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September 21, 2017 – Middle Keys – Larry Shaffer: Hurricanes

Hurricane Irma crushed the City of Marathon in the Florida Keys. Hurricane Maria caused many of us to fear it would turn toward us. Well, Hurricane Maria. walked itself up the Eastern Seaboard. We missed Hurricane Maria. Having two storms within the same month was a scary proposition.

We decided to escape to Clermont, Florida. That is close to Orlando. There wasn’t much to do except to watch TV and eat. I managed to lose 3 pounds. My family did the same thing. After some number of days; it was time to pack up and go home.

Besides packing, we had pets to deal with. Two birds, one dog, and two cats. The two cats hate the pet carrier and loud noises. Once we got going, traffic was light. We still worried about what we would find at our home.

We got home and the exterior was undamaged, but one soffit had blown off. We have an elevator without power. The outside freezer had it door blown off. The compound seems to be in good shape, except for debris from trees and other plant life. And just to make us happy, we have a small termite problem.

We were very lucky. All over town there are good buildings and some very bad. Services are slowly coming online. The Post Office Boxes are available if you have any. Publix is good. They are running low on several kinds of goods. I was lucky to find everything that I wanted.

Cable is out. Now I must find something to do. I get some TV from our family hotspots. A hotspot is a cell phone setup to provide TV and internet. The AT&T store can help you. AT&T put up cell phone towers.

We are building a hurricane kit for next time.

August 25, 2017 – Marathon – by Bruce Schmitt: “The Florida Keys Free Press article dated August 16 reports on a second unannounced discussion about parking in Marathon that was a last minute add-on to your most recent Marathon City Council meeting. The two paragraphs are full of misinformation. It is clear that the Marathon City Council is very confused and not very knowledgeable of their City Parking code and how it works. That may be because our Marathon City Staff is not clear and/or has not done a very good job of clarifying the subject for them.

Let’s have an honest and truthful discussion about parking in the City of Marathon, and let’s start here with this two paragraph part of the attached article as reported in the Florida Keys Free Press.

If George Garrett is talking about reworking Land Development Regulations dealing with parking on vacant lots, I hope he will clarify which vacant lots he is talking about. Vacant lots next to Sunset Grille would seem to be one case but are there others and if so, which others?

This notion that when the City of Marathon incorporated and formed its laws, it was liberal in grandfathering existing uses into its new code is simply not true. The law is clear and supersedes this idea that you would need a liberal grandfathering interpretation for anything the City of Marathon has done in forming any of its laws. If anything, the City of Marathon liberalized its Codes and Zoning from the previous Monroe County laws and I can not name or point to one case where the City of Marathon liberally grandfathered anything as was implied in this article. This notion is totally false, untrue and misleading!

The statement that the City of Marathon’s “interpretations have benefited business” is more than misleading, it is inaccurate! It did not benefit Publix in their denial based on parking and the subsequent 10 year delay in getting their liquor store approval. It did not benefit Walgreens when the City’s Planning Commission voted down its request for a beer and wine license under false pretenses. It did not benefit the Ardalino Estate/Overseas Liquors when the City of Marathon misapplied their 1500 rule against them. It did not benefit Claude Haliova at Lulu’s Garden Grille and again at Tritons Bar & Restaurant when the City required him to delineate every single one of his parking spaces. And, it didn’t benefit the Sunset Grille when Michelle Coldiron targeted them from her City Council seat during her failed personal lawsuit against them. Of course the Chaplins benefited when the City first broke their zoning code allowing a commercial use in a residential neighborhood for their Chappy’s Bar & Restaurant. Mike Cinque and his Stuffed Pig benefited when he was allowed to expand his seating with no parking what so-ever and then again when he was awarded a liquor license by the City, also with no parking requirement. And certainly Ralph Lucignano received benefits from the City of Marathon in his 2011 reduced parking agreement allowing him to add his Plaza Grill (an increased intensity of use) to an area that clearly already had a parking problem. Interesting how one single sentence can be so very misleading and so very wrong!

Of course the City has tried to bring older businesses that renovate into compliance, in theory, but not in any reality. The City has a history of not enforcing anything and that is why we are having problems today. When the City requires someone like Mike Cinque to submit a parking plan not once but twice and does not require either to be implemented that is a problem that may actually be criminal in nature. When the City of Marathon cuts a deal with someone like Ralph Lucignano and Lucignano does not uphold his side of the agreement then that is wrong, but when the City knows this is the case and does nothing for years when reported then that makes the City a co-conspirator in what appears to me to be a form an ongoing criminal activity.

