Arrest warrant in opposition to Cape Coral Councilmember defined

The complete arrest warrant obtained by The Information-Press incorporates info that additional incriminates a Cape Coral Metropolis Council member linked to election fraud.

Martin Kenney, an investigator with the Workplace of the State Legal professional, twentieth Judicial Circuit, signed off on the warrant charging Patty Cummings with three third-degree felonies after discovering possible trigger that Cummings violated three state statutes.

The affidavit for the arrest warrant additional cements the concept that Cummings by no means lived in her district, {that a} fellow councilmember urged her to run and fielded questions on dwelling within the district, and incorporates incriminating testimony from the householders of the deal with she used to run within the district.

Patty Cummings warrant for arrest

Cummings warrant, issued Monday, reads as follows:

  • On or about Might 9, 2022, in Lee County, Florida, did unlawfully and knowingly make a false assertion, knowingly conceal a fabric truth, or in any other case commit a fraud in an utility for a driver license or identification card, opposite to Florida Statute 322.212(5)(a).
  • On or about June 14, 2022, in Lee County, Florida, did unlawfully and willfully swear or affirm falsely to an oath or affirmation in reference to or arising out of voting or elections, opposite to Florida Statute 104.011(1).
  • On or about November 18, 2022, in Lee County, Florida, did unlawfully and willfully swear or affirm falsely to an oath or affirmation in reference to or arising out of voting or elections, opposite to Florida Statute 104.011(1).

Earlier Protection Governor suspends Cape Coral metropolis councilwoman days after arrest

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What prompted an investigation into election fraud?

The council voted in late June to ahead an investigation to the state legal professional into Cummings that discovered points along with her residential {qualifications} to run for District 4.

Town employed investigator Vicki L. Sproat, an legal professional with Boy Agnew Potanovic Miller of Fort Myers, on March 24, and he or she submitted to the town a ultimate report in June. The report discovered that Cummings was neither a full nor part-time resident of the district when she ran, received her seat, and was sworn in as an official.

Although complete in its strategy, the town’s exterior investigator didn’t have the ability to compel testimony from choose key people.

Councilmembers Dan Sheppard and Cummings didn’t take part within the investigation, and the property house owners of the residences the place Cummings claimed she lived didn’t reply to the investigator’s inquiries.

Via the ability of the State Legal professional’s Workplace, Kenney obtained testimony that stuffed these lacking gaps.

This is what we now know:

Cummings properties defined

Town constitution requires candidates to reside within the district they want to characterize.

The part of “forfeiture of workplace” part learn as “the Mayor or a Council member shall forfeit his or her workplace if she or he lacks at any time throughout the time period of workplace any qualification for the workplace prescribed by this Constitution or by relevant regulation.”

Cummings had admitted to being a part-time resident in response to earlier paperwork obtained by The Information-Press.

Cummings had a number of deal with adjustments that have been beneath scrutiny:

  • 3537 Malagrotta Circle to 2842 SW fiftieth Terrace, on Nov. 23, 2021.
  • 2842 SW fiftieth Terrace to 2425 Embers Parkway, on Oct. 25, 2022.
  • 2425 Embers Parkway to 318 SE twenty first, on March 20, 2023.

None of those addresses have been listed as her major residence when she filed to run for District 4.

Her candidate types and driver’s license put her as dwelling at 3827 Palm Tree Blvd. in District 4.

District 4 deal with uncovered

Within the paperwork, U.S. Postal Inspector Heidi R Lescault confirmed that Cummings had not submitted a U.S. Postal Service change of deal with kind for mail supply to 3827 Palm Tree Blvd.

The U.S. Postal Service solely had data of mail being delivered to Jill and Robert Hiatt, the property house owners of the Palm Tree deal with.

Data present that Cummings did, nevertheless, submit handwritten change of deal with types for 3 different current strikes.

