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SAO clears officials in Sunshine investigation; Council member calls waste of time

By Staff | Sep 23, 2008

Two Cape Coral council members did not break the Sunshine Law in May when they discussed a graph containing budget data, according to a letter from the State Attorney’s Office.

A complaint was made to the state attorney by a Cape citizen after Councilmembers Pete Brandt and Bill Deile discussed a budget amendment during the council’s May 5 meeting.

“Although we can certainly understand why a complaint was brought to us, based upon the statements made at the council meeting (May 5), we have determined that the evidence is insufficient to prove that an offense occurred,” the letter from Assistant State Attorney Dean Plattner to Brandt and Deile reads in part.

Brandt released a statement Monday criticizing both the investigation and other council members.

“The resolution of this matter is just as I expected because I was confident that there had been no Sunshine violation. The investigation that was called for was a waste of taxpayers’ money,” Brandt’s statement reads in part.

He also said “some members of council spend time seemingly looking for ways to be critical of some of their colleagues.”

Deile said he wants to find out more about the Sunshine investigation before commenting on it.

“I have to investigate what’s behind it,” Deile said.

Brandt indicated the situation was a misunderstanding.

“We were both going to present a table of information. It was just data that everybody had anyway. I made some poor choices of words that I used,” Brandt said.