It’s been approximately four weeks since the parking ticket heard ’round the world was written on Greenstone Court in the Stoneybrook community. However, it seems the Lee County Sheriff’s Office police officer who issued the ticket has yet to formally process the ticket.
The Gateway Sun has learned that the recipient of the ticket, whose name we’re choosing not to publish, has went down to the court house on three separate occasions to attempt to pay it – only to be turned back each time because the ticket cannot be found in the system.
This would obviously explain why our public records request regarding this ticket were returned empty by the LCSO. But I will verify that I have seen a copy of the ticket in its entirety, and have the citation and ticket numbers.
The latest information we have is that a manager will be looking in to the situation and will contact the ticket recipient later this week to let them know what’s going on.
It was Gateway District board chairperson Margaret Fineberg – who also serves as an HOA board member in Stoneybrook – that ordered the HOA staff to arrange for the special LCSO detail on December 16 that resulted in the parking fine.
As we have posted on social media, we know the identity of the officer and are aware that this officer received special treatment from the HOA board in the past. Specifically, this officer parked a large commercial vehicle in their driveway in Stoneybrook for a prolonged period of time, which should have resulted in $100 per day fines up to $1,000 – however the Stoneybrook HOA board made the decision to look the other way.
The Sun has also learned that Fineberg specifically ordered the HOA staff to select the December 16 date as one of the days for the special detail in Stoneybrook, calling in to question whether the Fineberg and the officer had a previous discussion about dates and times the officer could pick up that special detail assignment in Stoneybrook. Additionally, if Fineberg and the officer colluded on the date for the assignment it would raise questions about HOA funds being funneled to a resident.
From what we’ve learned, the officer told a Stoneybrook homeowner that he was “being paid $45/hour to write tickets”.
This publication has gone great lengths to explain that an LCSO parking ticket is not possible in Stoneybrook due to a lack of an interlocal agreement under FS 316.006(3) between the Gateway District (who own the roads) and Lee County. Such an agreement would have to exist for the county to exercise jurisdiction over Stoneybrook’s roads.
The LCSO parking ticket issue was raised by Supervisor Ed Tinkle at the January 2, 2020 meeting of the Gateway District, with the Gateway District’s attorney Tony Pires stating “My understanding is that this board [EDITOR’S NOTE: the Gateway board] did not ask them [the LCSO], my understanding is the Stoneybrook board asked them.”
Tinkle replied: “We didn’t give them the authority to do that.”
To which Pires said, “I don’t know if we need to give them the authority to ask the Sheriff’s department.”
In principal, of course the HOA can invite the LCSO in to Stoneybrook on the basis that it’s a free country. However per FS 316.006(3) an interlocal agreement between the district and Lee County would need to be entered in to in order for the LCSO to have the jurisdiction required to issue parking tickets. The LCSO themselves have told Tinkle that, which Tinkle publicly shared, and we posted a video of it to our YouTube page. We cannot help but wonder if the officer learned of the lack of interlocal agreement and simply didn’t submit the ticket for processing.
For our readers who have followed this saga since 2017, the Gateway Services District has been moving the goalposts when it comes to an attempted ban on street parking in Stoneybrook.
For years Pires claimed that FS 316.2045(1) made it illegal to park on Stoneybrook’s roads. When this publication showed ample case law proving Pires’ legal position didn’t hold up, he attempted to convince the board to create a towing policy under FS 190.012(2)(d). Now, after 10 years of saying the district would have to be the entity to arrange for parking enforcement in Stoneybrook, Pires has said Stoneybrook has the authority to do it on their own.
Both Fineberg and Pires have been at the forefront of multiple ill-fated and debunked attempts to ban parking in the 777 home community. The duo have had total support from Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty, while Supervisor Ed Tinkle has led the charge on behalf of Stoneybrook residents to fight an improper parking ban. Vice-Chairman Bill Guy and Supervisor Doug Banks have evolved their positions over the years as new information has come forward. It is not known where they stand today, although Banks said at the January 2 meeting that he would like the parking situation resolved at the January 16 meeting.
Tinkle also directed Pires to come up with a legal position on parking at that meeting.
Pires has taken many positions on parking in Stoneybrook, but one position he has never taken is to enter into an interlocal agreement with the county to ban parking. It would be refreshing if he did so on January 16 because it would mark the first time FS 316.006(3) has even been brought up by Pires.
Lee County has said they would enter in to that agreement as long as two-thirds of Stoneybrook residents were in agreement. Perhaps Pires knows that the street parking ban is so loudly unpopular in Stoneybrook that there’s no point even asking the residents so he’s sought alternative solutions by offering highly questionable interpretations of various laws.
The Gateway Sun is developing a video called “A Decade of Deceit” where we present you 10 years’ worth of false information provided to Stoneybrook residents from everyone ranging from Joe Mikulka to the South Trail Fire District, all of which claiming that street parking is not allowed — with all of it linked back to Fineberg.
Look for the video later this week.
The author of this article is not an attorney.