Moreover, evaluations of paperwork from Lee County Electrical Cooperative (LCEC) discovered that she had stopped and began service at her previous 4 addresses however not on the Palm Tree deal with.

Jill and Robert Hiatt owned the house since transferring to Florida in 2011 and nobody else has lived within the house since they bought it, the warrant states.

District 4 house owner recounts renting ‘room’

Jill Hiatt instructed the investigator she’s recognized Cummings for 3 years as she was one among her shoppers on the AstroDurance Gymnasium.

In keeping with the paperwork, round February or March 2022, Cummings lamented {that a} property she meant to maneuver to in District 4 fell by.

Jill Hiatt talked about her house in District 4 and the Cummings requested her help to assist her run for workplace.

They signed a handwritten doc with phrases and situations permitting the house for use by Cummings when the Hiatts have been gone, which they have been regularly, in response to the paperwork.

“She said that she didn’t retain any documentation concerning her permitting Cummings entry to her house; that Cummings wanted the documentation to show residency to run for District 4,” the paperwork state of Hiatt. “She had no expectations upon returning house that Cummings would turn into her new roommate or reside of their house with them there.”

Cummings had a key and entry to the house from April 2022 till late August or early September 2022. On paper, she was renting a one-bedroom with a rest room.

“I supplied this as a brief cease hole till she discovered a spot, after which we had a hurricane,” Jill Hiatt instructed the investigator.

Second house owner denies realizing of settlement

Robert Hiatt stated he was unaware of the deal till Jill Hiatt talked about it on their trip in September 2022.

“She doesn’t precisely bear in mind when she instructed him, but it surely was after the information story broke and their house was proven on the tv information,” the paperwork state. “She suggested that her husband was not joyful, and thought it was a foul thought.”

He said that he was not an affiliate of Cummings, that he had a marketing campaign sign up his entrance yard, and that her election was not run from his house.

The couple couldn’t verify what number of instances she entered the house or if she slept there.

“Cummings was not dwelling in his house when he has been at house; and that Cummings could have visited his house as soon as, with (Aaron) Bathory, for roughly one hour,” the paperwork state.

Her earlier deal with was ruined by Hurricane Ian

Marvin Sealy, the proprietor of 2842 SW fiftieth Terrace, in District 2, stated Cummings had been renting the house from November 2021 to October 2022.

Hurricane Ian struck the Gulf of Mexico shoreline in Cape Coral on Sept. 28, 2022, with Class 5 winds. It destroyed properties, lots of that are nonetheless beneath restore.

Sealy couldn’t verify if Cummings was a full-time tenant however stated he met her a day or two after Hurricane Ian hit Cape Coral, the place he confirmed that she was permitted to go away her lease a month early as a result of the house was uninhabitable.

The lease listed Cummings, her fiance, and two sons.

Leslie Blaisdell, property supervisor for Milhoff-Aubuchon who managed the placement for Sealy, stated Cummings meant to maneuver to 2425 Embers Parkway, in District 6.

Vitor DeOliveira, licensed public adjuster for All Claims Public Adjusters, stated he visited Cummings to help in her catastrophe declare.

A declare verify that was licensed by GEICO Insurance coverage went to the Ember’s property.

The proprietor of the Embers’ property, Sandra Cassidy, stated Cummings got here to her after she could not discover a place to lease after Hurricane Ian.

“She said that she rented her property to Cummings for a time period of six months; that she thought it was nice having a councilmember lease her property and that Cummings didn’t renew the lease,” the paperwork state.

Shen then made a subsequent transfer between March and April after complaints that she didn’t reside in District 4.

“She said that Cummings instructed her that there have been complaints; that she was being politically focused; and that Cummings felt the complaints have been politically motivated,” the paperwork state. “She suggested that this was the primary she knew of Cummings needing to reside in a sure place.”

Her household was additionally on the lease for the Embers property.

