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Grill plans to serve on council when board reconvenes after hiatus

By Staff | Dec 31, 2009

When the Cape Coral City Council reconvenes Jan. 11, Councilmember Eric Grill will be on the dais.
Grill previously requested a leave of absence from his duties as a council member following his Dec. 15 arrest on fraud and larceny charges, but rescinded that request this week.
In a memo to his fellow council members dated Dec. 28, Grill wrote, “Please consider this memo as notice that I am withdrawing my previous request for a leave of absence.”
City Council’s first meeting of the year is a workshop, and it will not hold a voting meeting until Monday, Jan. 25.
Grill will face his arraignment Tuesday, Jan 19. It was previously reported he would plead not guilty to all charges.
District 1 Councilmember Marty McClain said Tuesday that Grill has every right to sit on the dais.
He said it’s unfortunate that City Council has to deal with the situation upon its return from break, but it will deal with it nonetheless.
“We know something happened but none of us know the exact details,” McClain said. “I’m not saying he’s innocent, but far be it from me to make accusations until he’s found guilty.”
Lee County Sheriff’s Office charged Grill after an investigation found he allegedly stole more than $65,000 from two construction clients with promises to build, but instead used the cash on clothes, gifts and food while never delivering on those promises.
Tropical Twisters Gymnasium owner Lisa Johnson, one of Grill’s accusers, said on Wednesday that she is disappointed that Grill was going to be on the dais.
“I’m really disappointed the city is not taking action on this,” she said. “I think he just needs a paycheck. He needs the money so badly.”
Grill has made no public comments regarding the arrest, and has yet to indicate that he will vacate his set.
According to state law, only Gov. Charlie Crist can suspend an elected official, if that person is charged with a felony.
The state attorney’s office recently opened its review of Grill’s case.
It was reported on Tuesday that if the state attorney’s office is still reviewing the case close to Grill’s arraignment date, the arraignment date will be pushed back.