The problem goes much deeper than just Parking in the City of Marathon, but Parking is where this is going to apparently have to start changing. If our City will finally address their growing parking problem, the maybe, just maybe we can begin to talk about and address our other problems. It is my hope that Marathon will be returned back to the People as opposed to the connected, the guilty and the criminally stupid. Let’s start with parking!

Bruce Schmitt”

August 7, 2017 – Marathon – Bruce Schmitt: Dear City Manager Chuck Lindsey, City Attorney David Migit and Planning Director George Garrett:

Let me first thank you for meeting with me recently concerning your ongoing problem at the Marathon Deli/Plaza Grill. As you clearly understand this is not an issue “between two businessmen who disagree over parking” despite what some of your City Council may believe. This is an issue about Ralph Lucignano’s ongoing abuse of the City of Marathon’s Parking Code which is confirmed by his current blatant violation with his outdoor seating at his deli. I am his neighbor in the adjoining Shopping Center and have a legitimate complaint and standing in this matter. While Lucignano has a history of violations with the City of Marathon, I do not and have never been in violation of your parking code, in spite of ongoing false complaints directed at me by the City and certain City Council Members over the years.

I appreciate meeting with City Attorney David Migit and City Manager Chuck Lindsey and later and separately with Planning Director George Garrett as was suggested.

Based on these meetings I have learned about your Article 22 from City Attorney David Migit which places interpretation of your Land Development Regulation (LDRs) with your Planning Director.

Dear City Mayor Doc Dan Zieg, Vice Mayor Michelle Lincoln Coldiron, and Mayor Emeritus John Bartus, please become familiar with your Article 22 which I have attached for your convenience. I must confess that I was not aware of this Article 22 which places the interpretive powers of your poorly written LDRs with one individual. It seems to explain some things.

I was also provided with a copy of an April 29, 2011 Planning Department Memorandum which addressed the Marathon Liquor & Deli remodel which spawned the Plaza Grill. I have attached a copy of this document as well.

At this point I have questions about this April 29, 2011 Memorandum.

1) Section 107.50 (B) of your Code of Ordinances states “where shared parking strategies are proposed shall be determined by a study prepared by a professional engineer….”. Mr. William Knetge of Terra Mar Architectural at residential address 11270 6th Avenue Gulf, Marathon is an Architect not a professional engineer. How did the City of Marathon determine Mr. Knetge was qualified to conduct and prepare a honest parking study in which you based a reduced parking agreement?

2) How did the City of Marathon and on what basis did the City of Marathon conclude that the submitted parking plan was even close to accurate? I ask this question because after reviewing the study there are some very obvious mistakes. How could a competent study estimate zero (0) parking usage for businesses during their open hours of business? And zero (0) parking for employees during those same open hours? And zero (0) parking for a two bedroom apartment at Gemini? The assignment of partial parking spaces using .10, .25 and .50 parking spaces is clearly against your code which requires those numbers to be rounded up to the next whole number. The City is responsible for review and to correct these kinds of simple mistakes or errors but it seems to not have been the case here.

3) What is the City of Marathon’s requirement for retail parking? Was it ever 1 parking space per 1,000 square feet because I have always known it to be 3 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet? I have attached a copy of your Parking Schedule. The “BACKGROUND” section of this memorandum states that the site should require 110 total parking spaces which is not true. Per your Parking Code Gemini Printing, Vito of the Keys and Marathon Liquors would each be required to have 3 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet making the accurate requirement at 138 total parking spaces, not the 110 in the Memorandum. The basic premise on which your Parking Agreement is based on is wrong. The City of Marathon should never have allowed this increased intensity of use. Yet the City of Marathon found a way to give Lucignano a right to build his Plaza Grill.

4) Also according to your “BACKGROUND” section you state that there will be 75 parking spaces associated with the project site which is 35 parking spaces less than what is required per your Memorandum number of 110 but 63 parking spaces less than what should really be required when using the correct number of required parking spaces which should have stated 138. So, my question is, what was the real number of parking spaces actually provided at the time of the Plaza Grill opening? Not sure that it was even the 75 the City was reducing the requirement to be. Excuse me for asking this question because this is not unlike Mike Cinque’s Stuffed Pig restaurant problem where he had a parking requirement but was never required to provide one single parking space. By the way, Lucignano does not now currently meet even your beneficially reduced number of parking spaces of 75 (gift or not). Please confirm Lucignano’s current number of verified parking spaces.