Fellow Councilmembers present testimony

The State Legal professional’s Officer additionally interviewed Sheppard. He stated he first met Cummings round 2015 when she inquired about working for Metropolis Council, and he inspired her to run.

“She could not run as a result of she did not reside in District 4, however she may change that as a result of she was a renter, that she was not a home-owner, and that she was actually within the strategy of relocating,” Sheppard said within the paperwork. “So, she stated she would take into consideration working.”

She reached out to him once more in 2022 as she turned extra critical about working however questioned about eligibility.

“You ‘cannot simply lease your new place and say you reside in District 4 now?’ ” Sheppard recollects her saying.

Sheppard then went to then-Metropolis Legal professional Dolores Menendez for solutions, and he or she stated somebody is usually a renter however must have their major deal with within the district for which they’re working.

He relayed the data to Cummings and that he didn’t know the place she was dwelling on the time of the hurricane.

“He said he doesn’t know something about Cummings’ Palm Tree Boulevard deal with; that he by no means visited Cummings on the Palm Tree Boulevard deal with; and that it could be mistaken for Cummings to assert residence at an deal with the place she didn’t reside for the aim of creating residency in that district,” the paperwork state.

He did go to Cummings’ deal with at Embers Parkway after the hurricane, the warrant states.

“He agreed that he visited Cummings’ Embers Parkway West residence after the hurricane; that if Cummings said in her March 7, 2023, letter to the mayor she was a part-time resident of District 4, then the “sport is over” and there’s no argument,” the paperwork said.

Neighbors specify Cummings’s residence

Kristopher Shreves and Elizabeth Hensley, neighbors of Cummings at her 2834 SW fiftieth Terrace deal with, stated their household have been full-time residents from October 2021 till the hurricane hit.

“They said that shortly after Hurricane Ian, Cummings relocated to Orlando, and supplied them a generator and meals provides; and that she subsequently took the generator again after coming back from Orlando,” the paperwork state. “They additional said that they knew Cummings was campaigning for Metropolis Council as a result of she instructed them; and that her autos had magnetic marketing campaign indicators on their doorways and a billboard measurement signal within the rear of the pickup truck.”

Different neighbors within the space attest to seeing Cummings as a full-time resident on the 2834 SW fiftieth Terrace deal with.

Associates are uncertain as nicely

Cape Coral resident Lorie Morgan instructed the investigator that she developed a friendship with Cummings after her father’s passing in April 2022.

She had visited her house at 2842 SW fiftieth Terrace many instances and stated she was dwelling there up till the hurricane.

“She said that she confirmed Cummings potential houses in District 4, however Cummings by no means rented these properties; Cummings by no means lived in District 4 previous to Hurricane Ian,” the paperwork state.

She confirmed that Cummings was working for workplace when she resided at Embers Parkway.

Morgan said she knew Cummings was not dwelling in District 4, in response to the paperwork.

“Cummings confirmed that the town constitution has a district residency requirement; that Cummings said she had established residency; and that Cummings suggested if she received the election she would completely relocate into District 4,” the paperwork state.

A volunteer for Cummings’ marketing campaign, Christopher Cammarota, stated he knew she was dwelling at 2842 SW fiftieth Terrace in District 2 and visited her at that house since June 2022.

“He said that he could have picked up Cummings a number of instances at 3827 Palm Tree Blvd.; that Cummings instructed him she had a spot there; that he has by no means been within the house at 3827 Palm Tree Blvd.; and that he has by no means met or spoken with the house owners,” the paperwork state.

He stated that Sheppard stored involved with Cummings on a weekly foundation and that he was conscious of the District 2 deal with.

“He said that previous to the hurricane, he was with Sheppard on the District 2 deal with at 2842 SW fiftieth Terrace residence,” the paperwork state.

Luis Zambrano is a Watchdog/Cape Coral reporter for The Information-Press and the Naples Every day Information. You’ll be able to attain Luis at Observe him on Twitter @Lz2official.

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