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Lani Kai attorney addresses data on service calls

Resort attorney says data shows majority of reports were not for incidents at hotel

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Sep 16, 2020

The Lani Kai Island Resort on Fort Myers Beach

Attorney Ellyn Bogdanoff, hired by the Lani Kai Island Resort to deal with risk management issues and to address the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council’s consideration of a nuisance abatement board ordinance, appeared in front of the council Thursday to address the list of calls for service at the Lani Kai which had been cited by some as a reason for a nuisance abatement board.

Bogdanoff said she worked with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to drill down the details on 868 calls for service which were attributed to the address of the resort in 2019. Of those, 646 of the calls were not for responses to calls from the Lani Kai property, she said. Of the 868 calls, 327 were actually routine area checks that the Sheriff’s Office does for the property. There were 58 “calls” that were traffic stops attributed to the address of the Lani Kai due to the proximity of the stop.

Bogdanoff said the data on Sheriff’s Office statistics regarding the hotel property was “sensationalized” by those opposing the hotel even though the vast majority of the “calls” were not actually incidents requiring service at the hotel property but reports which used the address. Bogdanoff noted that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has found that approximately 2% of its “calls” or “reports” for service on Fort Myers Beach is attributed to the address of the Lani Kai Island Resort. “I don’t think their calls are disproportionate,” Bogdanoff said.

The data cited by some who have pushed for action against the hotel, including calls for a nuisance abatement board, were actually reports the Sheriff’s Office marks down for everything from the area checks to medical calls and removing a homeless person from laying on the sidewalk, Bogdanoff said.

Of the 222 calls that Bogdanoff said were for the property, the majority were for trespassing or disturbances. Bogdanoff said more employee training for security staff will lead to less calls to the Sheriff’s Office. An outside security expert has been retained by the hotel.

The hotel had four “calls” for drugs last year, three of which were reports set up by the Sheriff’s Office to make drug purchases at the bar, Bogdanoff said.

“When you drill down into the CAD files and you look at it, it is not what you thought it was. It is not as severe as what you thought it was. It is a much different picture than what I heard, and I heard the outrage about how abusive of the resources of the town, it is simply not the case.”

Councilmember Jim Atterholt pressed Bogdanoff as to why there were more medical calls to the address of the Lani Kai Island Resort than other properties. Bogdanoff said she believes the Lani Kai’s address is being used as a landmark for calls from people on the beach or on the sidewalks and not necessarily on the property. “It’s easier for people to find,” Bogdanoff said. Bogdanoff said the area around the Lani Kai is a popular gathering spot.

Atterholt asked whether Bogdanoff would meet with the fire department over the resort’s medical calls and pressed Bogdanoff about whether she analyzed the medical calls. “I’m not going to do an analysis as to whether or not somebody should have called 911,” she said.

Bogdanoff said the resort will have more controlled access in the future to its property, which has been open to the public for many years.