Palm Bay: How’d This Happen?

Jose Aguair

With most of the focus in Palm Bay and Brevard County has been on David Isnardi and his legal issues, the same amount of scrutiny and light has not been applied to the person arrested the same day in the same case with Isnardi, Jose Aguiar.

After initially being denied bond, Aguiar and his attorneys filed a motion to allow Aguiar to be bonded out. The Florida Today wrote about the filings in an May 20 article.

However there was a little nugget at the end of the article that caught the eye of many:

This is not Aguiar’s first brush with the law. In 1997 in Massachusetts, he was convicted of conspiracy to sell cocaine and was sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison.

According to Massachusetts’ law, Part IV, Title I, Section 274:

Section 1: Felonies and misdemeanors

Section 1. A crime punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison is a felony. All other crimes are misdemeanors.

By law, Aquiar is a convicted felon.

Prior to the passage of Amendment 4 in 2018, felons in the State of Florida were not allowed to vote unless they had petitioned to the State to restore the right. It had been that way since the Florida Constitution was written in 1968. Minor changes had been made to the implementation of the Constitution provision of felons not voting, (and restoring the right to vote) but until Amendment 4 passed, felons could not vote.

Within it’s Code of Ordinances, the City of Palm Bay lists the qualifications to run for the City Council:

(A) Any elector qualified under the laws of the state, having been a resident of the city for two (2) years and a registered elector in the city, residing at a city address, and who is otherwise qualified to be a member of the City Council may be a candidate for any vacancy. (emphasis ours)

An elector is defined as:

A voter who has fulfilled the qualifications imposed by law; a constituent; a selector of a public officer; a person who has the right to cast a ballot for the approval or rejection of a political proposal or question, such as the issuance of bonds by a state or municipality to finance public works projects.

Aguiar was a convicted felon, not eligible to vote, and therefore was not an “elector.”

So how is it that Aguair ran for City Council in 2016?

According to the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections, Aguiar was announced his candidacy in January of 2016, only to withdraw in August of the same year, prior to the candidates being certified to appear on the ballot.

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The question we and others have is “how did Aguiar even make it past the paperwork filing stage?” How is it that Palm Bay didn’t look to see if he was eligible to run for office?

We are a big fan of “Hanlon’s Razor,” which states:

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Certainly in this case it may not even be appropriate to say that not catching this was “stupidity.” We’d like to think it was more a case of “faith in people” or “ignorance.” After all, who would ever expect that a person running for office would submit paperwork and not be eligible for the position? You want to think the best in people – that people who are running for office are doing it for the right reasons and are not trying to circumvent the laws on eligibility.

Yet that is what happened here.

Jose Aguiar tried to get elected to the Palm Bay City Council despite not being eligible.

To be frank, it would be easy to attribute this to the friendships and working relationships Aguiar had with members of the City Council and that there was some nefarious purpose behind not saying “Mr. Aguair, you aren’t eligible to run,” but we aren’t going down that path. We aren’t going down that path until someone shows us more concrete evidence that it happened.

For now, we are simply going with the idea that Aguiar being approved to appear on the ballot should never have occurred. It should have been stopped at the point when he turned in his paperwork. That doesn’t seem to have happened.

The City Council needs to address this from happening again.

h/t to all of the folks who sent us the fact that Aguiar was a convicted felon or who noticed it in the Florida Today article. Good catch.

4 Responses to “Palm Bay: How’d This Happen?”

  1. Truthful says:

    It doesn’t matter whether malice or stupidity prevailed, neither is acceptable in this case.

    This is a clear example, for whatever actual reasons it occurred, where people failed to do their jobs to ensure that the law is followed.

    Where is the accountability?

  2. Paul Valeriani says:

    Jose Aguiar trying to get elected to the Palm Bay City Council despite not being eligible, is kind of like Tres Holton’s mother recording the members of the City Charter petition committee, without their knowledge, and also forging a signature on a petition form, while she was an out of state resident, and not eligible to sign that petition form.
    Neither were charged with any crimes, just like no one other than Isnardi and Aguiar have been charged with any crimes, related to the apparent widespread corruption at the City and County levels of government.

  3. Pat S. says:

    Truthful. If the system hire people based upon quotas instead of qualifications the result is stupidity in the system increased.
    Most all government jobs now are social work quota programs.
    The people we deal with; the TSA, DMV, most points of government contact and processing for the public, are just plain ignorant and unintelligent, unemployable.
    Stupidity is in charge of our well being because we let it happen.

  4. Concerned resident says:

    What is really happening in Palm Bay? First we have Homes for warriors houses given to Isnardi’s friends…then at least one of them is raided for meth…then the sherriff announces a massive arrest campaign of a huge drug ring…then David Isnardi and Jose Aguiar are arrested for multiple crimes..the least of which is planting drugs in a councilman’s car and conspiring with a sherriffs agent have him arrested… The sherriffs agent tells the FBI David Isnardi gave him info on the Warlocks running drugs…then we have a biker shooting at the Wetspot..and then a stabbing at a local bar by bikers….what in the hell is really happening in this city and does the FBI actually have a handle on all of this? Will this actually culminate in more afrests and convictions….and a stop to the recent violence associated with these biker gangs?