Local News

The Empire Stikes Back! Stilo Attacks Councilman Bill Fitzgerald

January 24, 2012

By Mike Scerbo

It was bound to happen. The Empire (Stilo) was destined to strike back at Bill Fitzgerald, the lone voice on the Town Council who challenges this Italian based development company that is seeking to exploit the Grand Canyon.

Stilo's legal team claims Fitzgerald misused his position at the local postal center and he has a conflict of interest in matters related to Stilo. The accusations name no witnesses nor do they cite any real laws that have been broken. Fitzgerald says the claims are false. He says they are not even accusations, just statements.

But that didn't stop Stilo's lawyers from writing to Fitzgerald's employers who oversee the postal center. By the way, Bill is not a postal worker, he works for a company that manages the center.

Aside from going after Fitzgerald's livelihood, they also went after his free speech. Apparently team Stilo believes Bill is not allowed to lead a referendum on Stilo's land use plans while voting on Stilo issues as a council member. Cornered by Stilo's legal team, Fitzgerald had no choice but to promise to declare a conflict on all things Stilo until after the May 15th election that could very well overturn the land use plan and give Tusayan back to its residents.

The Council could have voted to censure Fitzgerald, but they didn't. Councilman John Reuter offered some words of comfort to Fitzgerald. Reuter is generally a class act. While his support came from Stilo and its allies, he  recuses himself from voting on matters related to the Stilo land use plan. . Councilman Al Montoya, who received an $8,000 win bonus from Stilo allies, told Bill "welcome to the club" and then pointed at this reporter claiming his character has been under attack. By the way Montoya does not declare a conflict on matters relating to Stilo.

Mayor Bryan, Montoya, and Reuter all voted against censure. Vice Mayor Maniaci was not at the meeting, nor was she on the teleconference line.

Fitzgerald calls Stilo's actions acts of petty revenge intended to divide the town, "I hope the Town Council takes into consideration who they're getting in bed with. I see this as a a spotlight on somebody's character but not mine. This type of thing is a reflection on their (Stilo's) character and their ethics. They never have any conflict of interest I suppose. 99% of this is just toilet paper written with brown ink as far as I'm concerned."

Fitzgerald added that when he first saw the letters from Stilo's lawyers he told Town Attorney William Simms,"Someone is trying to infringe on my freedom of speech."

Of Course Stilo had no problem with Mayor Bryan's freedom of speech when he wrote a letter to the Grand Canyon News on November 8th. The Mayor was making a case AGAINST the referendum. Here is an excerpt:

"The council was told that if the applications were passed they would work very hard to have homes at Camper Village by Christmas for residents to rent or own. However, if there is a petition for a referendum, asking for a town vote to overturn the council's decisions, it would put everything on hold until sometime next spring - probably May."

Or how about the Mayor's letter to the editor on January 24th:

 "Way too often it is the vocal minority of naysayers, who want status quo rather than positive change, that can command people's attention and the desires or needs of the more silent majority gets lost in the negative rhetoric. We are here to listen and work for you, but we need to hear from you to do so. Give us a call or an email or come and share your thoughts with us at a Council meeting. Anyway you feel comfortable, just do it!!! Let's make this the year of the Council hearing the voice of the silent majority".

Mayor Bryan's letters to the editor in support of Stilo seem to indicate a conflict of interest, if you apply Stilo's standards. But Stilo's legal team seems to be selective in how it applies those standards. That's because they are not interested in good government, they're just interested in making a buck.