5) Why has the City of Marathon waited so very long to address this situation when it has been known for years by the City that Lucignano has continually been in violation of your parking code with his addition of more outdoor seating years ago? I filed a code complaint at the time, yet you did nothing!

6) Finally after 6+ years of living with this Lucignano agreement that he has never followed or been willing to abide by, it has become clear to anyone attending the Theater or Cinema that this Parking Plan was never close to adequate and that the increase of intensity of use by allowing the Plaza Grill restaurant should never have been allowed in the first place due to insufficient parking. The question now is, how are you going to address it? Certainly this is different than your problem with Sunset Grille since that is a zoning problem but at least the owner of Sunset Grille is willing to address your parking problem there if you would allow that to happen. The problem with Lucignano and with Cinque is how can you take back a gift that they never should have given in the first place?

As the neighboring property owner Lucignano has caused First Florida Keys Properties real harm. We have been unfairly treated over the years with false and malicious accusations by City Council Members. Permit delays and an unsubstantiated parking code complaint from the City of Marathon has cost us time and real money.

Answer these 6 questions in writing, do not ignore them. I am not the problem here and I am not your enemy just because I tell you the truth. Yes, this email is going out to as many people as possible and I hope it gets passed around without limitation. This ongoing problem should be addressed, right or wrong, like it or not, in the sunshine because these back room deals must stop! It’s not because I say so, its because the People of Marathon are sick and tired of all of this secret stuff and behind the scenes handing out of special deals and beneficial gifts! Let’s finally put an end to special interest benefits in the City of Marathon and follow you own rules.

Bruce Schmitt

July 21, 2017 – Marathon – Bruce Schmitt: Parking in Marathon

From the July 11, 2017 City of Marathon Council Meeting it was reported in the Marathon Weekly that: “The council directed staff to start a survey of parking spots for businesses along the U.S. 1 corridor in an effort to develop a policy to address the varying availability and come up with an equitable solution.”

Let me remind our Marathon City Council that they have a policy to address parking in the city. It is called your Parking Code and since it is your Code, it would be most equitable if you would enforce it equitably. There are currently provisions in your Code that address the varying differences in all your commercial business properties in Marathon from new developments, to re-developments, to older business properties, to legal non-conforming properties, including illegal non-conforming properties. Your problem is not with your policy but with your understanding of that policy. It was most revealing and interesting how little our Marathon City Council knows and understands its own Parking Code.

Your big problem is enforcement. Lack of enforcement and/or selective enforcement exists because it serves the best interests of certain City Council Members who have historically used our City’s rules to benefit themselves and/or their select few friends.

Councilwoman Coldiron made the statement that whatever the policy, it should be enforced equally. A bit disingenuous in light of her actions in the Sunset Grille fiasco. The City clearly targeted Sunset Grille while allowing a much more dangerous condition to continue at 35th street and U.S. 1 with the Stuffed Pig restaurant. This is not equitable treatment. Talk is one thing, actions speak to the truth!

The City Council is supposed to set policy and it is clear they do not know what to do, so they have decided to dump this off on Staff.

Even if the City Council decides to change their current policy, they must enforce something and I see no commitment or willingness to enforce any policy whether it has to do with parking, signage, landscaping…..etc.

Do we really need a survey to know that our real problem is with our Marathon City Council?

It is going to be interesting to see how this survey will determine the actual number of parking spaces at the Stuffed Pig restaurant when there is not one single legal parking space designated on that property, even though there are two parking plans on file with the City but never required to be implemented.

Bruce Schmitt

July 14, 2017 – Marathon – Bruce Schmitt: “Dear Mayor Doc Dan Zieg, Vice Mayor Michelle Lincoln Coldiron and Mayor Emeritus John Bartus,

I was busy with other matters yesterday and did not attend last night’s Marathon City Council meeting. I understand that an add-on Agenda item concerning your Parking Code was slipped in and discussed.

Wish I could have been there because it is very obvious that as a Council, the majority of you do not understand how Marathon’s Parking Code works or your role in making sure that it is even followed correctly. That became painfully obvious last night based on some of your comments and inability to grasp the basic concepts of your own Parking Code.

First you need to read your code and understand what it says, it’s not that complicated.

Once you know what your Parking Code says, you need to know how it is enforced.

