It's the end of the world as we know it. Or, at least, the end of Will's Pub not that those two things are totally disconnected.
On June 27, the Orlando city council voted to approve a request by Allan Klaiman of the Northern Gateway Partnership to expand the Winter Park Urology Clinic and also create a bike trail. This news would be otherwise completely unworthy of mention, except for the fact that the venerable Loch Haven Motor Inn and the adjacent Will's Pub where we've done more damage to our livers than we'd care to discuss now stand in the way of progress, and they're coming down.
This isn't exactly new news to those of us who frequent Will Walker's most fine establishment. In fact, we discussed it with him a few weeks ago at a party, but there was a lot of alcohol involved and things got hazy. So Happytown™ sent Walker an e-mail, asking him what his plans are is he going to move, close up shop, or what?
"Not sure what my plans are," responded Walker. "They are supposed to give me a 4 month notice before I've got to be out."
So, folks, there you have it. You now know as much as we do. For the sake of all that's good and right in the world, though, we urge you to make haste to Will's Pub and suck as much alcohol out of the place as you can before the bulldozers arrive, then get down on your knees and beg Will to relocate his glorious bar and not let the legend fade away.
It's on these soggy, languid summer days that Happytown's™ thoughts turn to the open road. Yeah, that's where we long to be, out on the tiles, the wind in our collective beard, free and unfettered the way God meant columnists to live, sucking the marrow of raw experience from the bones of everyday existence, mano-a-mano with fate and the weather ...
But alas, our lot in life is bringing you this exquisite column week in and week out, leaving us nary a moment to do any marrow-sucking. So instead we bring you the saga of Jim Stone, a fellow traveler who stopped by Happytown™ HQ the other day on his motorcycle, packing a red inflatable couch.
So far he's surfed 72 couches, both here and in Europe. In France he slept on a couch owned by a guy in a band, and ended filling in for the absent sound man at a concert; in Denmark he went from the couch to a 50th-anniversary party; in Georgia he slept on a couch in a sorority; in Jacksonville, Fla., the couch was on a sailboat.
"It's like I have a friend in every city," says the peripatetic Stone, who packs the red inflatable couch as a photo prop/conversation piece, kind of like the stolen garden gnome that ends up traveling the world. Stone plans to surf couches in every state in the lower 48 before heading back home to Texas.
Godspeed, young man. We're with you in spirit. And yes, there is a couch at Happytown™ HQ with your name on it if you're back this way.
We're big fans of anonymous tipsters, doubly so when they pass along information that could get elected officials in trouble. So when "anonymous sources" told us to check the mayor's financial disclosure forms, we did just that.
What we saw is Buddy Dyer disclosing on state-mandated financial disclosure that he receives income from a profit-sharing trust at his old law firm, Winderweedle, Haines, Ward and Woodman. So what? Well, if the mayor's getting profits from Winderweedle, and if the city is in turn giving money back to the firm, that's a violation of city code Chapter 2, Section 7 to be exact that could result in Dyer being removed from office by Gov. Jeb Bush (again).
The second part of the equation is true. Every month, the city writes Winderweedle a check for $15,833 for the services of Dykes Everett, the city attorney on loan from Dyer's old firm. Instead of paying Everett directly, the city pays Everett's firm, where he is a salaried employee.
But is the mayor still getting money from Winderweedle? After all, if he was part of a profit-sharing agreement with a company to whom he was steering city contracts, that would be slimy.
Unfortunately, whether or not Dyer is breaking the law depends on the nature of his profit-sharing agreement with his old law firm, and you can't really tell based on the one line in the financial disclosure. If Winderweedle still gives him money, that's illegal. If it doesn't, and if the money he's referencing in the account is from interest on money he already received, then he might still be on the right side of the line.
There's no way to know without access to Buddy's bank records. So we asked him and who could have predicted this one? Dyer says he's doing nothing wrong. The account, city spokeswoman Brie Turek explains, is a leftover from Dyer's days of lawyering, and Winderweedle is no longer contributing to the account. Instead, Dyer's merely pulling interest from the existing money in it, and that's why he reported it.
Seems like the ethical thing to do here would be for Dyer to divest himself of the profit-sharing plan altogether, thereby avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. But who are we to advise on such matters?