FDLE investigating Cape Coral mayor’s office

CAPE CORAL, Fla. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the office of Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki.

The investigation is in regard to an ethics complaint, Sawicki said, declining to elaborate. It began this summer, according to the FDLE.

Sawicki announced in March she wouldn’t run for re-election in November, citing a desire to “focus my energies on building my company when my term ends” in a lengthy Facebook post. Her term ends next month.

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Sawicki’s personal life made headlines earlier this year. She filed a restraining order against a city employee who eventually became her husband of two months and sparred with other City Council members during public meetings.

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City Councilman Richard Leon called on the state ethics commission to investigate Sawicki in August 2016, accusing her of accepting gifts — including a $3,500 diamond ring and a lease for a $47,000 Audi — from a city vendor.

The gifts came from Brian Rist, president and CEO of the parent company of Storm Smart Industries, which has sponsored the city’s Red, White, and Boom event on the Fourth of July. The gifts came while Rist and Sawicki were romantically involved, he said.

The FDLE isn’t saying whether the investigation is linked to that ethics complaint.

“I find it interesting that FDLE is not saying that,” Leon said. “And I find it interesting that FDLE does not normally investigate ethics complaints. They investigate criminal actions.”

Sawicki exchanged words with Leon during a council meeting after he lodged the complaint. She threatened him with a defamation lawsuit after he wrote about her on Facebook.

Writer:Katherine Viloria
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