Hi bandit1619, welcome from me too!
I bet her plant is Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
and the white stuff on the soil could very well be mold: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/d...
If the soil is beginning to smell funny it could be stagnant from too much water. The bare spot sounds like that particular part of the tree was not getting adequate light, from not being rotated periodically.
I'd suggest removing the entire plant from the container, wash every bit of soil from the roots, trim any dried or dead roots, thoroughly wash the container and replant in a fresh, well draining potting medium. The Weeping Fig tends to be a bit "fussy" about being moved. Years ago I had a few Ficus benjamina trees and if I even moved them a foot or two ... they'd drop leaves like crazy. At times they would even lose every single leaf to the point where I'd have a bare tree but they'd eventually leaf out again.