It is rather simple, all newly developed properties must meet all of your Building Codes including your Parking Code without exception. Your Building/Planning Departments do a very good job of enforcing this with all new construction.

Existing improved properties are not a problem either, if you understand the difference between legal conforming properties, legal non-conforming properties and illegal non-conforming properties. Most new properties, built with permits under the Monroe County and City of Marathon Codes are legal conforming properties providing that all improvements were also built with permits. We have many properties in Marathon that were legally built when the Monroe County Parking Codes were much less strict or didn’t really exist at all. To this day these properties are still legal, they just do not conform to our current code as it now exists. As legal yet nonconforming properties to our current code they are not required to come into compliance to our current parking code, unless the intensity of their use is increased by a new type of higher intensity type of use or business, usually when going from retail/office use to restaurant/bar would be an example of increasing intensity of use. An illegal non-conforming property is not very common since the City generally also does a good job of enforcing their permitting process, their zoning laws (exception being the original Sunset Grille approval), and any illegal activities in general.

The concern with our Parking Code has to do with this question of legal non-conforming properties and is not as big a problem as some would have you believe. Enforcing your current City Parking code will not effect most of your current legal non-confirming properties as long as there is no increase in intensity of use of that property. An good example would be the “Cool Guy Stuff” store which changed use from Dr. Tom Operchal’s eye doctor’s office going to retail sales. There was no issue because there was no change in the intensity of use under the City of Marathon’s Parking Code. Cool Guy Stuff would not be effected nor would most properties like this be required to increase parking. The change or parking issue only comes into play when you take a retail store like Marathon Liquors and turn a portion of it into a restaurant and bar, which is a clear increase in intensity of use and therefore triggers the need to increase parking. Ralph Lucignano did increase his parking to allow this to happen based on his previously existing outside seating from his deli and by adding parking spaces allowing 43 seats in his Plaza Grill. He violated the City Parking Code when he later added back his outside deli seating without City of Marathon approval which was and is clearly illegal. I own the Shopping Center next door to Lucignano and have mostly retail stores there with a Papa John’s pizza delivery service with no seating and a small 16 seat Island Time Diner. My property has more than adequate parking per the City of Marathon Code which I confirmed by counting parking spaces after Mayor Doc Dan Zieg inappropriately directed the City to cite me by filing a false citation against my Tenant. While I have addressed this, there is a much bigger unresolved issue with Mike Cinque and his Stuffed Pig Restaurant. Cinque filed not one but two parking plans with the City of Marathon and not one identifiable parking space has ever been installed on his property. When the City of Marathon handed him the right to serve liquor in his restaurant they allowed an increase in the intensity of use on that property with no way to confirm that he was providing the legally required parking per the City of Marathon Parking Code. I’m not looking to close Cinque down, only to have him conform to what he agreed to do in the first place and what he should be required to do in the end! Your City Staff is very much aware of this and I am sure that they will address it soon, after all, they finally addressed the Ralph Lucignano violation after many years of reminders.

Mayor Doc Dan Zieg, you should not be directing the City Staff to file code violations against anyone, first because you do not understand your City Code, but more importantly because it is not appropriate for Council Members to micro manage Staff or use your position to target people you do not like or wish to punish.

Michelle Lincoln Coldiron’s comment that the Marathon Parking Code should be applied equally to all throughout the City of Marathon is a most disingenuous and hypocritical statement in light of her activities against the Sunset Grille where she seemingly used her position on the City Council to allegedly help her Joker like husband extort money and attempt to benefit themselves over the best interests of their neighbors and the People of Marathon.

And just when I thought that John Bartus may have learned something, he proves me wrong once again. Let me clarify it for you, John, the two people who can’t agree on the parking rules here in Marathon are Ralph Lucignano and Mike Cinque. Ralph has been found in violation of the City Parking Code and Mike Cinque’s only documented parking spaces are on FDOT and Monroe School Board properties. My parking is legal and I am in compliance with the City of Marathon Parking Code! I am most agreeable and I follow the City of Marathon rules and regulations always!

You three City Council Members may not be the worse we have ever had but please understand, it’s not a competition, so don’t keep trying so hard!

