Gov. Scott Suspends Florida Commissioner Facing Prostitution Charges

Governor Rick Scott is using his authority to suspend a Hernando County commissioner who has been accused of paying a former stripper for sex.  

In February, deputies came to the house of 71-year-old Commissioner Nicholas Nicholson on a domestic disturbance call.  

They ended up arresting him for owning a building used for prostitution, and for paying for sex.

The Feb. charges stem from an incident when deputies were called to Nicholson’s Spring Hill home after a couple living with him got into a dispute. 

Kendel Surette, 33, and Valerie Surette, 30, were arguing, and Nicholson threw a screwdriver that struck her, according to reports. Kendel Surette was charged with domestic battery, but the prosecutor declined to follow through with the charge, according to court records.

Surette allegedly told deputies that Nicholson housed and fed the couple, who had been there about six months, in exchange for letting Nicholson have sex with his wife on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the report said. 

On Tuesdays, Nicholson paid the Surettes $100 and on Saturdays, $200, for sex with Valerie Surette, the Kendel told deputies.

The Hernando County commission met Tuesday, stripped Nicholson of his vice-chairmanship, and agreed to send a letter to the governor asking him to suspend the commissioner. They also said Nicholson should resign or retire.

"The charges against Mr. Nicholson are disturbing and unbecoming of someone who is supposed to serve the citizens of Hernando County," said the governor’s deputy communications director, Mara Gambineri, in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida law allows the governor to issue an executive order suspending an elected official for several reasons such as malfeasance, misfeasance, drunkenness and incompetence.

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