Palm Bay: What Is A Water Bill Saying About Calvin “Tres” Holton?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We want to be upfront about this post. The original information and background that forms the central issue here was not something that we went out looking for. We had other people and groups send us some of the things you will see here, but the bulk of the information and certainly the complete set of documentation was supplied to us by the campaign of Thomas Gaume, who is running against Calvin “Tres” Holton for Seat 4 on the Palm Bay City Council. When we get things like this from campaigns (and we get a lot of them,) we have to look at the documentation that is supplied, the sources within the documentation itself, outside sources, etc. We don’t like doing “rumor” stories here and avoid them at all costs. We aren’t the National Enquirer claiming some politician had an alien baby out of wedlock. We try to get things right but because the source here has what some will say is a bias, we want people to look at it with that understanding and make up their own mind.

On September 17, 2013, the City of Palm Bay filed a lien for lack of payment for water and sewage service against the owner of the property “legally described” as

LAKES, PH 2, LOT 218
Account# · 123175-166448

In their filing, the City states that the property is owned by:

PALM BAY, FL 32908

Like many people, the Holtons were involved in what appears to have been a contentious foreclosure process. In this case, the Holtons were locked in legal battle with Suntrust Mortgage, Inc.

The Holtons claimed that the foreclosure of the house was illegal and it appears that several years later, a judge agreed with them, returning the house to the Holtons.

However, while the court case was ongoing, the fines, penalties and fees for the water and sewage service continued to accrue to point where the balance owed at the beginning of 2016 was $2,237.32.

Like many cities, in foreclosure cases the City of Palm Bay would relieve fines, fees and penalties when the house was foreclosed upon and no one was allegedly living in the home when a new owner bought the house. Such was the case here. When the Holtons won their foreclosure case against Suntrust, they applied to the City to relieve the money owed and the City did just that in February 2016 as well as releasing the 2013 lien.

The process and the thinking behind the relieving of the lien was explained in an email from Palm Bay’s Business Operation Manager Donovan Watson to City Clerk Terese Jones in which Watson writes:

Between the period of 4/23/13 through 1/19/15 there was no consumption at that property. During this time period, the balance on that account went from $99.64 to $2,086.69, of which $890.20 was penalties for water, solid waste and stormwater.

During this time, a lien was placed on that property, which recorded on 9/20/13 at the Brevard County Clerk of Courts on Book 6975, Page 512. That lien was released and recorded on 2/2/16 on Book 7541, Page 736, after all outstanding balances were satisfied.

The former Business Operations Manager and the Billing and Collection Manager for the Utilities Department calculated the penalties that were posted to the account during the period that the owners were excluded from the property due to a foreclosure process. Once the property was returned to the owner, the procedure was to remove penalties, however, the owner would be responsible for the base charges billed. Due to the large balance remaining, a payment agreement was issued requiring an additional amount of $99.71 to be paid with future monthly bills through 1/29/16. That agreement was complied with and the final payment was made 12/22/15, at which time the lien was released. (emphasis ours)

On page 3 of the documentation below supplied by the City through a Sunshine Law Public Information Request (PIR,) the reason the City relieved a portion of the debt was stated as:

property forclosed illegally by the bank; customer got house back – adjust pn during time did not have access to house per cm. (emphasis ours)

EDITOR”S NOTE: In February, 2018, a PIR was made to the City for any adjustments to water bills that were over $750.00 within the prior three years which would have been from February 2014 through February 2017 and includes the when the City made adjustments to the Holton water bill in February 2015. Oddly, the City returned documentation that did not include the Holton adjustments. Also, there is no written communication of a request by the Holtons to reduce the penalties, fees and fines. The entire process was done via word of mouth which is odd considering the number of people and department heads – including the City Manager – who were involved.

To understand why all this matters, we need to review as we have thrown out a lot of documentation, dates and figures out there. Even for us, it took some time to wrap our head around what had happened.

YEAR 2013:
Holtons are involved in contested foreclosure case.
Starting in April 2013 and ending in January 2015, there is no water use at the property.
In August, the Holtons win their initial case against Suntrust.
In September, the City of Palm Bay puts a lien on the house / Holtons for failure to pay the water and sewage bills.

YEAR 2014:
No consumption of water at the property.
The Holtons claim later they had no access to the property during the year.

YEAR 2015:
The Holtons regain the property and come to an agreement with the City. The City will relieve the fines, fees, and penalties based on the claim that for a time the Holtons did not have access to the property and the Holtons will pay off the base balance owed.

YEAR 2016:
The Holtons successfully comply with the terms of the agreement, paying off the owed base amounts. The City releases the lien on the property and the Holtons in February of 2016.

All this has led to one question: “WHERE WAS CALVIN “TRES” HOLTON LIVING IN 2014?”

On August 18, 2014, Holton presented documentation to the City Clerk for his campaign to run for Seat 4 of the Palm Bay City Council.

The first page shows that this is serious stating in bold, capital letters:


Holton signs the paper and lists his address throughout the document as “1729 La Maderia Dr SW, Palm Bay, FL 32908.

That’s the same address that was the subject of the foreclosure proceedings.

That’s the same address associated with the account for the water bill.

That’s the same address that showed no water usage during 2014 and which Holton told the City he had “no access to the property.”

There are but two possibilities here:

1) Holton did not represent his address correctly on the Candidate Qualification Form and he was living elsewhere. (Which would be perjury as stated.)


2) Holton misrepresented the that he had no access to the property during 2014 and in fact, was there (even without the water being on.) That means he wasn’t truthful in getting the City to reduce the fines, fees, and penalties.

If answer 1 is correct, answer 2 cannot logically be correct. If answer 2 is correct, answer 1 cannot logically be correct.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are thinking that Holton was using the address simply as a mailing address, that may very well be true. However the Candidate Form is looking for information to satisfy the City’s residency requirements for the City Council. If a mailbox satisfied the requirement, anyone in the Brevard County and beyond could set up a mailbox as “proof of residency” while actually living miles away. The “mailbox defense” doesn’t fly for the purposes of meeting residency requirements.

Absent of some documentation that no one has seen or knows exists, we believe that water bill documentation and the subsequent statement and actions by Councilman Holton are problematic on many fronts.

Just how problematic they are to the voters is an individual decision and we certainly respect that.

We further believe that Holton at the very least owes the people of Palm Bay an explanation as to how his statements and actions over a water bill just don’t match up.

We look forward to hearing from him.

3 Responses to “Palm Bay: What Is A Water Bill Saying About Calvin “Tres” Holton?”

  1. Thomas Gaume says:

    Just for clarification as to why I chose to release this information to ROH rather than post it myself or use other traditional media.

    When investigating things like this people have blinders on, they overlook things or let their personal bias enter into the research. ROH has a history of reporting things fairly and with documented proof.

    There was over 200 pages of documentation included in the evidence that I sent to ROH and would be impossible to cover in a 3 minute public comment, limited amount of words or column inches in traditional news paper, or 10 second sound bites on TV or radio news.

    I felt that the evidence would be treated fairly, and that not releasing it myself but handing it to a 3rd party for review and scrutiny would validity the evidence.

  2. Third Dimension says:

    Two things to note, one the extraordinary efforts of Thomas Gaume and ROH to research this gross violation of law and trust and bring it out into the “Sunshine.”
    Two, to expose the truth in a satisfactory way that leaves no question as to the nature and actions of an elected official within Palm Bay.
    Did I know? Yes I did. Were we told/ordered to remain silent about this issue? Affirmative.
    Am I disgusted at the findings of this investigation? Absolutely!
    To know that an elected official did “knowingly” abuse the office and the connections he had to free him of a debt any of the rest of us would have had to pay. This proves some level of corruption to me. This dishonest abuse of trust against the citizens of Palm Bay is reprehensible!
    In my humble opinion, the City Manager should be fired immediately for cause, and the councilman removed from office and charged accordingly.
    It is long past time that Justice should prevail in Palm Bay.

    Am I disgusted at the findings of what seems to be clear evidence

  3. Momma Dukes says:

    The decptions and fraud of this individual are certainly egregious. The continuing disgraceful acts being committed with such egotism throughout our beautiful city are abhorrent. It is time our mayor and city attorney step up to and for the constituents and put an IMMEDIATE STOP to this farcical.
    One would think that those holding their title would want to do so with pride, fulfillment and satisfaction. The way they have let things go they should be ashamed, adash and quite frankly, be mortified to be associated with the likes of this one, Tres Holton as well as his side kick Harry the ‘hater’ Santiago

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  5. […] We covered the controversy in this post back on June 7, 2018. […]