tom burbank
Tom Burbank

Another controversy is rocking Deltona.

A wave of outrage over City Commissioner Tom Burbank’s attacks on an up-and-coming politico crested Feb. 20, as the City Commission publicly censured him for his postings on social media in recent days.

The commission voted 6-1 to censure District 1 Commissioner Burbank — who cast the only vote against the reprimand — for attacking Nick Lulli. Lulli, who has said he may run for the District 6 seat on the commission next year, demanded — and still demands — Burbank resign from the office to which he was elected Nov. 8. Burbank did not oblige his critics by stepping down.

The matter started on Lulli’s personal Facebook page, in an announcement that he would be “exploring a run” for Deltona City Commission District 6.

Burbank commented on Lulli’s post, also from his personal page.

“The man (I use the term loosely) is: A tool, a sycophant, a wannabe, a stooge (too diminutive to be a goon), a puppet, … a parasite, mealy-mouthed, … a leech, … (probably) an impulsive liar …,” reads part of Burbank’s posting.

Screenshot of Tom Burbank’s comment from Facebook

“To say I was shocked was a complete understatement when I woke up and was getting ready for work and head for the SunRail train to north Orlando, and I read this man’s comments,” Lulli said at a press conference in the courtyard of Deltona City Hall before the commission meeting began. “I had never met Tom Burbank. I had never had a conversation with him. I didn’t know him. He doesn’t know me.”

Lulli labeled Burbank’s comment as “completely outrageous” and “hate speech.”

“They were homophobic,” Lulli said. “I was attacked based on my sexual orientation.” 

For his part, Burbank denied he is “homophobic.”

“I wish I hadn’t done it,” he told The Beacon, regarding the social-media assault on Lulli. “Put it in the past, and move forward.”

Lulli’s allies spoke up for him during the public-forum segment of the City Commission’s meeting.

Adam Vazquez denounced Burbank for “an unprovoked homophobic attack.”

“Tom Burbank, I no longer have any confidence in you,” he said.

“Mr. Burbank, you made comments that were out of line,” Virgil Ford said. “You have embarrassed and offended the citizens of Deltona. … Do the right thing and resign.”

The commission members joined in the denunciations.

“I personally want to apologize to you for having been put through that,” City Commissioner Maritza Avila-Vazquez told Lulli.

Vice Mayor Anita Bradford said she was “shocked and embarrassed” by Burbank‘s cyberspace remarks about Lulli.

Saying he would not demand that Burbank resign, Mayor Santiago Avila called for a censure of Burbank, which passed with Burbank as the only dissenter.

The City Commission’s mild chastisement of Burbank does not carry with it any punishment such as suspension from office or a fine. 

Lulli indicated he intends to move forward, however, perhaps asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to remove Burbank or perhaps mounting a recall effort. 

“We’re going to ask for any and all possible solutions to get this man [Burbank] out of office,” Lulli said.

A recall means demanding a special election in which other candidates could vie for the District 1 City Commission seat. 

Editor’s note: A screenshot of the full comment has been included by The Beacon web staff, not the writer.


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