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Trial for suspended fire commissioner set to start

October 19, 2017
By TIFFANY REPECKI (trepecki@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The trial for a suspended Lehigh Acres fire commissioner is scheduled to start next week.

A felony case against Robert John Anderson, 51, of 1147 Cherokee Ave., will head to trial Oct. 25 in the Lee County Courts after being continued three times this year - in June, July and September.

"Jury selection starts Wednesday," State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Samantha Syoen said.

Article Photos

Robert John Anderson

Anderson was charged in August 2016 for reportedly stealing riding lawn mowers from a Habitat for Humanity in North Fort Myers. The equipment had been donated to it by the Lehigh fire district.

He is facing one count of larceny grand theft $300 less than $5,000.

"That charge carries a maximum of five years in prison," she said of a conviction.

When contacted today for comment via a phone call, Anderson hung up.

A follow-up callback message was not immediately returned.

Assistant Public Defender Travis Cary is representing Anderson.

He did not immediately return a message today seeking comment on the upcoming trial.

In June, Anderson was charged in an unrelated incident with larceny grand theft $300 less than $5,000 and fraud swindle obtain property under $20,000. He is accused of fraudulently obtaining nearly $2,600 from a business that he provided technical support to and using the money to pay personal bills.

Anderson has pleaded not guilty to the charges in both cases.

On July 26, Gov. Rick Scott suspended Anderson from his seat on the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District's board. Anderson had won his seat on the fire board while facing the 2016 charge.

Florida law states that an official who has been suspended may not perform any official act, duty or function, nor receive any pay or allowance, nor be entitled to any emoluments or privileges.

If the official is convicted of the charge, the governor will remove him or her from office and the person appointed to the temporary vacancy shall serve out the remainder of the term, according to the law. If an official pleads guilty or no contest, he or she will be considered convicted of the charge.

In the case that the official is acquitted, found not guilty or otherwise cleared of the charge, the governor will revoke the suspension and restore the official to his or her office, the law states.

For the 2017 case, a case management conference has been set for Nov. 16.

 
 

 

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