“Red Flag” Re: Indian River County Short-Term Vacation Rental Advisory Committee?

county commissioners

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (IRC) with County Attorney Dylan Reingold, County Administrator Joe Baird and Ken Gonyo, after Mr. Gonyo received a proclamation – on behalf of the volunteers trained by the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory and the Pelican Island Audubon Society – in support of national invasive species awareness week, February 22 – 28, 2015.

On July 14, 2015 IRC County Commissioners approved an ordinance establishing a Short-Term Rental Advisory Committee for Indian River County to study short-term rental issues. However, it is not to concern itself with parking and events as those have already gone through the Planning and Zoning Committee and are due to be voted on, on 9/22/15.

Each Commissioner was allowed to select one appointee.

In August the Commissioners appointed their representatives.  Here is a listing of their selections.

Peter D. O’Bryan: C. Alan Curtis, retired research entomologist, Indian River County Mosquito District.

Tim Zork: Joel A. Molinari, Sr., State of Florida Certified Service Pool and Spa Contractor. (Although at a August 18, 2015 County Commissioners meeting Mr. Molanari spoke before the Commissioners and indicated he had “tenants” and Commissioner Davis indicated he had “rental property.”)

Bob Solari: Indian River County CPA Genn Heran.

Wesley Davis: Glen Powell, self-employed landlord in Roseland with four vacation homes and 14 annual unfinished rental homes.

Joseph E. Flesher: Joseph Paladin, Black Swan Consulting and Entitlements, LLC.

Additionally, the Commissioners appointed two members-at-large:

Angela Waldrup: Dale Sorensen Real Estate Rental Department Specialist.

Robert DeWaters: Retired dentist. Luxury Real Estate Professional Specializing in Barrier Island Properties.  Board member, South Beach Property Owners Association.

Mr. George Bryant was chosen as a alternate member-at-large specific to Mr. Dr. DeWaters.  He is also a board member of the South Beach Property Owners Association.

What’s interesting about Commissioner Flesher’s appointment of Joseph Paladin can be found by reading an article about Mr. Paladin on eyeonmiami.blogspot.com.  Here is the link – the article is way at the bottom.


In this article, on January 24, 2009, Ken Ward (ken.ward@scripps.com) wrote that:

“Is it such a stretch to consider that the interaction between some Indian River County commissioners and ex-con Joe Paladin — Joseph Knight, as he was known while building homes in the late 1980s in St. Lucie West — might not raise the same red flags?


This same image came up when we searched separately for Joseph Knight and Joseph Paladin

Paladin hasn’t exactly been a model citizen. Convicted of making false statements in his 1988 bankruptcy petition — a felony — he also served time for three counts of theft and was an FBI informant, providing the names of 146 suspected criminal associates.

Ironically, this political activist has not had his voting rights restored.

Why public officials would want to associate with such an individual — let alone give him credit or credence in policy decisions — is one of the mysteries of local politics.


Highlights of stories about Joe Paladin (aka Joe Knight) printed in 1989 and 1990 in the News or Tribune:


Jan. 14:  Joe Knight, president of RWS Development Corp., was named St. Lucie West’s 1988 Builder of the Year. He built in Country Club Estates and Heatherwood.

March 27: Paladin was charged with insurance fraud and grand theft after being stopped in a Porsche 911 with tags from a stolen vehicle.  Police said a ‘gold-plated .357 magnum Colt Python revolver with an 8-inch barrel’ had been reported stolen, but was found by authorities in his Indian River Drive home.

March 29: RWS Owner Robert Simpkins fired Paladin, who, it turns out, was just a project manager.


April 6: ‘Judge orders plea bargain to be sealed,’ which led to lawsuits to unseal files  by the Tribune and Miami Herald.

May 10: Judge partially releases records.

May 30: Headline: ‘Arrested builder agreed to help nail acquaintances.’ In a story: ‘The man is a con artist from the word go,’ Simpkins said.

June 23: Paladin was sentenced to 15-month prison terms, to run together, on state and federal charges. Questions were raised about his role as an FBI informant.”

Joe Knight, mug aka Joe Paladin aka Joe Palladino

A booking shot of Joe Knight, also known as Joe Paladin and Joe Palladino, circa 1989.

Are we being out-of line highlighting Mr. Knight’s, or Mr. Paladin’s, or Mr. Paladino’s past as far back as 1989?

On http://www.criminaljustice.com we found “10 ex-cons who have turned it around.”

  1. Charles Colson, former Special Counsel for President Nixon started Prison Fellowship after his release from prison to help prisoners restore a relationship with Christ.
  2. Martha Stuart, a business mogul and domestic diva went on to release a couple of books that helped her rebrand her name and reputation.
  3. Robert Downey, Jr. made a highly successful comeback, staring in several blockbuster hits.
  4. Michael Vick, who after his release from prison signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and made a successful comeback.
  5. Tim Allen, who turned his life around after prison, became one of America’s favorite comedic actors.
  6. Nicholas Richie, after he short stint in jail focused on her career as a fashion designer, author and mother of two.
  7. Christian Slater, after his release from jail made a successful comeback in television and film and turned his life around for the better.
  8. 50 Cent. Rap Superstar 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson, III) was determined to make something of himself and began rapping and his popularity surged with the release of his first album in 2000.
  9. Danny Trejo. Since his release from prison Trejo has gone on to star in several action films and television series.
  10. Marion Jones, a world famous Olympian was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice but made a sports comeback as a point guard for the WNBA Tulsa Shock.

You will find Mr. Knight, Mr. Paladin or Mr. Paladino always in the front row on camera all spiffed up at every County Commissioner’s meeting.

He lists his business as Black Swan Consulting and Entitlements, LLC but we have been unable to find any information about the nature of this business.

Why did Ken Ward refer to him as the sixth commissioner?

Another question.  The County Commissioners received three applications for Members-at-Large. Were they required to only appoint those people or could they have go out into the community to select others who might not be so closely aligned with the issue?

3 thoughts on ““Red Flag” Re: Indian River County Short-Term Vacation Rental Advisory Committee?

  1. I’ve hear Mr. Paladin brings with him to every commission meeting a document which, if released, would cause more than a little heart burn for at least on County Commissioner.

  2. Pingback: Who’s on First With Respect to the Sale of the Historic Vero Beach, FL Dodgertown Golf Course? | Vero Communiqué

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