By Steve “Stef” Stefanides
For over a year now Councilman Joseph Batte has sat quietly awaiting a review of three ethics complaints brought against him by the former owner’s wife of a home that was the subject of numerous complaints by Batte and other neighbors due to excessive noise.
Ms. Tracy Calvert, the wife of Brian Spina, the former owner of the property utilized as a rental and located at 300 Capistrano Court, and Mr. Keith Perry, a friend of Mr. Spina, alleged that Batte had misused his position to direct members of the Marco Island Police Department to engage in enforcement actions against the Spina property.
They further found no basis to a claim that Batte had misused his office for enhancements to his own property. Batte had requested that the city attend to a problem with an “outflow pipe” for storm drainage that was the city’s responsibility to maintain. The deterioration of that pipe was degrading the seawall integrity on the Batte property.
The commission also went on to void a compliant against Batte that he used influence over the Chief of Police to address a parking citation. They found no probable cause to support to allegations.
Batte had also been accused of requesting extra patrols around his residence. “That claim was a bit outlandish. Many of our residents call into us if they are going to be gone for an extended period of time and we are glad to have that information and make the occassional extra patrol and have the contact information for when they are gone,” said Marco Police Chief Al Schettino.
Schettino himself had been cleared earlier this summer of similar complaints made by the Spinas to the Ethics Commission. The Commission found there was no basis for those charges either.