Sciarrino files complaint against Kiester

Marco Island resident Sal Sciarrino on Wednesday filed a complaint against city council member Chuck Kiester about the councilor’s deleting e-mails from his personal computer.

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Sciarrino had said Monday he would make the decision by Thursday whether he would file the complaint with the Florida State Attorney’s Office.

“I went to the State Attorney’s Office in Naples and they said to go to the Economic Crimes Unit at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office,” Sciarrino said Thursday. “I just filed what I thought was in violation of the Sunshine Law and they accepted it.”

He added the complaint was filed with Sgt. David White of the unit.

“He said thank you and we’ll investigate it,” Sciarrino said. “It’s in the hands of the law. The law shall prevail. We’ll see what happens.”

Sciarrino received more than 1,000 e-mails from Kiester. The councilor has admitted that he had deleted e-mails relating to city business since taking office but added he didn’t know the e-mails were public record.

Last week, Kiester told Marco Island City Clerk Laura Litzan he had tossed e-mails into a box in a closet to be stored temporary and that his wife would deliver them to the city.

Marco Island City Councilor Ted Forcht turned over more than 4,000 e-mails after another public records request was made.

The two requests come in the wake of a Marco Eagle article on Jan. 29 that revealed alleged violations of the Government-in-the Sunshine Law.

Marco Island resident “Butch” Neylon, who said he suspected that the law had been violated, obtained several e-mails from Litzan under a public records request that were sent by former and current city councilors and city staff.

Later, Neylon filed a second request and received approximately 9,000 e-mails sent by councilors and city staff during 2005 and 2006. He turned the correspondence over to the State Attorney’s Office in Naples. An investigator has been assigned to determine whether the former and current councilors discussed city business outside of public meetings. The councilors, city attorney and city staff have denied the allegations.

No official rulings regarding any possible Sunshine Law violations have been made by any court of law.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 15

happyharry writes:

Sal, looks like you deleted some important email. Maybe we should take a good long look at your email records.....what's good for the goose!!

Email obtained from Public Records......

Monday, December 12, 2005 10:54:00 AM
From: Bill Moss
Vince Cautero
Subject: Fwd: code enforcement board
To: Mike Minozzi
Cc: Terri DiSciullo

Dear Councilor:

Mr. Sciarrino approached me Saturday evening and expressed significant dissatisfaction that he was not notified of the Code Enforcement Board meeting scheduled for December 13th. On Sunday I went to City Hall, picked up his agenda packet, and delivered it to his home.

I inquired with CD staff as to their notice procedure for the Code Enforcement Board. Their explanation is in the below message. Apparently they have sent an e-mail notice to him for the past year. I have asked the secretary to the board to call him to confirm whether he has an e-mail account or prefers another method of notification.

Bill Moss
City Manager

----- Original Message -----

Monday, December 12, 2005 10:44:40 AM
From: Vince Cautero
Subject: code enforcement board
To: Bill Moss


Mr. Sciarrino was sent an email on Nov. 29, as well as the other six members of the CEB, announcing a meeting on Dec. 13. In addition, Mr. Sciarrino came into the office approximately two weeks ago to sign the official "notice of hearing" documents, as the chair is required to do prior to all CEB meetings.

In the future I will call him to assure he is aware of the meeting dates.


Vince Cautero
Community Development Director
City of Marco Island

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 12:06:23 PM
From: Bill Moss
Subject: Re(2): Fwd: code enforcement board
To: "" <>

Thanks. I did not know that. He did admit to Nancy Paton that he gets a lot of junk e-mail and he may have deleted the notice. Nancy will try to remember to call him in addition to sending an e-mail

happy34145 writes:

Is this the same sal who gets up at the council meetings and rants about why cant we all get along - why are such mean things happening to these people who are serving our community. is sal not hypacritical - he is targeting one counselor for no reason. just because mr kiester is one of the only councilors who has listened to the public and wants to do what he thinks is best.
mr Sciarrino you are a fake and a phony when you get up at the podium and lecture everyone about getting along and having respect for our city leaders. you not a very good christian sir - you are targeting one person for not reason other than you dont like that mr kiester listens to his community.
when mr neylon requested the emails he did not target any counselors - it was just a request due to the fact that we have been repeatedly lied to and told half truths by some of our city leaders.
when even mr minnozzi is questioning the fact that some of the emails seem to be breaking the sunshine laws - then there is a problem.

lauralbi1 writes:

