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"KVO" Yard Signs Come Under Fire

Commissioner's brother files complaint with Florida Elections Commission


BRADENTON — Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge’s brother has filed a formal complaint with the Florida Elections Commission against a Manatee County resident who created “Hell No KVO” signs for his yard. The complaint alleges the resident is making and sharing the signs in violation of state election law.

Commissioner Van Ostenbridge was elected as Manatee County’s District 3 representative in 2020, and up until this week, the commissioner had filed as the Republican incumbent, seeking re-election to his current seat. On Friday, Van Ostenbridge re-designated his candidacy, changing his filing from the county’s District 3 race to the District 7 at-large race.

Manatee County resident David Daniels lives in District 3. Unsatisfied with Van Ostenbridge’s performance as his district commissioner, Daniels created the “Hell No KVO” signs weeks before Van Ostenbridge announced his district race change. 

News of the Elections Commission complaint against Daniels comes just weeks after one of Daniels’ signs was the subject of another story. In that instance, text messages obtained from county-issued cell phones showed that a code enforcement officer had declined to remove one of the “Hell No KVO” signs as instructed by his supervisor.

A text dated April 22 sent by a code enforcement officer to his Lieutenant read, “The sign KVO wants down is on private. The office is full, too. Ain’t gonna be my pic blasted for touching that thing. He can get it.”

The officer was later instructed by his superior to “grab the sign and hold on to it” despite the fact that it was on private property.

Since our last report, the Florida Center for Government Accountability has obtained additional communication records from the code enforcement officer to his superior. In a follow-up email, the officer informed his Lieutenant of what occurred when he returned to remove the sign as instructed.

“As stated in our text earlier today,” the officer wrote, “The sign KVO wants down is on private property. I’m not touching it and as predicted in our text, when asked to go back to get it, the workers were outside and I confirmed again that it’s on private property.”

Just this week, a source claiming direct knowledge of recent administrative actions within the county’s code enforcement division informed TBT that the code enforcement officer who declined to follow his superior’s instructions to remove the sign received a “Notice of Disciplinary Action.” The administrative action allegedly came just days after TBT reported on the officer’s text messages.

The source declined to be identified in our reporting but alleged corrective actions were recommended for multiple performance issues of the officer outlined by the division’s leadership. On Friday, we submitted a request for public records from the county, seeking the production of the officer’s personnel file to include any record of disciplinary actions taken against him. TBT had not received the requested records before our publication deadline.

The state’s Elections Commission could weigh in on whether Daniels—and other District 3 residents who have placed signs made by Daniels—can continue to post the signs on their private property.

With Van Ostenbridge’s announcement of a change in district races, the Elections Commission’s determination about the volatility of the complaint and the legality of the signs may impact whether Daniels’ signs begin to show up in yards across the county.

Keith Van Ostenbridge signed the sworn complaint against Daniels on May 15—just three days before TBT published its report about the county's Code Enforcement Division and a directive to remove a sign. 

Not only is Keith the brother of Commissioner Van Ostenbridge, but he is also an employee of Manatee County’s Development Services Department.

Keith Van Ostenbridge was hired in 2022, two years after his brother was elected to serve on the county commission. He was hired as an inspector and plans examiner and is listed on the Manatee County Government directory of inspectors as a county mechanical inspector.

According to the application he submitted to the county, Keith worked as a foreman and mechanical technician for a private HVAC company from 2012 to 2022 before applying for his current government position. Department of Business and Professional Regulations licensee records show that Keith currently holds a standard inspector’s license and a provisional mechanical plans examiner license.

In his complaint, Keith alleged that Daniels and his “Hell No KVO” signs violate Florida Election Code Statutes, Section 104.271(2).

“Paul David Daniels violated election laws,” Commissioner Van Ostenbridge’s brother wrote in the complaint. “By purchasing non-endorsed signs that disparage Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge, a filed candidate running for re-election for Manatee Board of County Commissioners, District 3.”

Daniels’ signs include the words “Hell No!! KVO” beside a photo of Commissioner Van Ostenbridge. A red circle with a diagonal crossline is imposed over the commissioner’s face—similar to what is seen on a no-smoking sign. The words “Register and Vote” appear at the bottom of the sign.

