that were inside their mailboxes without postage. The full-color flyer was an introduction to Gaius Bruce in his re-election bid for then Holley Navarre Water System Board of Directors. Flyers were brought to the Navarre Post Office and Bruce promptly received a call from the postmaster. “I didn’t know my flyers where in

Flyer found in mailboxes

mailboxes until I received a call from the postmaster today,” said Bruce. Bruce thinks it may have been someone trying to help him, or hurt him. “I have been putting that flyer in newspaper boxes next to mailboxes but not in Holley by the Sea. I know better than flyers in mailboxes,” said Bruce. Bruce has not seen the flyer in question but when it was described to him, he said it was the flyer that he has been distributing, but not in mailboxes.

Gaius Bruce

The flyers contain HNWS trademarked logo.  Bruce said it was a picture of the banner in the board room, and his sister-in-law designed the flyer for him.  Fellow Holley-Navarre Water System board member, Ricki DeSantis states that he is “unaware of any vote or action by the board to allow any candidates to use the HNWS trademarked logo on advertising materials.”

The U.S. Code for crimes and criminal procedure prohibits the placement of unstamped flyers in any mailbox. Title 18, section 1725 states that any person who knowingly deposits “mail-able matter” without postage in an established letter box shall be subject to a fine.  The Government Accountability Office reports that fines may be as high as $5,000 per occurrence for individuals and $10,000 per occurrence for organizations.  This law is commonly known as the “mailbox restriction.”

Bruce said he told the postmaster he would be willing to pay the postage for the flyers that were in mailboxes if needed.

DeSantis Mailer

DeSantis Mailer

DeSantis paid to have a postcard designed and mailed which asks for proxies to be designated for his vote and is not happy that the fliers are being distributed illegally.  “This is just one more example of his and other Board members’ total disregard for rules and laws.   They just seem to make up whatever they want as they go along with no regard to HNWS By-Laws, Florida Statutes and now Federal Code,” said DeSantis. “Is this more of the same disregard for rules and laws by current HNWS Board Members in their effort to control the water board so they can add $14 million in debt to Fairpoint Regional Utility and HNWS by refinancing a loan, which was the starting point to the illegal (according to some) removal of a Board member in Nov 2017?” Desantis asked rhetorically.

When DeSantis was told that Bruce didn’t know that his flyers were in mailboxes he said, “Leaders accept responsibility and accountability for everything that has their name on it. I wouldn’t delegate blame.”

“Gaius Bruce has been caught saying that if Daryl Lynchard and Will Goulet are elected to the water board that the golf course will be shut down. That is patently untrue, a blatant lie,” said DeSantis. DeSantis expounded on the contributions that Goulet and Lynchard contributed to the Golf Course when they were on the water board.  “Will Goulet was instrumental to the HNWS purchasing the golf course and investing over $500,000 in improvements as Board President and Daryl Lynchard is on record supporting the golf course, “They were responsible for the improvements and amenities from the new golf carts to the magnificent greens that exist at the golf course today,” said DeSantis.  “Hopefully people will check off my name only on the blue proxies that were mailed out in the beginning of this week, so I can help assure the election of Daryl Lynchard and William Goulet to this board and finally put an end to actions such as this; and restore the trust of the members once again with the transparency and integrity I have demanded since being elected to this board last year,” said DeSantis.

Bruce was asked if he ever said that the golf course would be shut down and he said he has never said that. “What I did say was that if Will Goulet were elected he might try to put his brother TJ at the golf course again and that was not good for the golf course,” said Bruce. Bruce explained how Hidden Creek Golf Course was an asset not only to the water system but to the community. “If not for the golf course, we wouldn’t have had the spray field capacity we needed so that Navarre could grow,” said Bruce.

Ricki DeSantis

DeSantis is also concerned that if Mark Miller is elected to the water system board of directors, there will be three representatives of one real estate company, Century 21 Island View Realty, on the board.  “Gaius Bruce is married to the broker, Mark Miller is a Realtor with Century 21, and Robert Coley was a Realtor with Century 21 before he moved to Tennessee.  That is a lot of power within one small subset of the HNWS Membership,” says DeSantis.

Holley Navarre Water System board election is being held 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on January 16 at the Holley Navarre Water System. Prior to the election, proxies were mailed to all members of the water system. The proxies list the names of the board members, but not those that are running for election which include former board members Daryl Lynchard and Will Goulet which both served as president of the water system in the past.

DeSantis made reference to a website that was designed and put up by a member of the water system to have a centralized location for information about the current actions of the water system and it can be found at www.draintheholleynavarrewaterswamp.com.

“The website contains links to newspaper articles and legal documents that show how the Holley-Navarre Water System, Inc. was formed and information on the massive debt (approximately $10 million) that Robert Coley, Bien May, and Gaius Bruce, have already tried to impose on our membership,” said DeSantis.

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