Tag Archives: complaint

“MY D*CK IS HARD FOR THIS:” Plantation Councilman Nick Sortal Admits Making Inappropriate Sexual And Racist Remarks To City Employee

Nick Sortal comments on chances of a black mayor.

Plantation City Councilman Nick Sortal made highly inappropriate sexual and racist remarks by to a city employee sparking a Human Resources investigation, records show. REDBROWARD obtained a memorandum detailing the City’s investigation into Sortal’s remarks following a complaint filed by a high-level City of Plantation employee. While REDBROWARD knows the name of the employee, we are not naming her at this time.

The memorandum bears the signature of City Of Plantation Human Resources Director Denese Edsall, Ph. D.

According to the memorandum, the incident occurred last month when Nick Sortal filed paperwork to run for Mayor. Sortal, accompanied by his wife, told the employee about their “scuffle” with popular incumbent Mayor Lynn Stoner. Sortal said he exchanged words with Stoner regarding his decision to challenge her. Sortal said his wife, Robyn Sortal, also exchanged words with Mayor Stoner.

Then, Councilman Nick Sortal told the female employee, “My dick is hard for this!

Rhymes with “Nick”

Shocked by Sortal’s graphic comment, the female employee said he covered her face.

Sortal then asked her if anyone else filed paperwork to run for mayor. She told him yes.

Sortal asked if the person was black. The employee, a person of color, said no.

Sortal said, “Oh good, Plantation will never have a black mayor.

The female employee would later file a complaint with the City of Plantation Human Resources Department.

NOTHING CITY COULD LEGALLY DO

According to the memorandum obtained by REDBROWARD, City of Plantation officials met on May 23, 2022 to discuss the “protocol for handling the complaint” against Nick Sortal. Chief Administrative Officer Jason Nunemaker and Human Resources Director Denese Edsall conducted a telephone conference call with labor attorney Denise Heekin. City leaders wanted to determine the City’s responsibility and how to handle the matter.

According to the labor attorney, since Nick Sortal is an elected official, the City could not level any sanctions against him. She advised Nunemaker to speak with Sortal about the inappropriate nature of the comments and the fact that a complaint was made against him. Heekin said there was nothing else Plantation could legally do to Sortal.

Screenshot of City Of Plantation memorandum detailing Sortal HR complaint.

SORTAL FELT “COMFORTABLE”

According to the memorandum, CAO Jason Nunemaker discussed the matter with Nick Sortal on May 24, 2022. The memo states, “Mr. Nunemaker spoke to Councilman Sortal who admitted to the comments.” Sortal said he, “did not realize they were taken as inappropriate as he has been speaking to [the employee] for four years and felt comfortable.” Sortal told Nunemaker he “would be more careful in the future.”

On May 25, 2022 another discussion was held with labor attorney Denise Heekin. She advised leaders to document the actions taken and to “document to a separate complaint file the actions taken.” Heekin advised leaders to discuss the actions with the female employee.

Later that day, a city official spoke with the female employee. The official told her that Nunemaker spoke with Sortal. Sortal promised to be more careful. The employee asked if she was required to deal with Sortal in the future. The City official said no.

The employee stated she understood what the City had done to address the matter. The City of Plantation official told her “If anything else happened she should let me know immediately.”

Last Friday, Councilman Nick Sortal sent a floral arrangement to the employee at her City Hall office.

Nick Sortal sent flowers to victim.

REDBROWARD contacted Nick Sortal for comment on this matter.

We wanted to know why Nick Sortal felt “comfortable” talking about the state of his penis with a woman not his wife.

We wanted to know if Nick Sortal regularly discusses the state of his penis with other City of Plantation employees.

We wanted to know why arguing with a female colleague made his penis “hard.”

We wanted to ask Nick Sortal why he asked about the race of potential opponents.

We wanted to ask Nick Sortal why he said “Oh Good” when told the opponent was not black.

We wanted Nick Sortal to tell us why there will never be a black mayor in Plantation.

We wanted to know why Nick Sortal sent flowers to an employee who filed an HR complaint against him?

Nick Sortal did not respond to our request for comment.

Nick Sortal has a history of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior at City Hall. And he wants to be the next Mayor of Plantation?

Stay tuned….

Bombshell Report: Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton Called Opponents “White Jew” & “White Cracker,” Accused Of “Bullying” Numerous City Employees.

