Tom Lemons / YouTube RNRF Interview with Commissioner Nick Nicholson...
Tom Lemons / YouTube

Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson was arrested on Thursday on charges surrounding a prostitution sting. The 71-year-old Florida Republican’s arrest came after a two month investigation, according to ABC Action News, set off by Nicholson’s roommates—a married couple—who were visited by the police in February due to a domestic disturbance.

Deputies reported that while in the home they found drug paraphernalia that Nicholson said belonged to his roommates. Deputies reported that Nicholson looked to be under the influence of a substance and he spoke to deputies with his genitals exposed. Deputies said they had to tell Nicholson repeatedly to cover himself.

While there Kendel Surette told deputies that his 30-year-old wife Valerie Surette has sex with 71-year-old Nicholson on Tuesdays and Saturdays in exchange for shelter and food and that he pays $300 a week for the sex.

According to the Miami Herald, Nicholson had been investigated for a “relationship” he had with another stripper in 2012—around the time he became Hernando County Commissioner. After his arrest the Republican Executive Committee of Hernando County voted to ask Nicholson to resign his position.

Surette said she met Nicholson last year at Icon Gentleman’s Club in Pasco County, where she was a stripper. In April 2017, he suggested she move into his home at 4580 Tiburon Ave., she said.

“He begged me for months and offered me very large sums of money if I would move in and have sex with him,” she said.

The issue here is not the sex work. It’s the illegality of the sex work coupled with the historically hypocritical moral positions of our more conservative political actors. The illegality of prostitution is also a safety issue for everyone involved.

After moving in next door to Nicholson in January 2017, Joe and Sheli Dile watched day after day as cars — even limousines — stopped in front of the house to drop off women who went into the home. Men came, too, they said.

“There are kids in the neighborhood, and she’s out servicing Johns in the driveway,” Sheli Dile said. Kendel Surette told deputies in February that his wife had sex with clients in a car outside the home.

The situation in Hernando County seems terrible. Whether or not Nicholson was abusing this couple, everybody loses, and representing an untenable “moral high-ground” as a political party makes things worse, not better.

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