Bruce Schmitt”

July 6, 2017 – Marathon – Bruce Schmitt: “Dear George Garrett, David Migit and Chuck Lindsey,

Be advised that per City of Marathon building permit #P2017-0092 originally submitted on 1/27/2017 and initially approved on 1/31/2017 but not issued, later approved with conditions on 2/10/2017, then withdrawn due to an appeal by Ralph Lucignano of Vito of the Florida Keys, and then finally re-issued and permitted on 6/28/2017, be advised that First Florida Keys Properties, Inc has completed the demolition of the 10X24 foot elevated concrete pad as of 3:13pm on 6/28/2017.

While Vito of the Florida Keys did have the right to appeal your denial of its appeal by the Marathon Planning Commission to your Marathon City Council, it did not do so and thus failed to exhaust all its administrative remedies with the City of Marathon. Instead Ralph Lucignano/Vito of the Florida Keys applied for and obtained a Circuit Court Order Granting a Temporary Injunction based on false and misleading information. Unfortunately for Lucignano’s team of lawyers they obtained their Order on 6/29/2017, one day late, after the work was completed.

This letter is to confirm that First Florida Keys Properties, Inc. did receive and post your permit #P2017-0093 on 6/28/2017 and did, in fact, complete the work on that same day of 6/28/2017.

This letter is now questioning your permit condition #8 regarding the honest need for First Florida Keys Properties, Inc. to provide temporary exit access over these next 6 months based on the false and/or inaccurate information concerning the need for such egress. It is now well documented and known to the City of Marathon that Ralph Lucignano/Vito of the Florida Keys does have an existing rear exit access door which is blocked by a hurricane shuttered door that could and should be easily be made opened for full use and access.

First Florida Keys Properties, Inc. does not wish to have the City of Marathon mandate a very possible liability issue upon us, nor do we believe that it is our responsibility to provide access to someone like Ralph Lucignano/Vito of the Florida Keys who chooses to not take responsibility for the health and safety of its own customers and employees.

Be advised that I consider this issue to be between you and Ralph Lucignano and that it is appropriate that the two of you work this without further involving First Florida Keys Properties, Inc. in this stupid game. Comprende?

Bruce Schmitt”

July 4, 2017 – Marathon – Bruce Schmitt: “To Whom it May Concern at the City of Marathon,

In light of a City of Marathon Courtesy Notice to Correct Violation C2017-0203 delivered Friday afternoon 6/30/2017 to my Tenant, Island Time Diner, please explain in writing the specific part of your code section 107.46 Parking Schedule that pertains to this matter, and how Stacy Charlton, your Code Compliance Officer, reached her conclusion that there is any sort of a violation. I simply do not see a violation here since this outside seating predates the existence of the City of Marathon itself. Please clarify why the only “corrective measure necessary” is limited to the “removal of outdoor seating.” And, also please explain and clarify this “5” day corrective period which appears to be both punitive and unreasonable under the circumstances even if there were a real violation here.

In fairness to my Tenant, please explain, also in writing, his rights under your City of Marathon Code to first dispute this allegation since it is clear that there are many actual violations of both indoor and outdoor seating in Marathon that you know about and refuse to enforce. The most well known case in point is Mike Cinque’s Stuffed Pig Restaurant where you have on file two parking plans associated with two separate non-conforming expansions of his property for seating and for liquor sales that you have never required to be ever implemented. Certainly there are rules for legal seating in restaurants and that first requires identifying and confirming actual existing parking spaces. At the Stuffed Pig Restaurant there does not exist one single defined or delineated parking space and because of that he is, in fact, in violation of your City of Marathon parking code as you have cited my Tenant. Either Cinque must remove every single seat in his restaurant or you need to direct him to implement his defined parking plan on file with the City! Do your job, City of Marathon and stop making excuses!

As a matter of basic courtesy when citing a code violation any “corrective measure” should include all solutions under your code of rules and regulations. It has been pointed out to me many times by various City Officials that the policy of your Code Department is to be helpful and to work with local businesses to help them get into compliance. A case in point is Ralph Lucignano and your approval of his all-in-one fire lane/loading zone/driveway in front of the Plaza Grill Restaurant. Please take note of this and please do a better job in disclosing all possible alternative solutions under your code at the time of citing a possible violation such as this.

Understand that I am not asking for or expecting any special treatment here but I do expect fairness and equal treatment under the law which has not always been the case with our City of Marathon. That case in point is clearly documented in how you handled the Sunset Grill fiasco on Knights Keys which was not handled fairly in my opinion and still has some yet to be resolved long term issues that you will be forced to address sometime in the future when the 7 mile bridge park re-opens.