I have delivered e-mails to the Sherriff that Mr. Kiester deleted that dealt specifically with City business, not personal business, where two way communication took place. It seems that Mr. Kiester deleted these files and did not send them to Public Records storage. These e-mails are a lot different than the ones shown above. I am confident that the appropriate powers to be will mnake determinations on all e-mails and all actions. I feel that Mr. Kiesters days on the Council and perhaps as a free man, are numbered. Given the fact that he was instructed on how to delete e-mails from his computer and did so. Criminal behavior, blatant disregard for the Law, YOU BET !!!!
Ed Issler

lowus writes:

...and did the Sherriff say "what the hell do you want me to do with these?"
Its medication time Mr. Issler.

strike3 writes:

did the sherriff office erupt into laughter when you dropped off pages of e-mails? because i can't stop blue lights coming here, maybe a padded truck and some guys with a straight jacket.

happyharry writes:

Does anyone know the directions to the "funny farm"

How about it Ed, do you??

1Paradiselost writes:

Go back to New York where you belong.

imgoingbroke writes:

"Blue light are coming"
I think this was code for 'the cops are coming' when JoeyWalnuts and his buddies where poaching Gators.
I actually like that "blue light are coming"
I can't stop cracking up.

imgoingbroke writes:

... still laughing....

happyharry writes:

Find a current or even former member of the Code Enforcement board and ask about Sal.

There are several former members willing to talk, they became former because they couldn't put up with Sal, especially when he was the "chair"

Time for Sal to go to pasture, before he does more damage to his credibility.

patton1 writes:

What goes around comes around....

bbyrone46 writes:

Sal, did your pal Mike Minozzi put you up to this?

conchsoup writes:

In case you missed it bbyrone-happyharry-paradiselost-et al--here is the NDN editor's opinion supporting Sal's call for sunshine on Kiester
This is the Sunshine State, Marco, so please don't keep us in the dark
By Phil Lewis

Sunday, March 25, 2007

In terms of open government and sunshine, it seems things have gone from bad to worse on Marco Island.

A month or so ago, a public records request to obtain copies of e-mails exchanged by Marco city officials, including a few elected city council members, indicated that city issues had been discussed outside of open council meetings.

The state attorney is looking into the matter.

Then, a week or so ago, a public records request of e-mails received and sent by two other elected council members indicated that public records may have been destroyed. What’s worse, one city council member told Daily News reporter Liam Dillon that he saw nothing wrong with doing away with such e-mails.

That’s especially scary.

Playing in the background of all this is the highly contentious and polarizing island sewer project. The city’s plan to install sewer lines to replace septic tanks has turned into a civic civil war. It might not pit brother against brother, but it seems to have pitted neighbor against neighbor.

The first alarm about e-mails was sounded by the anti-sewer group. They rightfully requested and received e-mails from the fall of 2005 when city council was discussing and making some decisions on the sewer plan.

After the contents of those e-mails were examined, it appeared to some — including this newspaper — that the state’s Sunshine Law had been violated or at least skirted.

Then, the other side in the sewer war rightfully requested under Florida law the e-mails of two new city council members — Chuck Kiester and Ted Forcht — who were elected last spring on a platform that could be described as "anti-sewer/pro-septic."

Kiester reported that he had destroyed some e-mails, because he hadn’t realized they constituted public records. Forcht said, initially, that the e-mails in question between his home e-mail account and constituents were his business and he would destroy them rather than make them public.

Forcht was wrong in his contention that the public had no right to the e-mails and hopefully he will abandon his threats to wantonly break state law.

This e-mail case might also end up on the state attorney’s desk.

Hopefully there’s a lesson in all of this for public officials on Marco as well as those looking on from afar.
(continued next post)

conchsoup writes:

(Continued from previous post)
Elected officials accept a number of responsibilities when they take the oath of office. A responsibility that seems to have fallen by the wayside on the island is the duty to do business in the sunshine and to maintain a healthy respect for the people’s right to know.

All elected officials should embrace the following contention from the Office of the Florida Attorney General:

"The best way to ensure that government truly represents the people it serves is to keep government open and accessible to those people."

We hope residents of Marco Island understand that government in the sunshine is a far more important issue than the septic-to-sewer project, even if some of their elected officials don’t.

Phil Lewis is editor of the Daily News

happyharry writes:

Conch, Thank you for reproducing the above posting which we have all read.

Our postings are the secret emails that went around City Hall when they were stacking the deck on the STRP. Until we brought them out they were buried.

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