A bombshell report commissioned by the City of Tamarac Human Resources Department revealed a pattern of “bullying” of City employees by Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton. The report documents several instances of Bolton attacking political opponents by using their race, ethnicity and religion. City leaders hired noted attorney Levi Williams to investigate six complaints by City employees and 2 complaints by City residents against Marlon Bolton.

The report was released in early 2020. But you likely never heard about its bombshell findings.

In January 2020, The Sun-Sentinel wrote about the report but the Bolton-friendly headline stated he considered the investigation to be a “witch hunt.” Reporter Lisa Huriash wrote:

“The accusations against Bolton were substantiated by an investigation commissioned by Tamarac, which says it won’t tolerate a hostile work environment. “Each of the complaints filed by the city complainants are found to have merit and support Commissioner Bolton’s violation of city codes,” attorney and investigator Levi Williams wrote in his 99-page report. “Although Commissioner Bolton proffered explanations for the allegations levied against him, this investigator found them to be wanting and self-serving and without merit.

Yet the story provided few details about the accusations and the report. Instead, it gave coverage of the seemingly coordinated attacks against the accusers and the investigation.

During a public meeting, Bolton lashed out at his perceived enemies. He called Williams’ investigation a “witch hunt.” Bolton claimed the City Manager did not hire enough black employees.

Bolton said, “it was ‘patent public corruption and misuse of taxpayer funds for Mayor [Michelle] Gomez to have instigated this bogus investigation for the sole purpose of advancing her own political agenda.'”

Gomez and City officials said the seriousness of the allegations by numerous employees forced the HR department to call for an outside investigation.

SHE IS A WHITE JEW

Testimony from two longtime city firefighters described Marlon Bolton’s behavior while campaigning for Elvin Villalobos in 2018. As REDBROWARD revealed last week, Marlon Bolton served as Villalobos’ campaign treasurer. Also, Bolton personally collected nearly $5,000 in campaign contributions for Villalobos’ bid for Mayor. Villalobos ran against Michelle Gomez.

Captain William Duesler told investigators about Bolton’s behavior during early voting at the Tamarac library. Duesler said Bolton told a voter Gomez was a “White Jew–Don’t vote for her.” Another complaint heard Marlon Bolton tell a voter, “Gomez can’t even speak Spanish…and that she is a White Jew.”

In her interview for the investigation, Mayor Michelle Gomez described her encounter with Marlon Bolton at early voting. Gomez heard Bolton tell voters, “You can’t vote for her; She is a Jewish White woman who can’t speak a lick of Spanish.” Gomez told Bolton, “Yes I am Jewish.”

Marlon Bolton told investigators he was simply trying to provide information to voters.

“[Bolton] advised resident “our beloved Mayor is a White Jewish individual and only claims to be Hispanic because she spent two years in a Hispanic household,” the report states.

Bolton told investigators he “viewed his actions as a mediator versus an agitator insisting that Ms. Gomez tell people that she is a White Jewish female.”

Bolton said he “allowed” Elvin Villalobos to use his Hispanic heritage as means to get Gomez to tell the truth about her ethnicity. Bolton stated Gomez was not Hispanic simply because “she was adopted for a couple years by an adoptive father who was from Spain.”

WHITE CRACKER

Larry Goehrig ran against Marlon Bolton in 2016. He heard Bolton tell voters not vote for Goehrig because “we don’t need another white cracker on the board.” Goehrig complained that Bolton passed out an illegal palm card produced by individuals close to Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. After REDBROWARD revealed the origin of the phony card, a Broward Judge prohibited its dissemination at polling places.

Bolton told investigators he was unaware of the Judge’s order. Bolton said he did not want to discuss Goehrig out of fear of being sued by him.

BULLYING” “LOUD SHOUTING

The complaints by City employees against Marlon Bolton show a disturbing pattern of threatening behavior.

In July 2017, administrative assistant Millie Velasquez worked on finalizing a travel budget report. She was being trained by her supervisor Robyn Thalenfeld. Velasquez told investigators an angry Marlon Bolton confronted her on July 10, 2017. She said Bolton was upset because he had the highest travel budget request. Velasquez felt Bolton was angry because Sun-Sentinel reporter Lisa Huriash was asking questions about the travel budget.

Bolton asked Velasquez to change the numbers in his report. Velasquez refused his “inappropriate” request.

