Report accuses Marco Island council members of trying to cover up Niblock battery

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A former Marco Island city manager is accused of battery, and now two council members are being accused of trying to cover it up.

“I’m disturbed if they really tried to get involve and settle things before it was fully investigated,” said concerned citizen Paul Cantwell.

Police reports say former city manager Lee Niblock tried to grope and kiss a Marco Island school administration employee. Councilman Honig found out about it a short time later.

Honig says he was the first council member to hear about the incident but he didn’t go to police because he didn’t believe an actual battery occurred. He adds that he was trying to protect the victim’s identity.

But people who say they voted for him aren’t buying it.

“He may have tried to think of her first, but still that’s not how you do it,” Cantwell said.

The report implicates Council Chariman Jared Grifoni as well.

Interviews in the report state that Grifoni urged the victim to sign a resolution that would include an apology from both parties. If she didn’t sign it, funding for the school could have been at stake, according to the report.

“To contact this woman and try to have her sign a resolution is completely inappropriate to me,” Cantwell said.

Councilman Honig denies the claims that Grifoni essentially blackmailed the victim with school funding priorities.

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