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City property sold to two men arrested for alleged drug crimes

Posted at 6:49 PM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 18:49:28-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — City property sold to alleged drug dealers at a discount.

Fort Myers City Council unanimously approved to sell land on Fairview Avenue worth $4,000 for just $500. That was June 15th, but now Councilman Fred Burson is having second thoughts.

“I would’ve certainly voted different if I would’ve known they were involved in criminal activity of any type,”

The criminal activity councilman Burson’s referring to is alleged drug trafficking. The State Attorney’s Office arrested Ronnie Tape along with 40 others a little over a week ago for alleged drug trafficking throughout Southwest Florida.

That long list of arrests includes Devarous Phillips, who was also approved by council for a quit-claim deed on Davis Street.

The property they bought was a part of a city program aimed at rebuilding a neighborhood off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Burson says applicants should be properly vetted prior to approval.

“I’m going to approach the city manager about it, and make sure we are doing the proper background check,” he said.

One attendee in that June meeting says council knew about the investigation and referred Tape for the Fairview property. City Attorney Grant Alley, who reviewed the deeds before they made it to the council’s agenda, flat out said that’s not true.

“No councilperson was involved with our office with respect to this agenda item,” said Alley.

Fort Myers Police Department told Fox 4 in an email they did not disclose information to the city about their criminal investigation. Burson says the deeds have already been recorded, so they don’t belong to the city anymore.