Keith’s complaint continued, “Daniels intends to sway voters and influence the outcome of the election. Daniels has urged District 3 residents to display these illegal signs in their yards. Despite Florida’s regulations mandating disclaimers disclosing sponsorship and candidate approval, Daniels posted that he created the signs from a template on a yard sign website.”

“He ordered 10 signs and offered them for free to District 3 residents,” wrote Keith, “further exacerbating the violation. At least a dozen signs have been spotted around the district.”

In his written complaint, Keith also wrote that “Daniels is a registered Republican” who donated to “Commissioner Van Ostenbridge’s opponent.”

Along with the written details of his complaint, Keith submitted photos of a post that Daniels made on the Nextdoor App. In the Nextdoor post, Daniels detailed multiple votes and actions of Commissioner Van Ostenbridge that he disagreed with, including collecting hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from developers, approvals for developments beyond the county’s Future Development Area Boundary, and a vote to approve the rollback of local wetland protections.

In the post, Daniels told fellow residents, “If you agree that KVO has got to go, stop by my address and pick up a yard sign…I keep at least two in my yard, just take one. No need to knock, they are free.”

The Statute, Section 104.271(2), which Keith alleged Daniels had violated with the described actions states the following:

Any candidate who, in a primary election or other election, with actual malice makes or causes to be made any statement about an opposing candidate which is false is guilty of a violation of this code. An aggrieved candidate may file a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission pursuant to s.106.25. The commission shall adopt rules to provide an expedited hearing of complaints filed under this subsection. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the commission shall assess a civil penalty of up to $5,000 against any candidate found in violation of this subsection, which shall be deposited to the account of the General Revenue Fund of the state.

Speaking with TBT by email, Daniels expressed confusion about the complaint against him.

“First, I’m not a candidate,” explained Daniels. “Second, I’ve said nothing that is false or with malice. Third, according to the language of the statute cited, it seems like the complaint should have been filed by the aggrieved candidate.”

In his email to TBT, Daniels also addressed Keith Van Ostenbridge’s allegation that he had donated to his brother’s opponent. Daniels admitted to having donated to an opposing District 3 candidate but stated he had requested—and received—that the campaign contribution be refunded after that candidate publicly endorsed former President Donald Trump.

“I asked him to return my donation,” Daniels said. “Which he promptly did. That was long before I designed or purchased my signs.”

In a follow-up phone call, Daniels further explained to TBT that he never set out to make the signs for anyone but himself. But, said Daniels, after multiple residents saw his initial posts on social media about the signs he made, others began asking how they could get one to display on their properties.

“I decided, sure, just take one of mine,” Daniels said. "I can make more."

As a citizen and not a candidate, Daniels said he was under the assumption that making the signs would be considered an act of free speech protected by his First Amendment rights. He stressed that he has never requested payment from anyone who has taken a sign from his yard to place on their properties.

Daniels is no stranger to coming up against the county government or its officials. A longtime shelter volunteer and animal advocate, Daniels initiated legal action in 2020 against the county after what he believed was his wrongful termination as a shelter volunteer. Though that case ended in a settlement, a subsequent civil suit was spawned from the case in 2021 when Daniels brought an additional action against the county, alleging it had violated public record law during the time of the prior case.

The outcome of the civil suit over public record violations ended with the Judge ruling in Daniels’ favor in 2022. Finding the county had failed to comply with the law, the judge ordered the county to reimburse Daniels the fees incurred in bringing the case forward.

According to public records, Daniels has again brought a civil suit against county officials over alleged violations of Florida’s public record law. The latest suit was filed in April 2024. In his complaint, Daniels alleges that Commissioner Van Ostenbridge, former commissioner James Satcher, and County Administrator Charlie Bishop failed to produce text message records in response to a public records request. The case is ongoing.

The certified letter Daniels received informing him of Keith Van Ostenbridge's complaint lodged against him instructed Daniels that he had 14 days to file a response to the allegations with the Elections Commission. According to Elections Commission complaint procedures, a determination of the complaint's legal sufficiency will not be made during those 14 days.

If the Commission finds Keith Van Ostenbridge’s complaint legally sufficient, a preliminary investigation will be conducted by Commission staff to determine whether probable cause exists that a violation of elections law or codes has occurred. After an investigative report is completed, it will be reviewed, and the commission counsel will make a written recommendation for the disposition of the complaint.

