Lober, Conflicts Of Interest, The Florida Today And ……Us?

(image courtesy of Florida Today.)

The FloridaToday newspaper decided to look into the idea that there might be a conflict of interest or impropriety in Commissioner Bryan Lober representing the husband of Commissioner Kristine Isnardi, Dave Isnardi, during the arraignment process following Dave Isnardi’s arrest on Friday.

Report Dave Berman even quoted us in the piece:

One of the reasons Lober gave for his short-term representation of Dave Isnardi is: “I just don’t want this to be a distraction to my career or to his (Dave Isnardi) wife’s career.”

The rationale was attacked on the website “Raised on Hoecakes,” which closely monitors Brevard politics. The blog pointed out that Kristine Isnardi backed Lober’s bid in the November election for the District 2 County Commission seat.

“Was Lober’s legal services repayment or a ‘thank you” for Commissioner Isnardi’s endorsement? Only the Isnardis and Lober know for sure,” the blog said.

“However,” it added, “that doubt in the mind of the public and the appearance of a conflict is something that could have been and should have been avoided by all parties.”

We want to clarify some things.

First, Lober, the paper, or both gets the length of the representation wrong according to Lober’s own filing:

When Lober took on the role after the arrest, he said he was planning to represent Isnardi only during the initial bond hearings, and would then hand off to another criminal attorney.

In keeping with his promise, Lober filed a motion Sunday, asking that Isnardi be released from the county jail on bond because Isnardi is scheduled to undergo surgery on June 3 for a back injury he suffered while serving in the Army.

We want to highlight the contents of the notice of appearance Lober filed on Friday, May 10, 2019.

COMES NOW, Bryan Andrew Lober and enters this Notice of Limited Appearance on behalf of Mr. Isnardi. Undersigned counsel’s appearance limited to representation of Mr. Isnardi at initial/first appearance in order to secure appropriate bond conditions. It is not undersigned counsel’s intention to continue representation of Mr. Isnardi past initial/first appearance scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 11, 2019. (bold in original, bold italics ours)

So when Lober says “he was planning to represent Isnardi only during the initial bond hearings, and would then hand off to another criminal attorney,” that’s not the truth. Despite stating that he would only represent Isnardi on Saturday, he actually continued to represent him at least through Sunday, and as there will be a hearing on his motion for bond, his representation at this point appears to be heading past Sunday.

We aren’t horologists (those who study time and calendars,) but we are pretty sure that Sunday is after Saturday.

Lober vehemently disagrees that there is any impropriety.

We are glad to hear that.

But that is not the issue. The issue is not actual impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety.

Other lawyers counseled Lober to not take the case for that very reason – the appearance of impropriety.

The fact that the issue of Lober’s representation was questioned by many in Brevard shows that the appearance of impropriety is very real.

Furthermore, while Lober says his representation of Isnardi is the right thing to do, so is avoiding the appearance of impropriety.

Lober said he is charging Dave Isnardi his usual fees for his legal services.

While his client is Dave Isnardi, the fact of the matter is that as Florida is a “equitable property state*” when it comes to marriage, the assets and debts accrued in a marriage are the responsibility of both members of the marriage. Like it or not, while Dave Isnardi is Lober’s client, Commissioner Kristine Isnardi is on the hook for Lober’s bill as well. (*See Editor’s Note at the bottom of this post.)

Once again, you have a Commissioner being billed by another Commissioner for services that could have been given to another lawyer.

Giving the work to another avoids the appearance of impropriety. It avoids all the talk, all the whispers and all the doubt that will from this moment forward be cast on any votes Isnardi and Lober cast.

We are not going to say that Dave Isnardi does not deserve effective legal representation. That’s not the way our system of justice is set up.

The issue was, is and will remain the appearance of impropriety in Lober’s representation of Isnardi.

We just can’t get around that problem as much as we try.

There were alternatives that Lober and Isnardi should have taken that would have avoided all of this.

They didn’t.

Their lack of understanding how this would be perceived is mind boggling. Or maybe they thought about it and didn’t care. (Which may be worse.)

Brevardians deserve to have elected officials who avoid this type of appearance of impropriety. It makes trust in the government so much easier.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In our original version of this post, we said that Florida was a “community property state.” That is not correct. Florida is an “Equitable Distribution state.” Assets and debts can be isolated from spouses through agreements through filed agreements.

Like the distribution of assets, the court will also need to equitably distribute the marital debts of the parties. Marital debts include debts incurred during the marriage, or debts which were incurred by one spouse prior to the marriage but which were somehow ratified or adopted by the other spouse during the marriage.

We apologize for the error.

4 Responses to “Lober, Conflicts Of Interest, The Florida Today And ……Us?”

  1. Leaning says:

    Appearance of impropriety is important within the political process.

    Trust is earned by words and deeds.

  2. Third Dimension says:

    Did Lober tell on himself? He offered his services to Dave Isnardi. On what premise?
    That he knew the Judge very well?
    So glad she recused herself.

    Does this whole situation not concern anyone else? We all know now of Kristine and Bryan, let’s not forget John Tobia and his association with Randy Fine and the Isnardi’s.
    That is a quorum folks, Lober, Tobia, Isnardi.

  3. Duster says:

    During election, Mr Lober stated he would quit his practice to concentrate on District 2. Why is he breaking his promise> Also, what office is he working out of? One affadavit states a PO box in Mims, the other lists his fathers medical office in Kissimmee. Where are the tax receipts going to?? follow the paper trail

  4. Dub Drinnon says:

    There’s a good reason for requiring the avoidance of even the appearance of impropriety. An old Mafia tactic is to repeatedly appear doing something wrong for the purpose of successfully defending yourself against the charges. They’ll get so tired of making all that failed effort, you can then get away with anything. Another real impropriety would be for an elected official to bait people for the purpose of suing them. Another would be to “block” citizens, especially constituents, from contacting you. Another would be to give the appearance of being bedfellows with county government department heads, such as the sheriff department. Highly questionable.

  5. […] Lober represented David Isnardi for bond hearings in what many people consider to be the appearance of impropriety. […]