Brien Spina alleges city harassment
Monday night's Marco Island City Council discussions took an uncomfortable turn when businessman Brien Spina, owner of a home at 300 Capistrano, took to the podium during the normal 6 p.m. break for citizens comments not related to items on the council's agenda and spoke to what he believed to be harassment by city council member Joe Batte.
Spina alleged that Marco Island police were acting on the bequest of Batte in the harassment of short-term renters who utilized his property. He also said that Marco police had altered documents and that officers were bullied by superiors to write violations against his property.
Batte, a retired federal law enforcement officer and former Marine, sat stoically as both Spina and his wife, Tracy, came forward with what they alleged were doctored police reports and emails between Batte and local police.
Some of the alleged harassment dated back to a 2011 Christmas party that Spina had hosted at the residence on Capistrano and complaints were made about Christmas carols being sung on their lanai across the canal from the Batte residence.
In March, Batte again called police and emailed officials about a large party of spring breakers. This incident had resulted in a code citation being served on Spina, which will require him to appear before the special magistrate on Aug. 11.
Both Brien and Tracy Spina decried the use of what they described as vulgar language and negative representations of their family.
"You cannot take away our liberties and I am requesting a full investigation of these actions by Mr. Batte and the police department for erasing of official records," said Tracy Spina.
Sacher suggested that the Spinas meet with the city manager to discuss this issue further.