Patty Cummings attended city council meeting after arrest

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The city councilwoman arrested and charged with three felonies spoke out at a council meeting for the first time since her arrest.

Patty Cummings, who represents District 4 in Cape Coral, is accused of running for office and violating city law by falsely saying she lived in that district.

Earlier this year, an anonymous complaint to the governor sounded the alarm. Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office refused to take action because it was anonymous, so the city launched an independent investigation and then handed the case to the state attorney, who issued the arrest warrant.

Cummings is expected to take her seat on the city council at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday.

The people of Cape Coral WINK News met with are not willing to wait to see how the legal proceedings play out.

They’ve already decided they won’t trust Cummings again, guilty or not.

Marion Kristek is one of them. She lives in Cape Coral District 4, and she said many people like her will never trust Cummings again.

“I don’t know why she wanted to get in this seat. I have no idea what her politics are, but it’s not right,” she said.

The state attorney charged Cummings with three felonies because, in essence, she believes she cheated her way onto the city council, claiming she leased and legally resided in the home along Palm Tree Boulevard.

An investigation offers evidence she did not. The owner of that home told investigators:

“That since (2011) they have lived in this house, and no one else has lived in the house” and “That he could not provide an answer to why Cummings had her driver’s license and vehicles registered to his home address.”

People are asking how Cummings can keep her council seat when facing criminal charges. The answer is she can unless the governor decides to remove her.

Cape’s mayor said he expects DeSantis to weigh in, but so far, he’s not tipping his hand.

During Wednesday’s meeting, she read this statement:

“So, I am and will be pleading not guilty, and I am innocent until proven otherwise. I have no intent of addressing pending legal matters.”

WINK spoke with neighbors Dianne and Paul Nunziato, who were approached by investigators three months ago. They live across from the home where Cummings claimed to live.

They said they had never seen a woman come and go from the house. They said someone cuts the grass there every Tuesday.

During Wednesday’s meeting, one agenda item was appointing city council members to more than a dozen committees, boards, and commissions.

Cummings had been on several of these boards previously but was not appointed to any this time, only becoming an alternate to one board by default.

“Should anyone disagree with my votes, use the political process and not the court system or, how about vote on the dais, like you saw tonight, versus prosecuting me,” Cummings said.

During the city council meeting, the mayor said the criminal investigation would be addressed, but it never was.

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