In an email to Brevard County Clerk of Courts Rachel Sadoff, District 2 County Commissioner Bryan Lober asks for her office to recuse themselves from conducting an audit into his spending spree. At the last County Commission meeting, the Commission voted to audit Lober’s spending after his history of spending was leaked in a public records request. In his email, Lober claims that the Comptroller lacks the experience necessary for “conducting this sort of audit.” The sort of audit he is referring to is the audit of his office’s use of their purchasing credit card. It is literally within the Comptroller’s office job description.
Lober goes on with a slew of reasons he believes he won’t be treated fairly in such a routine audit, calling into question the integrity of the Clerk of Courts. It should be noted that Lover voted in favor of the Clerk’s office conducting the audit when the motion was made. He did not mention any objections to it at the time.
One bizarre reason is because Rachel Sadoff officiated the wedding of Commissioner Chair Kristine Zonka. He then proceeded to post photos of them from social media, and a copy of Zonka’s marriage license.
He then brought up former and highly respected Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis who in the past was very critical of Lober’s questionable spending, mentioning that Ellis worked with Sadoff “for decades.”
Lober’s wife is also staff counsel for the Clerk’s office, which Lober also states as a reason for the Clerk’s office not to conduct the audit. In contrast however, Lober has never recused himself from voting on the budget for the Clerk’s office which directly pays his wife’s salary, or in participating in the lawsuit the Clerk’s office filed against the County Commission. He is completely fine with the appearance of sharing a bed with the opposing counsel of a lawsuit against him.
Scott Ellis responded to Lober’s accusations in an email.
It is ironic that Lober is requesting to spend a significant amount of tax-payer’s money to have an external, private agency conduct an audit into his spending.
Since the article came out about his spending of the Federal CARES funds, he has written an op-ed to Florida Today, and had others write op-eds to Space Coast Daily (which they ran multiple times a day) on his behalf to try and cover himself. It has been stated that some of the equipment listed in the purchases may be located at Lober’s home. Lober also pays Space Coast Daily for advertising his campaign.
In the last Commission meeting, Joseph Cholewa, a conservative Republican running against Lober brought up Lober’s spending spree during public comment. Lober immediately went into attack mode, berating Cholewa for mentioning the subject having not spoken at a meeting in the past, questioning his motives. Chair Zonka pointed out that Lober was the one to bring up Cholewa being a candidate for the position; Cholewa never mentioned politics at all. He simply emphasized that the County needed to be more transparent.
Lober states that “whether the audit comes back good or bad, there is ample reason for the public to question it.” Lober never specifies how an audit of credit card purchases can come back as impartial or unfair, but he seems to be going above and beyond to paint that picture before it has even begun. Some have stated that since Lober wants an external audit to be conducted that it should probably be handled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, given the circumstances.
Lober’s entire email can be seen below.