21st Century technology was put into use on Thursday, May 6 when his trial date was set for July 15 of this year regarding the 6 felony counts regarding the forging of documents as relates to the 2019 condominium elections held at the Belize Condominium Association. Rios would appear via the electronic ZOOM process.
Rios would resign from the Marco Island City Council effective October 30 of 2019 citing personal reasons. His condominium at the Belize had been placed on the market well in advance of his resignation from council, leaving some to speculate why he had chose to stay on council as long as he did, therefore allowing council to appoint a replacement for Rios, rather than having someone stand for election. The appointment process takes effect so long as less than 28 months is left in the unexpired term of the resigning member according to the City Charter.
Rios sat uncharacteristically quiet as the States Attorney and Rios’ defense attorney answered questions poised to them by Collier Circuit Court Judge Romiro Manalich.
When owners at the Belize filed a complaint to the Florida Department of Business and Professional
Regulation regarding potential irregularities in regards to their election and the possible ballot irregularities. The DBPR was provided with a 66 page document which also included a handwriting analysis by a Forensic Document Examiner who reviewed the alleged forged signatures.
The DBPR would immediately turn over the matter to the Marco Island Police Department due to the potential for possible criminal activity. Police Chief Al Schettino, due to the sensitivity of the matter would seek an impartial review of the matter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Rios would surrender to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on February 5, 2021 where he would be booked and subsequently post bond of $30,000 regarding six (6) 3rd Degree Felony Counts. On February 9, 2021 Rios would waive his right to a speedy trial and request a trial by jury.
Judge Romiro Manalich would set July 15 for a trial date for Rios at 1:30pm. However, some doubt whether that date will result in start of a trail.
Earlier, when Judge Manalich inquired of Assistant State Attorney Tino Cimato and Rios’ Defense Attorney Seth Kolton as to whether they had discussed a plea deal, Cimato would respond they had not.