Collier County Sheriff’s Office investigating members of Republican Executive Committee
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.– NBC2 has confirmed the Collier County Sheriff’s Economics Crime Unit is investigating past board members of the Republican Executive Committee.
The Collier Sheriff’s office confirms they have received multiple complaints about past board members of the executive committee.
“Over the past months we have received multiple reports from different complainants against persons associated with political organizations in Collier County. On Friday, June 4, 2021, we received information involving the Collier County Republican Executive Committee. We are currently reviewing that information to determine if any further investigation is required. “ — Collier County Sheriff’s Office
The auditor of the committee himself said he saw thousands of dollars in questionable spending.
“At the very best…the record keeping was sloppy at worst it was criminal,” said J. Eric Konuk.
The startling allegations were made by Konuk, the man who signed off on the 8 page 2020 audit of the former Collier County Republican Executive Committee.
“I didn’t have time to reconcile all of the bank transactions,” Konuk stated.
He said his audit was cut short after members requested the books be returned.
The audit however does not reveal all of the questionable spending.Those details are contained in a letter he drafted spelling it all out.
NBC2 obtained a copy of the letter that was signed by former Co-Chair Nick Lichter and Konuk.
However the letter was never sent to the Republican Party of Florida or the Collier County Election Supervisor where it is made public.
“To this date that letter has not been presented to the entire membership,” Konuk pointed out.
The letter claims CCREC paid for out of pocket expenses with cash and over paid thousands on its rent to name a few of the allegations.
Joanne DeBartolo is Collier County Republican State Committeewoman and admitted she was aware of complaints filed with the Collier Sheriff’s Office.
DeBartolo said she believed FDLE was also presented with evidence however NBC-2 did not confirm that.
“It’s the past board. Not us,” DeBartolo specified.
NBC2 obtained pages of documents contained on a thumb drive. Those same documents have been turned over to the Collier County ECU.
“My intuition told me there was something going on here,” said longtime committee member Frank DeCarlo.
He said he was not surprised that law enforcement is looking further into the matter.
“Over the course of the years I was in the committee I began to realize that something just wasn’t quite right with what’s going on with this committee,” DeCarlo explained.
The letter from the Lichter and Konuk claims former chairman Russell Tuff overpaid on the lease and did not provide receipts for thousands in other spending.
Russell declined to comment when he was contacted. He said he had not seen the complaints.
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