PALM BAY, Fla. – Former Palm Bay Deputy City Manager Dave Isnardi was arrested Friday morning, along with local businessman Jose Aguiar, after a several years-long investigation into “…an ongoing pattern of criminal activities,” according to the arrest documents.
The charges are numerous and related to multiple alleged conspiracies intended to influence Palm Bay city politics in Isnardi's and Aguiar’s favor, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
Here is what we know:
Their alleged plans targeted Palm Bay city officials
Isnardi and Aguiar are accused of planning to use a hidden camera to record city councilman Jeff Bailey and former councilman Tres Holton having sex with prostitutes at a home nicknamed “the Clubhouse,” which is owned by Aguiar. They then planned to use the recordings to blackmail Bailey and Holton and manipulate their votes on city council issues.
Isnardi and Aguiar also discussed a plan to plant Oxycodone in Bailey’s vehicle and arrange a traffic stop so that the drugs would be found, the documents stated. The arrest affidavit also said Isnardi told members of law enforcement that Bailey was selling drugs near a school, and that he contacted a Brevard County Sheriff’s Office agent about Bailey possibly having drugs in his car.
The arrests are a result of a four-year investigation
The FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement have been looking into allegations against Isnardi and Aguiar since 2015. The information in the arrest documents was gathered in part from secret recordings made by an informant who was with the men at “the Clubhouse.”
Isnardi is the husband of Brevard County Commission chairperson Kristine Isnardi and is represented by Bryan Lober, an attorney who is also the vice chair of the County Commission.
Isnardi and Aguiar have been charged with multiple felonies
Isnardi is charge with two first-degree felonies, each carrying a potential penalty of 30 years in prison; and three third-degree felonies, each with a potential five-year sentence. Both Isnardi and Aguiar have been charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit extortion.
A judge on Saturday denied both men bond because of the seriousness of the charges.
Continuing coverage on the Palm Bay political scandal:
Friday: News broke that former Palm Bay Deputy City Manager Dave Isnardi was arrested on charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to possess controlled substances, including oxycodone. (Read story)
Saturday: Judge Kelly Ingram denied bond to both Isnardi and Aguiar because of the seriousness of the allegations against them. Attorney and County Commission Vice Chair Bryan Lober represented Isnardi at his initial court appearance. Attorneys for both men declared their client's innocence of a slew of charges and argued their clients were not a flight risk, due to strong ties to the community, or a danger to others. (Read story)
Saturday: The political fallout from the arrest potentially could spread to county government, as well. Isnardi's wife is Brevard County Commission Chair Kristine Isnardi, who would be up for re-election as District 5 commissioner in 2020, if she decides to seek a second term. (Read story)
Sunday: Some residents said that while the arrests were bad, more needs to be done to improve the quality of living for the city, including tackling rising rents and homelessness. Others wanted the state's criminal investigation into the city government to continue. (Read story)