Former Naples mayor defends himself after controversial claims

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Former Naples Mayor Bill Barnett. Credit: WINK News.

An ethics complaint was filed against Naples Mayor Teresa Heitmann. In that complaint it says she made serious claims about former Mayor Bill Barnett.

Barnett is defending his name amid the controversy; however, Heitmann denies making claims against the former mayor as accused in the ethics complaint.

Regardless of her denial, Barnett does not think she goes far enough. He’s not accusing the mayor but says Heitmann shouldn’t have framed allegations as a political attack against her.

Barnett believes someone did make the claims, so he filed a formal complaint with the City of Naples ethics commission.

“How would you feel if you saw your name like that on the news?” Barnett said. “There’s no truth to it.”

Two weeks ago, Naples IT Director Bryan Dye filed this ethics complaint.

It says Mayor Heitmann accused former Mayor Barnett and Sheriff Kevin Rambosk of running a child prostitution ring out of Naples Airport.

Heitmann previously told WINK News she vehemently denies she said that.

Florida Commission on Ethics is investigating, but Barnett isn’t satisfied, so he went to the Naples City Council meeting Tuesday to speak.

“I finally said, ‘This is enough. I need to go address council,’” Barnett explained. “I need to say liste, ‘Somebody is lying.’”

Barnett believes somebody made the claim about him and the sheriff.

“It wouldn’t have come out if somebody didn’t say it,” Barnett said. “They didn’t pull it out of thin air.”

Barnett wants the newly formed Naples Ethics Commission to find out who as quickly as possible.

“Imagine if it’s your family and your kids or whatever that’s seeing it. How would they react?” Barnett said. “So that’s why we need to deal with this like pronto.”

Naples City Council might discuss Barnett’s comments and the ethics complaint Tuesday night.

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