Cape Coral City Council will refer to state attorney regarding investigation into Councilwoman Cummings

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City council is now looking for outside help with an investigation regarding a Cape Coral councilwoman.

Councilwoman Patty Cummings is fighting back against what she says is a mission to get her off the city council based on a false report.

A 27-page report said Councilwoman Patty Cummings did not live in District 4 while running to represent it on the Cape Coral City Council. In addition, a new report found she did not cooperate in the investigation.

When Cummings ran for the District 4 seat, she claimed to live along Palm Tree Boulevard, which is in the district. However, according to the report, there’s evidence that she lived on Southwest 50th Terrace, in District 2.

The report said Cummings did not live in District 4 until March 22 of this year, four months after the November election.

In addition to calling the report a “witch hunt,” Cummings said there is nothing else about where she lives that should call her qualifications into question.

Had cummings refused to forfeit her seat, the council would have had to have a hearing of their own with very limited subpoena rights. Instead, the council decided to turn this case over to the state attorney’s office, instead of trying to remove Cummings itself.

“I’m going to make a motion to charge cummings with conduct constituting grounds for forfeiture,” said Cape Coral councilman Robert Welsh.

Only, this motion didn’t pass. Instead, another was brought forth.

It took 26 seconds for Cummings to give her answer.

“You have all the data, so I have to say no,” Cummings said.

Though, all other councilmembers voted yes, recommending the investigation into Cummings be passed along to the state attorney, Amira Fox.

“I thought it was good to go to her office,” said Mayor Gunter, Cape Coral. “That way, she has all the powers in the state’s attorney’s office, when it comes to the powers of subpoena.”

An investigation by the city’s hired attorney, Vikki Sproat, already determined cummings did not live within her district when she ran for office, but some members of the council want more evidence and hope Fox can get it.

“To make sure we get the records that we need to see whether it’s bank statements, leases, or whatever they may be, her office will be able to get those probably more expeditiously than we could as a council,” Gunter said.

By law, Gov. Ron DeSantis can take action to remove Cummings from office.

After all, DeSantis has removed elected officials plenty of times before, most notably Hillsborough state attorney Andrew Warren, who went to court to get his job back and lost.

“The governor has wide authority to remove municipal officials, for a variety of reasons, including, of course, if the municipal official was not actually supposed to be able to run, if they weren’t actually eligible to serve, that would certainly be a reason the governor could remove,” said Aubrey Jewett, political science professor at UCF.

Cummings also posted a 20-minute video to her Facebook page in which she said all of this is a setup and denied not cooperating with the investigation.

“Now, I’m letting you all know my side, my truth of what’s really going on behind the scenes,” Cummings said. “My lawyer has sent her another letter letting her know the statute laws that I have met all qualifications and what she is doing is unconstitutional.”

Once the investigation is complete, the state attorney’s office will make a recommendation, and the council will pick it up from there.

WINK News has reached out to Cummings for her take on Monday’s special council meeting.

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