Velasquez said Bolton became “threatening and loud.” In the presence of other employees, Velasquez stated Bolton yelled “you work for the Commissioners…I need you to do it right away!”

As Velasquez left to discuss the situation with Thalenfeld. She stated Bolton “followed her upstairs screaming… menacing, he made her feel uncomfortable and she was about to cry.”

Velasquez felt Bolton “was going to cause her physical harm.”

Velasquez lodged a formal complaint against Marlon Bolton within 24 hours.

Robyn Thalenfeld confirmed Velasquez’ story. She said Bolton “screamed” as he followed Velasquez upstairs. Thalenfeld said Bolton was “loud and demanding.” She described his behavior as “bullying.”

City Clerk Pat Teufel told investigators she heard Commissioner Bolton “having a loud conversation with Ms. Velasquez about travel. He had a very angry tone. He was derogatory and nasty.” She said “The City is weary from Commissioner Bolton….”

BOLTON ENRAGED OVER PARKING SPACE

City employee Zach Steiner described his encounter outside Marlon Bolton’s home. Steiner, a public works department employee was turning on water service at a neighbor’s home. “Mr. Steiner said after he had parked Commissioner Bolton came out and asked him to move his vehicle and he did so. After leaving his vehicle to return to the task, Commissioner Bolton again asked him to move his vehicle to a different spot.” Steiner admitted he was argumentative with Commissioner Bolton but “he felt that the Commissioner was messing with him.” Steiner said “Bolton advised him as to who he was and started taking pictures of him doing his job.”

The report shows Bolton told Steiner’s supervisor about the encounter. Bolton said he was upset that Steiner initially blocked his vehicle and then blocked the parking spot he intended to use. Bolton told investigators he though the employee was “on drugs.”

THREATENED EMPLOYEES AND CITY WITH LAWSUIT

In 2018, Tamarac City employees prevented candidates from bringing campaign literature into an event at the City aquatic center. The City prohibited distribution of campaign materials inside City owned facilities. Most candidates had no issue complying with the rules.

Except Elvin Villalobos and Marlon Bolton.

A witness stated he told Elvin Villalobos about the prohibition on campaign material on City property. Villalobos was carrying signs and flyers into the voter registration drive. Villalobos said he spoke to the City Attorney who advised he could “do as he pleased.” Villalobos said he would call the City Attorney.

Fifteen minutes later, Marlon Bolton arrived on the scene. According to the witness statement, Bolton stated the employee “must not have gotten the memo” allowing campaign materials on City property. After employees made several calls to supervisors, City Manager Mike Cernech confirmed the prohibition still stands.

Bolton took out his camera to record the City employees. Bolton asked “are you stating to me that you are refusing to allow us to enter and hand out our materials?” The employee stated she would not answer questions while being recorded and walked away. Bolton followed her.

Later on, that employee said Bolton pulled her aside and stated, “I used to like you but, now I don’t. And you and your employee and the City can expect to be named in a lawsuit on Monday.” The employee stated Bolton was attempting to “bully and threatened me.” As a result she called in sick on Monday.

According to witness statements, Bolton stated he was there to record the event for a local website. However, Bolton acted more like a campaign operative, than a journalist or even a city leader.

Despite this pattern of behavior, none of these allegations were explored in any detail during the 2020 campaign.

Broward Judicial Candidate Lea Krauss Admits Paying Fee To Attend Partisan Political Party Event

hills club

 

A State’s interest in preserving public confidence in the integrity of its judiciary extends beyond its interest in preventing the appearance of corruption in legislative and executive elections, because a judge’s role differs from that of a politician. Unlike a politician, who is expected to be appropriately responsive to the preferences of supporters, a judge in deciding cases may not follow the preferences of his supporters or provide any special consideration to his campaign donors.

–Chief Justice John Roberts, Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar April 2015

 

Broward County Circuit Court candidate Lea Krauss’ political activity appears to run afoul of Florida elections law and the Code of Judical Conduct. Yesterday, REDBROWARD exposed how Krauss attended the Hollywood Hills Democratic Club meeting at Orangebrook Country Club. Billed as a “holiday party,” the invitation urged guests to “kick off” the 2016 election for an admission fee of just seven dollars. Krauss posted pictures from the event on her Facebook campaign page.

