‘Justice for Patty’ GoFundMe set up
A GoFundMe to help pay legal fees and other expenses has been set up for Patty Cummings, the District 4 Cape Coral City Council member now suspended from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis on allegations she falsified her address to run for office.
The GoFundMe, “Justice for Patty – Organized by her friends.” was set up Friday, according to the site. The organizer is listed as Friends of Patty Cummings.
Cummings could not be reached for comment.
The GoFundMe text reads:
“WE THE PEOPLE need to support Patty Cummings and her fight for JUSTICE!
“City Council member, Patty Cummings, was duly elected by her constituents. Her campaign victory, while a surprise to much of the local political machine, struck a blow for individual liberty, small business and the hard working citizens of the City of Cape Coral. City Council positions belong to the people and not the politicians. Ms Cummings entered the arena without guile or cynicism- an ideal candidate with a great reputation. That displeased the machine. She has great personal character, heart and genuine concern for her city. Unjustly Removed from her City Council seat, defamation of her name and business and extreme loss of livelihood deprived of Due Process and targeted in a political hate crime. Help her reclaim her reputation and defend her civil rights legally in the court of law. Your contribution to this GoFundMe will aid in legal fees and other expenses, as she battles false accusations that have taken a toll on her business and life as a single mother. Stand with Patty as she seeks truth and restoration. People rely on one of our greatest ideals which is due process of which our constitution guarantees and of which the city Mayor and the City Council had and have denied her.”
The donation goal is listed as $25,000 with four donations totaling $850 as of 9:20 p.m. Saturday.
The State Attorney’s Office, 20th Judicial Circuit, charged Cummings this week with three felonies — fraudulent application for driver license and two counts of false swearing in connection with or arising out of voting or elections. The charges stem from a citizen complaint that Cummings “fraudulently represented herself as living in District 4” when she qualified to run for the seat.
The State Attorney’s Office opened its investigation in June at the request the Cape Coral City Council following a city-commissioned “fact-finding” report.
The city’s contract administrative investigation was prepared by attorney Vicki L. Sproat of Boy Agnew Potanovic Miller, who was retained by the city on March 24 to conduct an independent inquiry as to whether Cummings was a resident in District 4 at the time she filed paperwork to run.
Using what she called a “preponderance of evidence standard,” Sproat found that “Cummings was not a full-time or part-time resident” of the home she listed on Palm Tree Boulevard during the relevant period and that “Cummings did not reside in District 4 until March 22, 2023.”
Sproat also found that “Cummings failed to cooperate in the investigation,” citing what she called “the greater weight of the evidence.”
Upon receiving the report, City Council rejected a bid to charge Cummings with violating the city’s charter residency requirements when she qualified to run, then voted 7-1 to have the State Attorney’s Office look into the allegation as it has subpoena authority, something the city’s independent investigator lacked.
The SAO obtained an arrest warrant on Monday and Cummings voluntarily turned herself in to the Lee County Jail on Tuesday afternoon as agreed. She posted bond of $7,500 and was released early Tuesday evening.
Cummings has steadfastly maintained that she committed no violation of the city’s charter and that she provided Sproat with documents attesting to that.
She stated after the arrest that she is innocent of the charges she is now facing and will fight them in court via a not-guilty plea.
Editor’s note 2: This story has been updated to reflect changes made to the GoFundMe page. The edited original story read, in part:
The GoFundMe, “Justice for Patty – Organized by her friends.” was set up Friday, according to the site. The organizer is listed as Patty Cummings.
Cummings could not be reached via text or cell for confirmation that she organized the fundraiser for which she is listed or for comment.
Editor’s note 1: This story has been updated to reflect changes made to the GoFundMe page. The original story read, in part:
“A GoFundMe to help pay legal fees and other expenses has been set up for Patty Cummings, the District 4 Cape Coral City Council member now suspended from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis on allegations she falsified her address to run for office.
“The GoFundMe, Justice for Patty, was set up Friday, according to the site. The organizer is listed as Patty Cummings.
“Cummings could not be reached via text or cell for confirmation that she organized the fundraiser for which she is listed or for comment.”
… “The donation goal is listed as $50,000 with four donations totaling $850 as of 1:30 today.”