City Attorney takes Brien Spina complaint off agenda
The noise complaint filed against the owner of 300 Capistrano Drive, Brien Spina of Bonita Springs, has been removed from the Special Magistrate’s docket scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 11.
The city attorney, Alan Gabriel, wrote in a memo he was directing it be withdrawn due to the “ongoing investigations regarding this matter.”
When appropriate, the matter will be rescheduled for a hearing, he said.
The Spina family has requested a separate investigation by the state of Florida Ethics Commission into the actions of Marco Island City Council member Joseph Batte. They question whether he had violated the law in what they are alleging was his direction of the Marco Island police department to enforce code violations against his home.
That request came on the heels of the city council choosing not to discuss hiring of a separate independent investigator on the request of councilman Victor Rios.
“The Ethics Commission is the right venue for this,” said council vice chairman Robert Brown. “We can be assured that they will do a fair and unbiased review of the facts, rather than some politically biased witch hunt.”
The commission is a nine-member board that sits in Tallahassee and investigates breaches in public trust for both public employees and elected officials.
Marco Island police were called to investigate a complaint of noise at 300 Capistrano Drive on March 10 by Batte.
They subsequently gave a notice to appear to both the occupants and the owner of the property, Spina. The occupant who was cited on the property later paid the fine and the owner (Spina) was scheduled to be heard before the Code Magistrate On Tuesday.
A furor erupted over the issue at the city council meeting in late July when Spina and his wife, Tracy, appeared before council to complain about Batte’s actions and provide emails that allegedly showed Batte violated the city charter by ordering police officials to deal with the issue.
A secondary issue that arose was that of the illegal accessing of the police computer system that resulted in an incomplete report being given out to the public by someone within the department. That report had personal information such as social security numbers, driver’s license information and other data not readily available to the general public.
Police Chief Al Schettino subsequently contacted the State’s Attorney Office and requested an outside independent review for possible criminal prosecution of that breach of those secure records.
Batte and his wife have been away, dealing with a family tragedy that saw his daughter in-law lose her life in an automotive accident in New Jersey. They are helping their son with his two young children deal with the loss of his wife and mother.