Volusia council members hire own attorney to investigate money, political scandal


VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Volusia County Council members want taxpayers to fund an investigation into a scandal involving money, power and politics.

Channel 9 reported last month Waverly Media is accused of buying special treatment from the county through illegal campaign contributions.

While the State Attorney's Office is on the case, the county council decided to hire their own attorney to investigate it, which will cost taxpayers.

County council members don't know how much it will cost yet, but they said it will be worth it.

Waverly leaders are going to trial, charged with ripping off investors in a scheme that cost victims millions of dollars.

And the state attorney is also investigating whether Waverly made illegal campaign contributions to many Volusia County candidates.

On Thursday council members frustrated by the slow progress of that investigation voted to hire their own investigator.

"How long have we been waiting for the state attorney to come back and give us what we need?" asked council member Pat Patterson. "I want to see a report. I want to see action."

One goal of the county investigation is to find out if County Commissioner Josh Wagner improperly helped Waverly Media get a contract with the county because it contributed to his re-election campaign.

"I don't want our election process to become a game of what you can get away with," said Patterson.

Wagner, along with Joyce Cusack and chair Jason Davis, voted against hiring an outside investigator. Cusack is also accused of receiving donations from Waverly.

"Someone is on a fishing expedition and I don't know exactly the price you're asking the citizens of Volusia County to pay for you to have your agenda met," said Cusack. "Now, if you're talking about if I did something illegal, I think the state attorney is in the best position to say that."

In the end, four of the seven commissioners decided it's the price that must be paid to make sure the county can't be bought.

Commissioners later unanimously chose to hire well-known Volusia County attorney Jon Kaney to head up the investigation.