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Embattled council member planning run for mayor seat

By Staff | Jun 2, 2009

Cape Coral Councilmember Eric Grill said Monday that he intends to file the appropriate paperwork later this week to enter the mayoral race.
Grill has been under fire in recent months, the subject of a lawsuit filed by a Cape woman alleging that he took $50,000 for a construction project but never did the work. He has declined to comment on the matter publicly, saying only he “intended to honor the contracts.”
Grill said Monday that he does not think the lawsuit will adversely affect his chances in the race.
“I would hope (voters) are going to judge me on what I’ve done as a council member,” he said.
The competition for the mayor’s seat promises to be fierce. Mayor Jim Burch said last week that he is leaning toward running for re-election, and John Sullivan, a dogged critic of city spending, has already opened a campaign account.
“The more the merrier,” Sullivan said when informed of Grill’s intent to run.
In an interview last week, Burch said he is likely to run, but he has not given it much thought.
“I’ve been too busy running the city to get to it to be quite honest,” he said.
Sullivan’s presence in the race may have given Burch a nudge in the direction he was leaning.
“It (an announcement) will be soon and I’m leaning real heavily on running, and with that announcement (Sullivan running) I’m leaning even more heavily towards it,” Burch said.
Grill stated that he expects the mayor’s candidate list to grow, and that he would bow out of the race should someone he supports sign up.
“I think we’ll see a few more throw their hat in the ring,” he said.
When the mayor’s seat became temporarily open after Mayor Eric Feichthaler’s resignation last year, Grill applied for the position before withdrawing when Walter Fluegel, Grill’s former colleague on the Planning and Zoning Board, turned in his application.
“My intent is to commit (to running for mayor), then we’ll see,” he said.
In order to run for mayor, Grill is required by state law to resign from his seat on city council.