Weather Alerts 1 View »

Cape city employees meet with FBI


Video by

Cape city employees meet with FBI

By Fox 4 News Staff. CREATED Nov 14, 2013

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - The FBI is sniffing around the halls of Cape Coral City Hall. Meeting with some city staff members. 

So far, the feds have spoken with two city employees, including outgoing councilman Chris Chulakez-Leetz and the city property broker, as well as former councilman Bill Deile. But those who voted in favor of the deal tout it as legit and call the questioning a witch hunt.

In the two empty freshwater lots on Southwest 15th Street, it's hard to miss the neon stake in the ground. The owners are in negotiations to swap the plots with some land the city bought on auction last year. 

"It was a good buy," said councilman Marty McClain.

Back in April, McClain was one of six who voted in favor of the deal: $13 million dollars for 652 acres in the north Cape. It was paid for with water, sewer and storm capital improvement funds and the general fund. 

"It was well vetted," said McClain. "It gave the city a good opportunity for a lot of different areas that we may be able to do something with."

But the purchase is now in question. Multiple sources tell Fox 4 the FBI is interviewing city employees about whether the acquisition was mishandled. 

"Was there any shady part to this deal?" asked Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann. "Absolutely not," said McClain. "Everything was fully disclosed and in the open."

The feds inquiry comes less than a week after incumbents Chris Chulakes-Leetz and Mayor John Sullivan lost the election. One former city councilman, Delores Bertolini, wonders if that's a coincidence.

"I think it's all to impact the glorious moment we should be having on Monday for the city," said Bertolini.

With the swearing-in of the Cape's first female mayor, some hope the controversy doesn't leave a stain on the city.

"If the FBI finds one little thing, they'll have to proceed and that will put the whole city under a cloud again," added Bertolini.

An FBI spokesperson said the agency can't confirm or deny that it's looking into the $13 million land deal.