David Isnardi bonds out on racketeering and drug charges

After sitting in the Brevard County Jail for a week without bail, accused Palm Bay racketeer David Isnardi got to leave last Friday on a $36,000 bond.

Circuit Judge Morgan Reinman set Isnardi’s bail based on a 2018 bail bond schedule from the 18th Judicial Circuit Court administration. Rockledge attorney Bryan Lober argued his client had such strong ties to Brevard County he wouldn’t be a risk of fleeing justice.

David Isnardi is the husband of County Commission Chair Kristine Isnardi, whose district includes the Indialantic area on the county’s barrier island. Lober serves with Kristine Isnardi on the County Commission.

Sheriff’s records show deputies arrested David Isnardi, 59, of Olivia Street in Palm Bay, about 2 p.m. on May 10, on charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit extortion, and conspiracy to possess two controlled substances – Oxycodone and Ethylone – with the intent to deliver them.

Arrested along with Isnardi was Jose Aguiar, 48, of Grant Road in Palm Bay. He is charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, records show. As of press time, Aguiar remains in jail with no bond.

The arrests followed a four-year investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into allegations of corruption in Palm Bay City Hall between 2015 and 2017 when David Isnardi was Palm Bay’s deputy city manager.

Aguiar and Isnardi are accused of conspiring to capture evidence of then-City Council members Tres Holton and Jeff Bailey using drugs or having sex with prostitutes to blackmail Bailey and Holton into rezoning one of Aguiar’s properties for industrial use. The end game of this alleged scheme is the bizarre part of the story that you couldn’t make up if you tried – it was all so Aguiar and Isnardi could open a scrap-metal business, court records say.

Brevard County Judge Kelly Ingram denied bond for Isnardi at his first appearance hearing the day after his arrest. Lober said county judges typically defer to the affidavits written by circuit judges.

Lober didn’t bring Isnardi into Reinman’s courtroom. He and Assistant State Attorney Kathryn Speicher both said they didn’t need his client for testimony. In fact, Speicher didn’t object to Lober’s motion for a bond.

“With all due respect, I think he (Isnardi) is entitled to a bond,” Reinman said. “And I plan to set a bond.”

Reinman said she had no reason to doubt Lober’s bond motion, which described Isnardi as a lifelong Florida resident, former student of Melbourne Central Catholic High School, and 22 ½-year U.S. Army veteran with honorable discharge.

Isnardi sustained back injuries in 1986, Lober added, as a result of a “bad jump” as a combat paratrooper. And Isnardi’s lawn business led to his back being injured again in September, requiring surgery next month, Lober wrote. While Isnardi’s service took him around the globe, Lober said, Isnardi maintained Brevard County as his home of record, and his full-time home since 1999.

Before working for the City of Palm Bay, Isnardi was employed by the Brevard County Clerk of Court.

Reinman imposed several conditions on Isnardi’s release, such as not leaving the county and no contact with Bailey, but Isnardi did get permission to go to Virginia for a week for his son’s graduation from the Army’s Aviation Logistics School in Fort Eustis. If Isnardi fails to return and report to Lober by May 27, Reinman said, Lober is to contact her.

Except for that possibility, Lober said, his job for Isnardi is over. He said the first thing the now-free Isnardi should do is pick a permanent defense attorney from two Lober suggested.

Lober said he expects Isnardi to do a more careful job choosing an attorney than he would have in jail. With regard to speculation that Lober’s representation of Isnardi points to a too-chummy alliance of two members of the County Commission, Lober denied that, saying legal work for David Isnardi had nothing to do with making policy with Kristine Isnardi.

“If we started not voting together, that would be the change,” Lober said. “Whether it’s her motion or my motion, I can’t think of a time when we don’t already vote together.”

Lober said Isnardi chose him because he could do the job and get him out on bail.

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