As Landlord and owner of the property you have cited here, I would think that I should have also been properly notified. I learned of this so called violation from my Tenant who was very upset and concerned after he was called by an Employee who was served with the actual citation. The Tenant Owner was at his Doctors office when Stacy Charlton issued her notice. Is this even proper service on the City’s part?

The City of Marathon’s codes and enforcement of those codes has made it very difficult, even for me, to know and understand what rules are being enforced and which are not. The case in point here are your sign ordinances which are only being enforce against those who actually apply for a permit. The idea of even applying for a permit for anything other than new construction has become a joke once again in Marathon.

I have very well known issues with the City of Marathon going back years to the first Publix liquor store application, then your 1500 foot rule, Councilwoman Ginger Snead’s parking complaints against me, Walgreens’ right to sell beer and wine, a simple 10 X 24 foot concrete slab demolition, and now this. I understand that the City of Marathon and Ralph Lucignano are tied together in some weird way but why the City continues to allow itself to be co-opted into these things on an ongoing basis is beyond me. One thing I do know is that this will not stand. “This aggression will not stand, man!”

Bruce Schmitt “

July 1, 2017 – Marathon – Bruce Schmitt: Keynoter Lack of Reporting:

Why doesn’t our local newspaper, the Keynoter, report anything about the Gene Thompson affair within our Monroe County Sheriffs Department which resulted in his reassignment of duties and a demotion?

Why doesn’t the City of Marathon want to talk about the reassignment of demoted Captain Gene Thompson, who headed up our City’s Law Enforcement Department?

Why is Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay unwilling to publicly disclose the truth about Gene Thompson, his senior Officer in charge of his Marathon Sub-Station which was supposed to oversee the enforcement of law over our City of Marathon and be an example for our Community?

Why all the silence over the Gene Thompson affair?

What are they covering up and why?

From what I have been told there is a culture of sexual promiscuity and abuse throughout the Monroe County Sheriffs Department going back years under Rick Ramsay. There are even stories about Rick Ramsay himself and his affairs which may explain why he doesn’t want any of this to get out. It certainly seems to explain why and how Rick Ramsay handled the Peter Rosasco abuses of his wife over the years. To be a friend of Rick Ramsay is to be protected from responsibility for your actions against others.

Apparently serial sexual promiscuity and abuse is tolerated by Sheriff Ramsay and is just another legal matter that he chooses to ignore. To quote our Sheriff: “So Sad”!

Bruce Schmitt

June 18, 2017 – Marathon – by Bruce Schmitt: “To: Adam Linhardt, The Citizen Reporter

Your statement to my Attorney that you do not know why I may not like you is so dishonest and transparent that it is clear you are either criminally stupid or stupidly criminal, doing the bidding of people who wish me dead or publicly discredited with their gun or with your written word. Both have failed and I will uncover this Zecca matter with or without your help. At this point, you still seem to be in some sort of denial or cover-up mode. These are your problems.

My problem is trying to uncover the “others” behind Dennis Zecca who were a part of my murder for hire and also drug smuggling into the Keys for distribution to our local Communities. My surprise and disappointment is how no one seems to care about uncovering these “others”, not the FBI, not the Department of Justice, not the Monroe County Sheriff, not the then State Attorney, Cathrine Vogel, and certainly not you.

You write an article 2 1/2 months after a State Attorney investigation into a false accusation against me for bribery that was closed before it was open and you don’t see the problem? The person who fed you that information was using you to attack me and you allowed that to happen. It was well known in Marathon that I was getting married on July 4, 2013 and you publish a front page article on July 3, 2013 implying that I may have tried to bribe someone. Your article was nothing short of an attempt to publicly assassinate my character. Thanks for the wedding present, I will never forget it!

Of course I do not like you and for good reason! You never corrected your article with any sort of follow-up. You never documented the relationships and friendships between Mike Cinque, Peter Rosasco, Rick Ramsay and Dennis Zecca. You continue to protect your source for the information that was fed to you. This is not a source to be protected, they fed you false and incomplete information designed to publicly discredit me and ruin my reputation and you wrote and published an article that was incomplete. This person used you to attack me with misleading information the day before my wedding and you tell my Attorney that you do not know why I do not like you? Think about how you would feel if you were in my shoes.

