Anyone ever buy a used car?
In fact, I didn’t own a “new” car until I was well in my 40’s – that means I bought my share of clunkers through the years. The problem is, I’m a sucker for a good salesman – they have me over the barrel, be it a Kirby vacuum or a ’79 Ford Torino, I’ll fall for a good pitch every time.
I’ve been fleeced more times than a Galway sheep.
For those who aren’t familiar, the Latin phrase – Caveat Emptor – which translates, “let the buyer beware,” is the principle that the purchaser is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a sale is made.
Truth be told, it was probably coined right after Julius Caesar drove away from some “buy here, pay here” lot on the outskirts of Rome and a wheel fell off his slightly used chariot.
It essentially means that if you don’t do your homework, or fail to perform the due diligence required to ensure the item you are buying is sound, then you have no recourse once you drive it off the lot.
‘As is’ means – It is what it is. Take it or leave it.
I guess it’s why some used car salesmen get such a bad rap. But the fact is, most people decide their own fate whenever they perceive a “good deal.” However, there are a few ‘pre-owned’ dealers who go out of their way to give the rest a bad name. Their bread-and-butter is feeding off the gullible and the foolish.
Like P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Some lawyers work much the same way.
On Monday evening, the Fraudulent Four of the DeBary City Council were once again openly complicit in City Attorney Kurt Ardaman’s increasingly obvious plan to stock the larders of every parasitic law firm in Central Florida as he recommended hiring not one, but two, high-end attorneys to defend a lawsuit filed by elected Mayor Clint Johnson.
To his credit, Mayor Johnson has decided that he’s not going to simply lay down and take this political buggering without a fight. Love him or hate him, you have to respect Johnson’s chutzpah in standing up for that which he feels is right and just.
After meeting in Executive Session – a fancy term meaning the council, attorney, and city manager met in private, you know, outside the prying eyes of the public – Kurt Ardaman shamelessly suggested Drew Smith (a second time winner of a trip to the public trough), and Orlando-based attorney Anthony Garganese, as the tag team of high-priced squawk-boxes who will represent the city.
Oh, did I mention that self-anointed Mayor Lita Handy-Peters and the boys also authorized Smith and Garganese to gorge at a rate of $190.00 taxpayer dollars per hour?
That’s right: $190.00 per hour. Each. No limit.
Interestingly, during the special session a citizen (someone who is obviously paying attention) had the cheek to question the council on the myriad of additional expenses Smith and Garganese will no doubt charge the city in addition to their exorbitant hourly fee, such as – court presentations, mileage, incidentals, copying, etc.
As usual, Ardaman answered on behalf of the citizen’s elected representatives and gave a half-assed explanation that the motion would also authorize the city to pay for what he described as other “standard expenses” incurred by the attorney’s which would, of course, be paid above and beyond the hourly rate.
These added costs were never mentioned during public discussions as transparency would require.
In other words, the city attorney and council members attempted to pull another fast one, but this time they got caught like the cheap sneak thieves they are by an astute taxpayer.
Now, in his own cowardly way, Ardaman attempted to insulate himself by suggesting to the public that the hapless Interim City Manager, Ron McLemore, actually assisted him in the selection process.
Perhaps that’s true.
However, anyone with a still-firing brain synapse understands that the spineless McLemore, and that rabble on the council, have essentially turned the city’s throttle over to Mr. Ardaman, and everyone else is just on a very expensive ride.
As usual, the events were almost too painful to watch.
Maestro Ardaman could be seen whispering direction regarding the conduct of the meeting to pseudo-mayor Lita Handy-Peters, who ham-handedly stumbled through the proceedings like some deranged lost child.
I suspect even Ron McLemore knew this doubling-down on expensive lawyers wouldn’t be an easy sell. He just sat there, awkwardly rocking and swaying in his swivel chair, no doubt pondering how his career hit the bottom of the porcelain bowl and trying to keep his supper down.
At one point, Handy-Peters looked even more confused than normal as she openly asked Ardaman if the council should hear public comments before voting on the issue.
Lita – You are out of your depth. You are unprepared. And it shows.
Stumbling and bumbling your way through an important public meeting does not inspire confidence – it exposes your base ineptitude – and the people of DeBary deserve better.
These self-aggrandizing rubes have lost all capacity for shame. And, more importantly, they have lost the ability to understand how shaken their frightened constituents feel now that they have lost faith in the sanctity of their vote.
The one constant at DeBary City Hall is that nothing changes.
These elected fools wade from one internal shit-storm to another, attempting in vain to distract each other from the fact they have lorded over the most colossal political train wreck in the known history of Volusia County.
Don’t they get it?
Rather than recognize that their hired leech of a city attorney has clearly taken control of the reins and is now running amok, openly showering those in his sub-species with public funds at a rate not seen in the history of municipal fleecing’s, the remaining “elected officials” who haven’t yet been cannibalized stand idle, paralyzed by their own fear and dumbness.
Is that rude? I hope to hell it is.
Because at the end of the day, the role of the cursed citizens of the City of DeBary is limited exclusively to paying the massive bills these arrogant shit-heels continue to accumulate.
Public involvement and legitimate oversight is anathema to this adulterated and utterly illegitimate form of “governance” they continue to foist on the good people of this long-suffering community.
The Fraudulent Four and their money-hungry pied piper, Kurt Ardaman – with the acquiescence of retired dingbat Ron McLemore, and the help of a few painfully corrupt senior staff members – will long be reviled as the architects of the most expensive screw-job ever perpetrated upon the City of DeBary’s unsuspecting citizenry.
And nobody will feel sorry for them.
Good luck, DeBarians.