Hotel Association Responds To Deardoff Allegation

By  //  July 23, 2012

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Joe Mathey: ‘Entrenched Four-Term Port-Supported Insider?’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The below e-mail was received by from Tom Hermansen in resonse to current Port Commissioner Bruce Deardoff’s allegation that John Evans was “handpicked to run for the Port Commission by the Cocoa Beach Hotel Association.” Below in bold italics is Commissioner Deardoff’s allegations that were conveyed in a fundraiser e-mail, and that is followed by Hermansen’s reply.


As you know, Joe Matheny, a strong independent voice on the Port Canaveral Commission for several years, is being challenged in the Republican Primary by Titusville lawyer, John Evans. Evans was reportedly handpicked to run for the Port Commission by the Cocoa Beach Hotel Association.

Bruce Deardoff

A review of Mr. Evans’ campaign funding report shows that, of the money he has raised to date, the vast majority of it has been donated by this one group. While I have the utmost respect for these business people and their Association, a candidate potentially obligated to one special interest group is not what is needed if we are to maintain an independent Port Canaveral free from outside influence.


Normally, a response to someone else’s fundraiser invitation is not warranted, unless of course it contains false allegations and ironies such as Port Chairman Deardoff’s e-mail (above).

Was Hank Evans “handpicked” by anyone? Absolutely not.

Hank Evans

Hank Evans has long been interested in running for a Port seat. He was close to filing to run for the District 2 seat four years ago, and even spoke to Joe Matheny about his desire to run for the seat should Joe finally retire, having at that time served three terms on the Commission. After witnessing the failures of Port governance over the last year, Hank decided it was time for a change.

Hank Evan’s Campaign Donations

In regard to Hank Evan’s campaign donations, members of the local tourism industry (hotel operators, transportation companies, Port Cove business owners, tourism related property owners, and many others) jumped on the opportunity to support Hank Evans, primarily because of all the questionable actions by the port staff over the last 18 months that were supported by a three-vote majority of Port Commissioners – including Joe Matheny.

What Does Joe Matheny’s Campaign Report Show Us?

Joe Matheny’s first report shows that he lent himself $8,000 – and had no other donations.

His second report shows outside contributions totaling $5,900.

Joe Matheny

Of This Total, $2,000 Came From:

• Port Chairman Bruce Deardoff himself (Deardoff, R.B., Continental Motorcars, Inc., Island Lincoln Mercury, Inc. and Island Gas, LLC).

• Port Attorney Harold Bistline – $250

• Fred Leonhardt, one of the Port CEO’s many lobbyists – $500

• Of Matheny’s total contributions, 47% came from the sitting Port Chairman, the Port Attorney and a Port Lobbyist.

In addition to the $2,000 donation, Chairman Deardoff is organizing and hosting a fundraiser for Joe Matheny at his car dealership tonight.

As if this weren’t enough, you may have noticed the truck driving around town planting both Deardoff and Matheny signs. Ironically, most of the Matheny signs are nestled underneath the larger Deardoff signs.

Entrenched, Port-Supported Four-Term Insider?

Does Matheny’s support to date give the impression of an “independent” Port Commissioner with strong community backing, or an entrenched four-term insider, now running for his fifth term, that needs the sitting Chairman and consultants, paid by the Port, to fund his campaign?

Hank Evans is the right choice in the August 14th Primary for Port District 2 Commissioner.

– Tom Hermansen