While wearing her campaign badge, Krauss snapped pictures with Democrat politicans and officials such as State Rep. Elaine Schwartz, Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr and Broward Democrat Party acting-chair Cynthia Busch. On her Facebook page, Krauss identified the party simply as the “Hollywood Hills Holiday Party.”

FLORIDA LAWS FOR JUDICIAL CANDIDATES

Florida Statute 105.071 (1) states, a candidate for judicial office shall not, “Participate in any partisan political party activities, except that such candidate may register to vote as a member of any political party and may vote in any party primary for candidates for nomination of the party in which she or he is registered to vote.” Section 105.071 states a judicial candidate shall not, “make contributions to political party funds.”

The Florida Supreme Court, Code Of Judicial Conduct Canon 7 sets clear guidelines for judges and judicial candidates. Section (A)(1)(d) states a judge or candidate shall not attend political party functions. Section (A)(1)(e) states a judge or candidate shall not,”solicit funds for, pay an assessment to or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate or purchase tickets for political party dinners or other functions.”

While Canon 7 allows a judge or candidate to attend a political function to “speak on behalf of his or her campaign,” section (C)(3) states the “function must not be a fund raiser.” The section states a candidate, “must avoid conduct that suggests or appears to suggest support of or opposition to a political party, a political issue or another candidate.”

US SUPREME COURT BACKS CANON 7

Numerous Florida Supreme Court decisions have reaffirmed the importance of Canon 7. In 2004, the Florida Court upheld the public reprimand of Judge Carven Angel of Marion County. Judge Carven and his family repeatedly attended partisan political party events including informal parties and cookouts.

In April 2015, the United States Supreme Court dealt with Canon 7 in Lanell Williams-Yulee v Florida Bar (135 S. Ct. 1656). After personally soliciting campaign contributions in a letter, Williams-Yulee argued Canon 7 violated her right to free speech. In the rejecting her argument, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “Judges are not politicians, even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot. And a State’s decision to elect its judiciary does not compel it to treat judicial candidates like campaigners for political office. A State may assure its people that judges will apply the law without fear or favor—and without having personally asked anyone for money.”

KRAUSS CLAIMS PARTY WAS NON-PARTISAN?!?!

In a telephone interview with REDBROWARD, Lea Krauss said the Hills Democratic Club meeting was not a partisan political party event. Krauss said she was invited via an email from the club’s president, State Rep. Elaine Schwartz.

REDBROWARD obtained the email invitation sent by Schwartz. She states, “Help Us Celebrate the Kick-Off of our 2016 GOTV  Plans.” GOTV is the acronym for “GET OUT THE VOTE.” GOTV is the most highly partisan activity of any political party. By definition, it is the very way political parties win elections.

While this may be been billed as a “holiday party,” the club makes it clear the meeting is a safeplace for partisan political party activity.

The invitation states the Hills Democratic club is a “positive place for Democrats to meet.” These Democrats are urged to join “Help Me” Howard Finkelstein, “Broward’s Celebrity Public Defender” kick off the 2016 election. The bottom of the invitation is an application to join the Hills Democratic Club (for a fee).

Sources tell REDBROWARD that local Democrat clubs use these fees to make contributions to the Broward Democratic Executive Committee.

Krauss told REDBROWARD she paid the $7 dollar admission fee to the party.

Krauss admitted she was not invited to speak at the meeting. “I said hello to people,” Krauss said.

Krauss said she read Canon 7, but denied she her actions violated the rules. She said, “I gave you a clear statement. I was invited by the club president as were all the other candidates.” Krauss said she could not remember if her opponents, Maxine Streeter and Andrea Gundersen attended the meeting.

Numerous opinions from the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee (JEAC) deal with similar situations. Judges and candidates cannot attend a partisan political party event just to socialize and mingle. JEAC clearly states, “In responding to an inquiry the committee decided that a judicial candidate may not to the premises upon which a political party is holding a political meeting for the purpose of meeting and greeting delegates where the candidate, and others, have not been invited for the purpose of speaking on behalf of the candidacy.” Krauss admits she was not invited to speak on behalf of her candidacy.

In April 2014, JEAC issued an opinion regarding paying for a table at a political event. The political party claimed the cost would be used to cover event expenses not fund raising. The JEAC stated, “However, it is each candidate’s responsibility, before attending an event subject to Canon 7(C)(3), to verify that the conditions imposed by the Canon are met.” Did Krauss know how the Hills Democratic Club would use her money?