Cape council expects to fill Eric Grill’s seat
Eric Grill’s suspension from office means a new face will fill the District 5 council member seat, at least temporarily.
The time frame of that turnover will probably be no more than 30 days, according to Mayor John Sullivan.
Sullivan said there’s neither the time nor the money to hold a special election, and that council will likely appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
“People are going to have to apply,” Sullivan said. “We’ll look over applications and resumes and try to pick the person best suited for the job.”
Sullivan also want to make it clear that no decision has been passed down on Grill in a court of law.
“It’s too bad it had to happen, but I want people to understand he’s not convicted yet,” Sullivan added.
The State Attorney’s Office officially filed a felony charge against Grill on Wednesday.
The charge is making or furnishing a false statement in conjunction with a construction project Grill’s company was supposed to complete for David Malmberg. The charge is a third degree felony, punishable by up to three years in prison.
The state did not file on the grand theft and fraud charges Grill was previously arrested on following an investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The State Attorney’s consideration to date has not sustained those original counts, which would require proof of criminal intent, officials said. Subsequent formal charges, if any, would need to be filed by June 8.
Councilmember Marty McClain said he was surprised by the charge. He added that the decision by the State Attorneys office does lift any burden from council on how to handle Grill’s removal.
“I’m kind of stunned,” McClain said. “It’s off the shoulders of council, but we have to let the system run its course, that’s why we have those systems in place.”
Grill could return to his seat should he be adjudicated not guilty.
If that happens, any person appointed would have to step down for Grill’s return.
When reached on Wednesday, Grill had no comment and referred all future comments to his lawyer, Lee Hollander.
Council member Pete Brandt said he has some ideas about who would be suitable to fill the now vacated seat.
While declining to say who he had in mind, Brandt did say 30 days would be sufficient to find a replacement.
“A total of 30 – 45 days should be ample time to fill the seat,” he said.
Grill was also linked to helping foil a murder-for-hire plot recently, in which he was contacted by an alleged would-be hit man, offering his services to Grill to eliminate the two people — Lisa Johnson and David Malmberg — who said Grill took their money and did not build their projects.
Grill turned the man in to authorities and is a witness in that case.