Sunday, October 21, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Dark Days on Marco Island


The Dark Clouds of collusion, deception and corrupt politics promises to make the current council the most ineffective in Marco Island history. The hiring of Marco Administrator Niblock by Former Council President Honig and current President Grifoni without properly vetting him is not the first sign of amateur management. Their documented efforts to intimidate a sexual assault from pursuing charges against the City Administrator is behind their efforts to obstruct justice and prevent a major lawsuit by diverting and subverting public opinion.

As many return North, it is the attendance of year-long residents at council meeting that will bring about the required changes in our municipal government that protects employees and job candidates from acts of sexual aggression by it leaders.

We also must refocus our ineffective council on the pressing issues of a depleted budget, potential for major tax increases, and a failing infrastructure.

If the Council Meeting of Monday 5/7/2018 is any indication their efforts to deflect criticism by manipulating meeting commentary by other councilors and residents may well succeed. As resident after resident spoke about the need to the council leadership to resign, Council President Grifoni used his position to have non-residents offer commentary supporting himself and Councilman Honig immediately following any resident who offered criticism of the council’s efforts. Commentary from the President of the Marco Patriots lobbied for the council leadership, yet she is not a resident of Marco. Most of the Marco Academy speakers recognized by President Grifoni were Naples residents. I for one wonder if all these organizations’ membership feel as their speakers? I wonder if support for their organizations will suffer as a result?

The other members of the Marco Council who have been silent need to make their positions known. Where is Victor Rios who was so eager to seek ethics charges in the past? Where is Charlette Roman the lone women on the council in her support for victims of sexual assault?

All residents of Marco should be demanding the resignation of Council President Grifoni and Councilman Honig, and if that does not occur shortly, a recall of both council members should be on the upcoming ballot.

Robert Nace

Marco Island

7 responses to “Letter to the Editor: Dark Days on Marco Island”

  1. Erin says:

    Hi Robert,

    Just to clarify, I moved back to Marco Island in 2014. That was after first moving here more than 25 years ago and spending a great deal of time here with my family from the time I was a child. My mother lives here and has for 20 years, my brother and nephew live here and have for about 18 years. Marco Island has always been home to me. I reside at 1994 Sheffield Avenue if you’d like to ever come by. I’m here most every day.

    For full disclosure, I do rent a home in Naples. However, I reside on Marco.

  2. joan says:

    I WAS a member of Marco Patriots, and she definitely did NOT speak for my family or me. Using a group created for hurricane/disaster information for political gains is absolutely shameful.

    • Erin says:

      I didn’t use the group Joan. Nothing at all was ever posted to the group or used for discussion. I spoke only for myself and for our Board regarding the experiences we personally had with regard to the character of Grifoni and Honig pre and post-storm. Nothing more and nothing less. I was clear about that.

      Here is exactly what was said

      My name is Erin Mia Milchman and I live on Sheffield Avenue.

      I am the co-founder of the Marco Patriots.

      I am not here to take a stand or speak out against anyone or any entity. I am here to offer my personal experiences with Councilman Honig and Chairman Grifoni.

      I come to you as a woman, a resident, a business owner, a philanthropist and as a Christian. I also come to you as a domestic and sexual abuse survivor.

      I had the opportunity to interact closely and often with both Chairman Grifoni and Councilman Honig over the last several months since Hurricane Irma. Both men made themselves completely available for phone calls, questions and assistance to me, my co-founders, board members and our community members. Both of them expressed high levels of integrity, compassion and concern for their community. Both have been nothing but respectful and above board in all dealings. Both have been a great wealth of information and support for the community at large and as I know them to be, both very honorable men.

      The Marco Patriots Board of Directors has equally found all of this to be true and we believe that these men have always and will continue to seek the greater good for our island.

      We believe after carefully reading the timelines and the transcripts that are public that Chairman Grifoni and Council Honig acted in the best interest of the victim with the knowledge that they had in hand. Both to protect her and to allow the City to handle the allegation at the right level. I’m not sure that based on information they were provided that it was up to them to judge the severity of it or to involve the police.
      I would ask that you take the time to carefully consider the facts in evidence and the timeline presented as we have and then develop your own conclusions.

      We are convinced of the validity of the accusers position and are disappointed in the conduct Dr Niblock. Our community, as I know it would like to find a way to be more supportive or her and victims like her rather than interrupt the very powerful and positive momentum that this island is building upon in the shadow of a recent disaster.

      We believe that Chairman Grifoni and Councilman Honig are not being afforded the benefit of due process and that the climate created by the disappointing performance and unfortunate actions of Dr Niblock have affected the otherwise positive energies of some our community members.

      Chairman Grifoni and Councilman Honig have both had exemplary service records and provide years of honest and dedicated service to our City and our people. Please take the time to reconsider the facts and the timeline, and let cooler heads prevail and believe in the people we elected to do that which is right for Marco, this is not Washington, D.C. these are not career politicians, they are hardworking citizens who care for our precious island, our city and the people who live in it.

      The enormous feedback that we have received is one of a great desire to continue to walk in the light and not the mire.

  3. Ben Toresco says:

    Chair’s Ego portends he is more important than the Citizens of Marco. He stated the lost expenses under the Niblock debacle was less than those of the prior Manager as if that was a consolation. He’s got to go….Honig too. Marco deserves better.

  4. Concerned resident says:

    My Goodness…..Marco Island seems to be being run like the deep state that our President is exposing. We are a small Island and all the residents want is honesty and fiscal conservative people running the Island. I for one have noticed that the Island is not being taken care of as it used to be and it saddens me. Roads are a mess, trees are not pruned, owners are allowed to let their properties decay and in general it seems like our city officials are not doing their jobs properly. This is very sad. We need honest, vetted people running our City, not sexual predators and people who wish to cover it up.

  5. Marco Patriot 10 says:

    ERIN Whether You realize it or not your “personal comments and representation of the Board, “The Marco Patriots Board of Directors has equally found all of this to be true and we believe that these men have always and will continue to seek the greater good for our island.” Threatens the effort for which the group was originally formed AND jeopardizes YOUR 501 3C STATUS!!

    Keep up the politically motivated bad work that reflects on ALL of us original Marco Patriots–very sad. Leave your politics home OR don’t use the mantel of the Marco Patriots to discredit us all!

    • Erin says:

      Speaking at City Council does not threaten our 501(c)3 status. Let’s be clear on that. I think you might be confusing the law. Non-profits aren’t allowed to participate in political campaigning but are allowed and in fact encouraged, to speak up at meetings such as I did.

      The motivation to create Marco Patriots was to care for the community. Our love for this island and the surrounding communities is great. We continue to work hard to advocate for those less fortunate and are making great strides at obtaining what’s needed for the individuals and families in need.

      I have, from the beginning, refused to allow negativity on our group’s page and that’s something that I live and breathe in my own life every day. I’m here to speak the truth and not get involved in all the negative gossip.
      I am and we are, in no way politically motivated and I don’t think that sharing our experiences (facts) could in any way discredit any of us.

      I think if everyone were to actually read the documents and stop listening to all the rumors, maybe pick up the phone and ask your city council members under fire some very direct questions you could come to a conclusion based on facts.

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