You say that you would like to see this Zecca matter resolved but you seem to have picked the side that wishes to cover this up and wants it to go away. If you really care about solving this crime then the next time you talk with my Attorney provide him with the name of the person who fed you the information about a State Attorney investigation that was not publicly known, even to me at the time because I was never interviewed, and because there was no truthful factual basis behind any of it. And do not pretend that you are protecting a confidential source or informant because they are no such thing, they are, in fact, an accomplice to ongoing criminal activity which you have become a part of by protecting them with you silence and refusal to name this “other” person.

I have attached, once again, a copy of your July 3, 2013 article along with the April 2013 Investigative Report. It is most interesting and revealing the names of my accusers who you left out of your article. You may want to read them again and understand your problem! I have also attached a photo of you and Ralph Lucignano’s best friend, Mario DiGennaro which might jog some of your dormant brain cells. Please say “Hello” to Mario for me the next time you are together because he won’t talk to me anymore since Zecca’s arrest based on his last statement to me, that Ralph Lucignano was like a brother to him and that they were friends to the end.

Of course, I am looking forward to the end, myself!

Bruce Schmitt”

April 13, 2017 – Florida Keys – Gary Roberts: The Last Resort Ministry – Gary L Roberts

As a volunteer chaplain in jail and prison ministry for over 20 years, there have been many situations encountered. Maybe we can all benefit from:

Lessons Learned in Jail and Prison #5

“So Long BPKRP”

Drugs and Foot Washing

The Last Resort Ministry left the Big Pine Key Road Prison this past Friday for the last time after over fourteen years of Christian ministry there. As most of Monroe County knows the Prison is closing on Friday, April 14 – ironically Good Friday. No one seems to have a viable explanation why the State decided to close this vital segment of the County which kept the roads, beaches and public housing areas clean for over seven decades. We are thankful for the many years we had there and the welcome that both officers and inmates gave to us. It was with much sadness we drove out the gate leaving the officers, inmates and Key Deer behind.

One of the many memorable times we had at the prison was on Good Friday. We introduced the inmates to a practice that is no longer observed in most Christian churches – foot washing. It is taken from the Gospel of John, Chapter 13. On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion as he celebrated the Passover Feast with his disciples, the Bible tells us: “…he took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” (NLT) It was a common practice that a basin of water would be left by the door in Hebrew homes for guests to wash their feet as the foot wear was sandals and the roads were dusty. What was not common was that any Hebrew would wash the feet of another. In fact it was not heard of and the disciples were dismayed – especially Peter. “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet.” (NLT)

Peter got the message and I pray we do also. Jesus, God come in the flesh, was teaching us to do the most humbling thing imaginable that we might show his love to a dirty and aching world. This is what we hoped to convey to the inmates – and we also had several Peters over the years also.

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of washing one of the inmates feet who was finishing his time and would soon be free. He was an older and very large man and I remember his feet would hardly fit in the basin we use. I had come to know him as a very gentle and humble man also. As I washed his feet with the warm and refreshing water, I asked him if he had plans upon leaving and if he would be able to return to work he had done in the past. I will never forget the sad look in his eyes as he replied, “Sir I have no where to go and the only thing I have ever done in my life is sell drugs.” What can you say to that except to pray with him and ask God to show him the way. I am happy to report that he did find housing at an “After Care” program in N Florida and am sure he continued on his way with our Lord. I must admit that I am choking up as I write this thinking of him and the many others that we had such a privilege of knowing and helping bring our Lord Jesus into their lives. It is certainly we who serve who are most blessed!

I pray also for each of you who read this that you may know the love of Jesus for you personally. If you have doubts, then look at the cross and listen to the voice of Jesus shout – “I love you!”

There will be a walk with the cross on US-1 this Good Friday beginning at the United Methodist Community Church at 9:00 am. The walk will take us to several churches along the way and end at the Church of God. Also remember the Sunrise Service this Easter morning at Sombrero Beach.

Although we no longer are able to minister at the Big Pine Key Road Prison, The Last Resort Ministry continues to bring the love of God to the inmates at the Marathon Jail. We prefer not to meet you there, but please join us at The Way – Life Recovery Group where all are welcome.

God loves you so much, He had rather die than be without you – Brennan Manning

If you are looking for some answers to life’s questions, please accept this invitation to join a few others at “The Way” – Life Recovery Group – or call 305-395-0998. We meet at The Personal Growth Center in front of The Guidance/Care Center, 3000 41st Street Ocean, Marathon, FL – next to the American Legion on Thursday evenings from 7-8 pm. Follow the signs from US-1. “We are all in recovery from something.”

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