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LCSO investigates complaint against Cape Coral official

By Staff | Jan 6, 2009

A complaint alleging that a Cape Coral council member took money for a construction project but failed to perform the work has been referred to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Property Crimes Unit.
The State Attorney’s Office received the complaint concerning Councilmember Eric Grill in December. It sent a letter to Lt. Shawn Ramsey on Dec. 30 asking that the sheriff’s office “review the complaint, and take what action, if any, is dictated by the results of that review.”
No charges had been filed as of Tuesday.
Referral to another agency is not uncommon, said Samantha Syoen, spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office.
“It is not uncommon for us to refer a matter for review to another agency,” she said. “The State Attorney’s Office basically acted as a conduit in this matter.”
Additional comment was directed to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
“Any further comment in this matter will come from the sheriff’s office as the matter has now been referred to them,” Syoen said.
The sheriff’s office confirmed Tuesday that it had received the complaint.
“Yes, we are in receipt of what was forwarded by the State Attorney’s Office and we will investigate and give them any findings,” said sheriff’s office spokesperson Tony Schall. “They can then determine what to do, if anything.”
Lisa Johnson, owner of Tropical Twisters Gymnastics, filed the complaint with the Cape Coral Police Department. It states Grill took money for a construction project but had not paid subcontractors for the initial work on the project.
Johnson said she is pleased the sheriff’s office is investigating the complaint.
“I am very happy that it at least got turned over to Lee County so it can be a criminal investigation,” she said.
Johnson said she contracted with Grill’s company, Grand Cape Construction, for a new 7,000-square-foot gymnasium in north Cape Coral for $800,000 in November 2007.
She said she gave Grill an initial $3,500 payment in February, another $3,500 payment for builder’s risk insurance in May, and Partners Bank tendered a $46,000 payment to Grand Cape Construction in June. Two months later, Johnson became suspicious when Grill stopped returning her phone calls.
“About August I stopped hearing back from him,” she said in an earlier interview.
In November, Honc Construction issued Johnson a lien notice for $20,000 of clearing work done in September and authorized by Grand Cape Construction. She claims that Grill never paid Honc.
Johnson fired Grill in December, and she has since hired Hammer Construction to build the new gym.
Grill, who has consistently declined to comment on the matter, demurred again Tuesday.
“There’s nothing to comment on until something comes back to me,” he said, when reached by phone.
Johnson said she will file a civil suit sometime this week, and is hopeful the legal action will reap compensation.
“I am very confidant with that,” she said when asked if she was confidant she will get her money back.
“There’s no way Eric even has a case. He has nothing to show for (the payments) except me with a lot of bills,” Johnson added.