Speaking by phone, Daniels told TBT he is unsure what the outcome of the complaint levied against him over his “Hell No KVO” signs might ultimately be. However, he added that the Elections Commission's determination would be “final” and that he would comply with the agency’s ruling.

For more information about the Elections Commission complaint process, click here, or visit the Florida Elections Commission FAQ webpage.

Dawn Kitterman is a staff reporter and investigative journalist for The Bradenton Times covering local government news. She can be reached at dawn.kitterman@thebradentontimes.com.


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  • sandy

    Now that KVO is running for District 7, I would gladly post one of these signs. This complaint is bull. David Daniels is not a candidate but a private citizen expressing his first amendment right to free speech. He is not selling the signs, paying for them out of his own pocket. KVO is such a wuss that he has his brother file the complaint even though the statute says the candidate should file the complaint.

    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • Dianna

    So, let me get this right…… KVO can out and out lie to the public both verbally during commissioner meetings and in writing or texts sent to the public just think the T2T “homeless camp” or the District 3 newsletters and the political crap we are receiving in the mail and he has the audacity (through his brother) to file a complaint against a citizen for saying HELL NO? That is about the kindest thing you can say about the idiot that has brought the county to its knees in less than 4 years. Let’s just call him what he is………..CORRUPT.

    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • misty

    Another great report, Dawn! Brother KVO presents a weak complaint that won’t even be considered until long after the election. But. what’s really funny is that candidate KVO couldn’t talk ANYONE else besides his brother into filing the complaint? LOL!

    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • Debann


    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • iambillsanders

    KVO. You Gotta Go

    You and Mayor Brown viscously falsely attacked me in 2022. KVO used Charlie Bishop to try and remove my RV . KVO and Administrator Perry made fun of a Form base code presenter by texting from the Dias. I complained and Perry attacked me and started the bogus internal investigation. Now I have filed a Mandumus suit against the City that is pending. I may file more complaints however these complaints never get heard or litigated and the review gets dropped . So I have decided to fix Bradenton and rid the good ole Boys. Help me to help you. Vote Bill Sanders for Mayor

    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • iambillsanders

    P.S. I will take a yard sign Daniel

    Saturday, June 1 Report this

  • Cat L

    Wooow...... KVO-Bro is also a tool. I can't wait to see how many people make signs now.

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • kmskepton

    "Sign" me up!

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • SlavaUkrainii

    I just paid $7.00 so I could reply. What KVO's brother is doing is so irritating it's beyond belief. It's an abuse of the legal system, harassment, and uncivil. It reflects the arrogance and authoritarianism that permeates the actions of local (and state) elected officers in Manatee County (and Florida). He and his brother are unqualified to work for us.

    PS: KVO should publicly disavow his brother's actions, apologize and quit his race for office. His "rationale" for switching to another race was insulting to any sentient being, including our furry friends.

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • WTF

    We are going to need a lot more signs.

    Worst Commissioner ever!

    One & Done Club

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • jimandlope

    Wow! If that’s the election law in Florida, Donald Trump ( convicted felon) candidate for President and alleged resident of Florida has violated this law on a daily basis. Does KVO’s brother want to file complaint(s). Wonder how KVOs brother got his county job? Judging from the mess KVO has created for District 3 seems as though a private citizen has the right to complain. If KVO can’t take the heat maybe he should seek another line of work? Jim Tierney

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • lmseybold

    Mr. Daniels is a private citizen voicing his opinion about our local politics. I am getting signs made to voice mine as well. "NO" Bill Sanders for mayor! an unethical lousy, unprofessional ex-politician!!! This man slandered previous candidates and lost. He is far from being a truth teller or transparent.

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • mp1616

    Now demand for the signs will increase even more! You know you're toast when you need family members to fight your battles. Residents of D3, don't lose sight of what's still at stake: electshoemaker.com.

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • rjckeuka4

    Interesting that KVO thinks it's O.K. to bully female Board members in meetings...not let them speak, criticize them, turn off their mikes, mock them...but when the tides are turned, he has to turn to his brother to protect him. That's what bullies do...pick on whom they perceive are the weaker, but when someone stands up to them, they fold like a paper airplane! Likewise, he's not running in District 3 because he's beginning to see the forest from the trees...he can't win there! But he thinks he can win "at large." That gives more of us a chance to torpedo him. Let's show him George!! You're the only one on the Board who represents the people.

    Sunday, June 2 Report this