Gov. Scott reviewing prostitution-related arrest of commissioner

The future of a Hernando County elected official accused of running a prostitution operation remains uncertain even after a commission meeting Tuesday morning.

Governor Rick Scott said on Good Day Tampa Bay on Tuesday that his office is reviewing the case of Commissioner Nicholas Nicholson, following the commissioner's arrest on prostitution-related charges. The governor has the power to suspend elected officials, and state lawmakers can vote to have the official removed from his or her position.

"It’s very disappointing. We expect everybody elected and anybody who gets appointed to anything to ... live up to the highest standards," he explained. "We'll be making a decision very quickly."

Nicholson is accused of running a prostitution operation out of his home and paying a woman who lived with him for sex multiple times. He did not show up for Tuesday's commission meeting, the first since his arrest.

In a unanimous vote, Hernando County commissioners decided to remove Nicholson as vice chairman of the board. John Allocco took his place in that role.

Allocco said there’s not much the commission can do. 

“We can’t do anything besides send a letter to our governor, however Commissioner Nicholson can do something, and he can resign on his own, and I will encourage him to do so,” Allocco said.

Also at the meeting, the man who ran against Nicholson and lost in 2016 made a plea for the 71-year-old elected official to resign.

“Nick caused the problem on his own, he’s done this habitually,” said Jimmy Lodato. “And with this being done, if we move forward and allow this to continue, it just perpetuates the problem.”

Lodato says Nicholson is a good person, but he has an edge to him.

“He is not a person you would want in office. It's not a leadership role, not something someone would aspire to,” Lodato said. “It's not something I have students look upon and say, 'Gosh this man is an absolute model.' He's not.”