BLUE MARTINI STORIES & DOCUMENTS
- VIDEO: Experts weigh in on Blue Martini reports
- 11 more report drugging allegations at Blue Martini
- VIDEO: Blue Martini investigation grows to 37 reports, no answers though
- Brent Batten: Independent Blue Martini probe takes a wrong turn
- Former Blue Martini waitress claims to be victim of spiked drink; suspects bartenders
- Over two dozen Blue Martini customers come forward to share their black-out stories
- Four more who think they were drugged at Blue Martini come forward
- Collier Sheriff’s Office investigating Blue Martini again after receiving 14 more complaints
- Former Blue Martini bartender: 'People are overindulging in booze'
- Women report sudden blackouts at popular Naples hangout, Blue Martini
- DOCUMENT: Collier County Sheriff's Office report: Cynthia Kathryn Booker-Gatz (.pdf)
- DOCUMENT: Collier County Sheriff's Office report: Anne Marie Contieri (.pdf)
- DOCUMENT: Collier County Sheriff's Office report: Unidentified Person (.pdf)
NAPLES — Mercato officials believe the situation is serious.
In partnership with the food service and dining establishments at their Mercato Lifestyle Development, Lutgert Companies spokeswoman Lisa Nason said Lutgert and the Barron Collier Companies announced Friday that they would establish a safety task force to investigate and address possible concerns regarding the safe distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the Mercato.
About 50 people have come forward over the past few weeks to report they believe their drinks were drugged while patronizing establishments in the Mercato.
“We’re not sure about all the facts of this situation, but together with law enforcement, our restaurant operators and industry safety experts, we’re going to find out what is going on,” said Scott Lutgert, Chairman of The Lutgert Companies. “We’re committed to providing a lifestyle setting that includes not just first-class amenities, but also a first-class commitment to personal comfort and safety.”
The first task force meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Nason said.
Developer representatives are expected to meet with members of local law enforcement, industry experts and local business owners.
In addition to working with safety and law enforcement experts conducting their own investigations, Nason said the task force would also serve as a clearinghouse for the food and beverage tenants to share their experiences and best practices.
“Our hope, obviously, is that no wrongdoing has occurred. But rest assured, if anything is uncovered, to the fullest extent of the law, we’ll stand behind our law enforcement community,” said Lutgert in a written statement.
About 50 people have now come forward to report that they believe they were drugged while dining at Mercato restaurants, most of them after the Daily News published a story on March 4 about the accusations at Blue Martini. A vast majority of complaints have come from customers of the Blue Martini, though more recently others have reported being drugged at Piola and McCormick & Schmicks Seafood Restaurant.
Although details of the Sheriff’s Offices investigation remain cloudy, the agency reported Thursday that it is interviewing Blue Martini employees, and in February began submitting samples of Blue Martini drinks for testing by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Customers who believe they may have been drugged at a Collier County bar or restaurant are asked to report it to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at (239) 252-9300. Blue Martini has established a hotline for concerned customers and community members at (239) 206-1987.