In an explosive email Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki wrote to the city's governing charter school board saying "the phone call was not to tell him to hire her back."
The mayor was referring to municipal charter school superintendent Nelson Stephenson who recently went public with claims the mayor tried to intimidate him into re-hiring an Oasis High School teacher whose contract was not renewed.
"What she said to me on the phone was, 'If you don't renew this person, or re-hire, this person that she would personally take care and see fit that it would be done," said Stephenson.
He claims the fired teacher is a friend of Mayor Sawicki and says the mayor used intimidation tactics against him after he chose to let her go.
A public records request from the mayor shows she asked for specific information regarding Stephenson's hiring process, and teacher turnover rates.
The request also obtained appeals for information on the principal of the Oasis High school which is where the teacher was fired from.
"There were other teachers that didn't get renewed from other schools but there's no mention of those principals. There was no mention of anybody else just Mrs. Treece and I which is where that one employee comes from," said Nelson stephenson>
Mayor Sawicki denies any sort of intimidation. In an email to charter school board members Sawicki says she only called Stephenson to question a letter he sent to all non-renewed teachers.
Fox 4 news contacted Sawicki several times to no avail. However, hours later she posted the same email she sent to the charter school board to her Facebook page. Attached to the post was an email from Stephenson where he thanked her for a recent meeting he described as "authentic, open and direct conversation."
The caption of the Facebook post read in part: "does this appear to be a man who is in fear of being fired by thanking me for taking my time to have an "authentic, open and direct conservation"?
Stephenson says he believes the Mayor is targeting him.
"This to me is an issue of power and abuse from one person to somebody else in local government," said Stephenson.
In the mayor's email she states the timing of Stephenson's remarks is concerning. The mayor then cites two recent audits on Cape Charter schools. One was The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which occurs annually. The second audit is an internal cash audit.
In a April 2016 email obtained by Fox 4, Stephenson made a request for the internal cash audit writing "we have not had this sort of audit done for the last 7 years."
"We have somebody here that is using their power in a way, I believe, to try to hurt people and somebody needs to take a stand," said Stephenson.