Naples City Council discusses ethics complaint against mayor, claims against former mayor

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Naples City Council spoke about the former mayor’s complaint with the Naples Ethics Commission during its regular meeting Tuesday and the ethics complaint filed against the current mayor.

There’s an ethics complaint filed against current Naples Mayor Teresa Heitmann. In that complaint it says she made some very serious claims about former Mayor Bill Barnett during his time in office. The mayor told us last week she did not make the allegations, and Barnett wants to find out who did.

It was the first time we heard from the council about these complaints involving the mayor, and it was mixed opinions about whether there should be an investigation locally or not.

The mayor told council Tuesday night she supports it.

“I’m going through this, and I have been accused of things,” Heitmann said.

May 17, Naples IT Director Bryan Dye filed the ethics complaint accusing Heitmann of withholding information and using her position as an abuse of power.

One of those accusations was a claim that Barnett and Sheriff Kevin Rambosk were running a child prostitution ring out of Naples Airport.

“The accusations they made, I mean, everybody knows they’re just ludicrous,” Barnett said.

That’s why Barnett went before council during the meeting and filed his own ethics complaint with the city.

“Well, somebody’s definitely lying. OK,” Barnett said at the meeting. “And somebody’s got to get to the bottom of it, so if the state ethics committee doesn’t, hopefully, ours does because they could do it sooner.”

Barnett pushed council to get the Naples Ethics Commission to investigate now.

“I don’t think anyone suggests two co-current investigations,” Vice Mayor Terry Hutchinson said during the meeting. “Then, what happens if you come out with two different outcomes? Let’s get this first one done, and then, we can talk about substitute actions.”

While Hutchison does not think a local investigation is necessary, Mayor Heitmann didn’t dismiss the idea and thinks there should be more time for the council to make a decision.

“I truly don’t believe we should be acting as if I’m guilty before I haven’t even been given a fair trial through the state,” Heitmann said. “I do think that we think we should move forward and let the state come through take it to the local, but I don’t think it’s something you are going to have to do today.”

Council asked itself if it’s the obligation of the council to get the local ethics commission involved. The council is having the city attorney look closer into the matter and will discuss it at another meeting.

Sheriff Rambosk says he has no further comment on the matter.

We called IT Director Dye Tuesday night but did hear back.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.