Log in

Nelson and Nesta clash during Apopka City Council meeting on forensic audit


A forensic audit is a detailed examination and analysis of financial records, transactions, and documents to uncover potential fraud, embezzlement, or other financial irregularities. A forensic audit of a City's finances focuses on examining the financial records, transactions, and processes of municipal government entities such as departments, agencies, or public funds. The objectives may include identifying financial mismanagement, inefficiencies, or compliance issues within the city government.

At its April 3rd meeting, the Apopka City Council voted 5-0 to begin a forensic audit of specific items in its finances. It was an issue that was discussed throughout 2023 and into the 2024 election.

"I want to put this into perspective," said Commissioner Nick Nesta, who spearheaded the initiative. "It's similar to going to the doctor's office. You feel something's wrong inside you and don't know what it is. But you tell the doctor, 'look, here are my pain points; it's for you to figure this out'. And that's where we're at at this point. And these are my pain points. And these are the resident's pain points as well."

Nesta presented eight items he wants to see in the forensic audit:

  • Camp Wewa 
  • City of Apopka - Reserves
  • Opioid Crisis Payment
  • City of Apopka - Bill Payments
  • City of Apopka - Employee Expenses/Reimbursements
  • Farmworkers Association Payment
  • City of Apopka - Property Owned/Transactions
  • City of Apopka - Grant Money

All eight items are part of City finances and would fall within the realm of a forensic audit.

"There are clearly questions that we've had. I appreciate the conversation," Nesta said. "But I think that's the point: we have so many questions unanswered. It goes back to the point that this needs to be greenlit. Let's put a timeline to an RFP and move this forward and keep it moving. It doesn't need to be this big political thing. Just keep it moving."

You can make a case for Nesta using this audit as a tool to uncover something that could damage a political opponent, but the eight items all fall directly into the scope of City finance. 

However, two weeks later, at the April 17th meeting, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson unleashed six more items for the forensic audit, which left little room for questioning his motivations.

"Well, let's get the forensic audit out," Nelson said. "I've got six items I'd like to add. First of all, I want to verify the BTR, which is the Business Tax Receipt payments from 2013 to current for Nesta Real Estate Consultants, BRPC Consulting, and Nelson's Insurance Services. Two, I want to get a copy or find out... make sure that the qualifying checks for all candidates for the 2022 and 2024 elections were proper and deposited. Number three, how many late campaign reports for all the elections for Nesta, Smith, Velazquez, Becker, and Nelson? If you'd like, you can go through all seven elections I've been a part of. Number four, verify or discredit the excess interest income of One Florida Bank over Synovus Bank from June 2021 to June 2023, when One Florida decided not to take on any City of Apopka deposits. Five on the 'promises made promises kept' (Nesta) postcard it states... 'number two fiscally responsible spending, I successfully advocated and security solid investment option, earning approximately one million more per year in interest for the residence funds, meaning lower taxes and the ability to invest back into the community'... I need to verify that those extra earnings that Nesta secured and continues to generate. And then, number six, I would like to know the excess spending on attorney fees since our inside counsel was forced to resign. So those are the six items I would like."

By the end of his list, Nesta had a question of his own.

"Do you mean when you lied about the attorney?" Nesta asked. "So, is that what you mean? I'm excited to see those fees as well."

It seems pretty clear to me that those six items predominantly target Nesta. And while Nelson, like any politician, is not only free but expected to respond to allegations about him, is adding specifics unrelated to City finances to a forensic audit the correct place to do that? 

If Nelson wants to open the 2026 election cycle by attacking Nesta, a potential opponent, he should do it outside the City's business and nowhere near a forensic audit. All six of those items are a matter of record and can be determined by City staff without much research or a forensic audit.

The Apopka Voice contacted Nesta about Nelson's additions to the forensic audit. He sent a statement that he believes firmly addresses Nelson's true motives.

"The City of Apopka is in need of a long overdue Forensic Audit that the residents deserve and need. Clearly, the unfortunate and all too familiar direct and/or 3rd party threats, attempts of intimidation, and acts to induce chaos and confusion hurled at me and my family as well as former Vice Mayor Commissioner Kyle Becker and his family, as well as to others are not worthy of responding to as witnessed on 4/17/2024 at the City Council meeting. Once again, the emotionally unstable actions of the censured (8/2/2023) Mayor Bryan Nelson speak volumes. These distressed and desperate actions of the censured (8/2/2023) Mayor Bryan Nelson absolutely affirm the need for a Forensic Audit, and I will be seeking intervention from the State, Federal government, and other entities to assist with this since, once again, threats and acts of intimidation are, unfortunately, the modus operandi for the disgraced Mayor Bryan Nelson. Much better times are ahead for Apopka as soon as things like this type of behavior are eliminated, and my commitment to the citizens of Apopka is that it will."
Although we are still two years away, it seems clear we're already in the 2026 election cycle. And while hardball politics are no stranger to Apopka, this Council is expected to work together to pass an upcoming budget that reflects what its residents are asking for.

A resolution to the forensic audit is still months away. Therefore, it may be prudent to let the auditors do their work and respond accordingly. Adding politics will only muddy the waters of its findings, and hopefully, no one wants to do that to this costly and important process.

Forensic Audit, Apopka City Commissioner Nick Nesta, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson, Apopka City Council, Opinion


2 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • MamaMia

    Yes, there were comments, but rubbed someone wrong, I can only assume. That figures.....it is much like Trump's gag order almost....LOL

    Tuesday, April 23 Report this

  • MamaMia

    I see where the city gets result of the forensic audit. Now, do you people out there, want to challenge what MamaMia tells you....??? LOL

    Friday, April 26 Report this