Published: Aug 31, 2010 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 31, 2010 3:10 PM EDT

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. - The Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District's Legal Counsel has sent a letter to Robert Sharkey, candidate for Fire Board Seat #1, demanding a public retraction of comments made in emails dated August 22, 2010.

In these emails, which were widely distributed within the Bonita Springs community, Mr. Sharkey falsely accused the Fire Board of approving funding for Fire Commissioner Ed FitzGerald to attend an executive management class at Harvard in 2008. He also accused the Fire Board of approving funding for Commissioner FitzGerald, Fire Chief Phil Kinsey and Assistant Fire Chief Ken Craft to attend an international fire prevention conference in Paris, France. There was never any discussion regarding a trip to Paris. Each of these statements is false and reckless, and defamatory.

Fire Commissioner FitzGerald, who is running for his current Fire Board Seat #1, has also filed an official complaint with the FL Elections Commission.

The letter from Fire District's Legal Counsel, copies of the emails from Mr. Sharkey and the minutes from the Fire Board meeting discussing Mr. FitzGerald's request to attend the class at Harvard are available from the Fire District on request.