COLLIER COUNTY — For a brief moment Tuesday, the Collier County Commission’s Chambers was like the scene of a clichéd courtroom drama.
During the hours-long commission meeting, a citizen insinuated that two commissioners may have violated a Florida Sunshine Law, provoking Chairman Fred Coyle to pound his gavel for a recess.
John Lundin, a liberal Naples activist, spoke during the public comments portion of Tuesday’s meeting about Jackson Laboratory.
In one picture of Coletta, Lundin pointed to a woman, only seen from behind in the photo, and suggested it looked like Fiala — though he mispronounced her name.
Lundin suggested that Coletta and Fiala may have broken a Sunshine Law by associating together on the trip. He demanded the commissioners recuse themselves on any Jackson Lab-related votes.
Coyle interrupted Lundin several times and instructed him to leave the podium.
Lundin refused, arguing he had a right to talk for the allotted three minutes that all receive during the public comments portion of the meetings.
Several members of the audience also shouted down Lundin.
Coyle warned Lundin that he was making possibly “libelous” statements.
“I suggest you sit down,” Coyle said.
Lundin responded, “Why are you afraid to let people talk?”
Coyle then cut Lundin off and called for a recess.
When the meeting resumed, Lundin was allowed an additional minute and a half to finish his statement.
Lundin said he would file a complaint with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the state for a Sunshine Law violation against commissioners Fiala and Coletta.
Mike Hyde, vice president for advancement at Jackson, identified the woman in question from the photo as a donor visiting the lab from Arizona and not Fiala.
During a break, Chuck Hewett, chief operating officer of Jackson, said a Jackson Lab staff person identified the other woman in question in the photograph as an Arizona supporter of the lab.
Hewett said the two commissioners went to great lengths to not be in the same room together during their trip.
“(Coletta) would not even be in the same auditorium, we set up a video link,” Hewett said. “To impeach their integrity is pretty low.”
Staff Writer Liz Freeman contributed to this report. Connect with Aaron Hale at http://www.naplesnews.com/staff/aaron-hale
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Reporting from Bar Harbor, Maine: