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Governor suspends Hernando commissioner who is facing prostitution charges

Nicholas "Nick" Nicholson is accused of allowing a couple to stay at his home in exchange for sex.

Gov. Rick Scott has suspended Hernando County Commissioner Nicholas "Nick" Nicholson from office after his arrest on prostitution charges.

The governor issued the suspension Thursday.

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

Nicholson, 71, was charged last week with own, establish, maintain, or operate any place, structure, building or conveyance for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution and purchase the services of any person engaged in prostitution.

The investigation began on Feb. 20, when Hernando County deputies were called to Nicholson's Spring Hill home by a call of a domestic disturbance. There, deputies found Valerie Surette, who said her husband threw a screwdriver at her, hitting her in the face.

During the investigation, investigators found cause to charge Nicholson.

The Tampa Bay Times reported Nicholson allowed a couple to stay at the home in exchange for having sex with the woman.

The paper reported he paid the couple twice a week for sex, and allowed other people to come to the home to have sex.