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Attorney Provides In-Depth Analysis of Ethics Case Against Collier Schools Superintendent

In May, a Naples citizen filed an ethics grievance against Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Ricciardelli. The grievance claimed Ricciardelli violated Florida law by not declaring a part of her personal funds. A hearing took place on Oct. 20.

We spoke with Naples attorney Marshall Tanick to interrupt down the case and discuss what’s next.

What was the grievance?

Naples citizen Nancy Keller filed the grievance against Ricciardelli in May, stating Ricciardelli violated a Florida statute by not disclosing that she leased a Mercedes or had $18,000 in unpaid fines.

Ricciardelli said she didn’t know she needed to report her automotive as intangible property and that it was a mistake.

The $18,000 in fines got here from Collier County code enforcement after her husband didn’t obtain a permit for brand spanking new construction on their property.

What form of discipline could Ricciardelli get?

“The board has a wide-ranging authority, they will dismiss the case altogether,” Tanick said. “Or they will impose some significant discipline… I do not think that may occur here, however the range of the disciplinary remedies is pretty broad.”

While the board has the authority to remove Ricciardelli’s license, Tanick thinks it’s unlikely.

“It could seem that probably a case like this might warrant an issuance of an admonition, or warning, form of a ‘don’t do it again,’ which some view as a form of a slap on the wrist,” Tanick said.

In a case like this, Tanick said the board may require that Ricciardelli make a public statement and apology.

What comes next?

After the hearing, the board decides if Ricciardelli violated Florida law. Then, they’ll issue some form of disciplinary measure.

“They must make a proper final determination that she committed some form of ethical impropriety or misconduct, after which they’ve to make a decision what that treatment, or relief, or result should be,” Tanick said.

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