Nick Sortal was supposed to start last night’s Plantation City Council meeting with the typical invocation. A few kind words, a remembrance, a moment of silence or even a quite prayer. Instead, Nick Sortal addressed a Human Resources complaint filed against him by a longtime City of Plantation employee. Last week, REDBROWARD broke the news of Sortal’s inappropriate sexual and racial remarks to deputy clerk.
According to an official City memorandum, Sortal and his wife entered the City Clerk’s office in May to file paperwork to run for Mayor. The couple entered following an encounter with popular incumbent Mayor Lynn Stoner. Nick Sortal told the female employee that the argument between Stoner and his wife aroused him. “My dick is hard for this,” Sortal said.
Then, the employee stated Sortal asked if another candidate was black. When informed the other candidate was white, Sortal said, “Oh good, Plantation will never have a black mayor.” During the HR investigation, Sortal admitted he made the remarks.
Sortal never responded to our request for comment.
Sortal did tell a student-run website at FIU that our report on the comments was “inaccurate.”
Sortal was even more direct in a subsequent statement to the Sun-Sentinel. Sortal told reporter Lisa Huriash that the penis remark was a joke directed at his wife not the city employee. As for the racial remark, Sortal said it is “a lie. That never, ever happened. I’m not that kind of person.”
A definite denial. Nick Sortal said he never made a racial remark. Sortal says anyone saying otherwise is a liar.
Case closed, right?
SORTAL ADMITS MAKING COMMENTS AGAIN
Last week, REDBROWARD revealed Nick Sortal admitted to making the racial comments in a bizarre email to City if Plantation HR Director Denese Edsall. Sortal included a smear against Mayor Lynn Stoner in the email.
The email came after Nick Sortal urged supporters to contact editors at the Sun-Sentinel to complain about Lisa Huriash’s story. REDBROWARD obtained an email from Sortal urging supporters to say the story was “inaccurate” and “incorrectly reported.” Sortal hoped the complaints would cause the newspaper to pull the story.
REDBROWARD asked Sun-Sentinel editor-in-chief Julie Anderson about Sortal’s pressure campaign.
“Yes, we stand by the story. [Sortal] complained to us after the online version posted so we reviewed his complaints immediately,” Anderson said. “Ultimately we didn’t see any issues and published it in print as well. We’ll keep reporting it as it develops, of course.”
Last night, before a audience of residents, friends, family, City employees, fellow Council members and the Mayor, Nick Sortal once again admitted to making the racial comments to the whistleblower. Sortal made the remarks in public, on the record and on video.
THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM FOR NICK SORTAL?
Nick Sortal started his speech at last night’s Plantation City Council meeting with another swipe at the media and whistleblowers. Sortal said “a lot of misinformation was circulated” after someone “distributed HR notes to the media.” Sortal claimed he would “clear up the facts.”
Sortal said it was “wrong” to make reference to the state of his penis to a female employee. He said he apologized to CAO Jason Nunemaker and vowed to never make similar remarks again.
As for the racial remark, Nick Sortal said the Human Resources report had “mischaracterized…support for greater diversity and public leadership.” Sortal said, “unfortunately, notes taken by an uninvolved third party…did not accurately reflect my statement or the sentiment I meant to convey to the City employee.” The “notes” were taken by top level City officials investigating alleged misconduct by an elected official. Hardly an “uninvolved third party.”
Sortal claimed he had many racial discussions with employees at City Hall over the last four years. He said he was “lamenting such a lack of diversity in our public offices.”
Then, Councilman Nick Sortal used an excuse almost as tired as the “I was hacked” excuse.
Nick Sortal claimed he was being “sarcastic.”
“I communicated this in a sarcastic and tone deaf manner and for that I am terribly sorry,” Sortal said.
Sortal finished by calling the outing of an HR investigation into his behavior a “distraction.”
Three times, on the record, Nick Sortal admitted to making the racial remark, “Oh good. Plantation will never have a black mayor.”
But now he wants residents to believe he was just joking. He was being “sarcastic” while making bigoted remarks to deputy city clerk while conducting official business inside City Hall.
If he was just joking, why did Nick Sortal deny making the racial remarks to the Sun-Sentinel? Sortal told the reporter that the accusation was a “lie.” When Lisa Huriash included the racial remark in her story, an angry Nick Sortal launched a campaign to smear Huriash’s reporting in order to spike her story.
Why would Nick Sortal, a former reporter, do this is he was just being “sarcastic?”
Nick Sortal’s behavior during this entire time has been unprofessional. He called the whistleblower a liar. He called the Mayor a racist. He attacked the media for reporting the facts.
And Nick Sortal wants to be the next Mayor of Plantation?
Emperor Nick Sortal has no clothes.