Crime

Former Islamorada mayor's lawyer won't discuss talk of plea deal. Multiple federal agencies raided his popular tourist business in 2011

Federal agents gather on the Robbie's Marina property during a raid there in November 2011. An official reason for the raid has yet to be given.
Federal agents gather on the Robbie's Marina property during a raid there in November 2011. An official reason for the raid has yet to be given.

Former Islamorada Village Councilman Michael Reckwerdt has both won admirers over the years and made enemies even madder by his resilience and ability to come out in one piece through hairy situations.

For instance, then-Islamorada Mayor Reckwerdt promised "interesting times" were ahead while speaking at a Nov. 10, 2011, Village Council meeting following a multi-agency federal raid on his popular Robbie's Marina business several days earlier.

He also vowed not to resign.

"This council is going to continue to have me on it. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not leaving. I didn't run. I never did run. That's not what I do," he told colleagues and constituents at the end of the meeting.

But in the three and a half years that have passed since the Nov. 3 raid on Reckwerdt's Lower Matecumbe Key tourist hot spot, not much has happened pertaining to whatever it was that agents from the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI were looking for.

They raided both Robbie's locations -- mile marker 77 in the Upper Keys and a Stock Island marina. But Reckwerdt finished his final term in office in 2012 after serving on the council for more than eight years -- more than any other council member in the village's short history.

After that Reckwerdt, 47, pretty much faded from the public eye. His wife of 14 years, Annie Reckwerdt, divorced him two years earlier -- a legal fight that got an ugly start in September 2010 after she gave her ex 12 stitches and ran him down with a golf cart at Robbie's over an affair she accused Michael of having.

Through it all, Reckwerdt remained loyal to Annie, in a way. He faced contempt-of-court charges by refusing to cooperate in the State Attorney's Office case against his former wife, who was arrested over the incident on charges of battery and battery with a deadly weapon. Without Reckwerdt's statement, then-State Attorney Dennis Ward could not bring a case.

Michael Reckwerdt's possible legal woes have been coming up in conversation around town again over the past two weeks.

Reckwerdt’s attorney Ben Keuhne last week declined to comment when asked whether his client made a plea deal to serve one year in prison -- likely related to the federal raid on Robbie's. Kuehne was asked the question about a possible plea deal after he told The Reporter there were no "pending federal charges" against Reckwerdt.

"What are you possibly saying," Kuehne responded in a text message. "I am not commenting on that assertion. I made a very specific statement to you."

Reckwerdt did not return several phone messages specifically asking him to comment on the existence of a plea deal.

Spokeswomen with both the IRS and the U.S. Attorney's Office -- Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette Castillo and Special Agent Jennifer Kuehl -- issued identical statements when asked about it. Neither agency can " confirm or deny the existence of an investigation." 



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