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State Rep. Basabe under investigation for allegedly slapping an aide

State Rep. Basabe under investigation for allegedly slapping an aide
State Rep. Basabe under investigation for allegedly slapping an aide 04:56

MIAMI - A 25-year-old aide to State Representative Fabian Basabe is accusing the lawmaker of slapping him across the face and telling him to stand in the corner of a room during a reception in Tallahassee.

The alleged incident occurred on January 3, at a reception hosted by a large Tallahassee lobbying firm following Governor Ron DeSantis's inauguration. DeSantis was not present.

In a statement to CBS News Miami, the aide, Nicolas Frevola, said Basabe "had been drinking and was mistaken about something that lead him to slap me in the face in front of other people in the room. He then told me to stand in the corner. I was so embarrassed that I did as he asked."

Basabe expressed shock at the accusation, saying: "What?! I don't remember anything like that."

A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Renner told CBS Miami: "We are aware of the alleged altercation, and we are investigating the matter. We will not comment any further until we have all the facts."

The Speaker has hired an outside attorney to investigate.

Frevola only provided a statement to CBS Miami after the station contacted him and told him it was preparing a story about the incident. He said he wanted the record to be clear and by the time he provided the statement word of Basabe's alleged behavior had spread from Tallahassee to South Florida.

"I chose not to speak about it at the time for several reasons because I was horribly embarrassed, and was unsure of my right to do so because Representative Basabe required me to sign an NDA when I started working with him," he noted.

Asked if he required his House staff to sign non-disclosure agreements, he paused for several seconds and said: "There's an application package. Whatever is in there, is in there. I don't deal with the hiring process."

The Florida Legislature does not require employees to sign NDAs and CBS Miami could not find an example of another lawmaker requiring their staffs to signs such a document.

On Wednesday, Basabe said he was unaware of any investigation launched by the Speaker into his conduct.

Asked if he had been contacted by the Speaker or his staff about the allegations, Basabe said: "Absolutely not. The only thing about [Frevola] that came to my attention was that he was being inappropriate with another woman, and I'll leave it at that, because I cannot confirm or deny any of it because I was not involved. But I'm very surprised to hear that."

Basabe appears to be referring to a separate matter involving State Representative Carolina Amesty, who apparently made a claim recently that Frevola tried to run her over with a car last August when Amesty was running against Frevola's mother, Janet Frevola, in the Republican primary for the State House seat in the Orlando area.

Amesty won the primary and went on to win the general election.

Frevola said he was called into Amesty's office on December 13 to meet with her alone. "During the meeting Representative Amesty falsely accused me of a crime, claiming that I tried to run her over with a white car approximately four months earlier before the primary election in August 2022," Frevola wrote. "I was shocked by the accusation, explained that I do not own a white car and assured her it was not me."

Through a spokesman, Amesty declined to comment.

Frevola said he believed Amesty accepted his denial during that December meeting, but in March he said he was summoned to the office of the Speaker's chief of staff. Frevola said he was threatened with possible termination because of the allegations made by Amesty.

The events surrounding Frevola and Amesty are also being investigated by

the same independent counsel hired by the Speaker to examine the accusations involving Basabe.

"It is our understanding that the House is not investigating Nick but is investigating Nick's complaints including Representative Amesty's misconduct falsely accusing him and trying to get him fired," said Al Frevola, Nicolas Frevola's attorney and uncle.

Frevola said he reported the slapping accusation involving Basabe to a "senior elected official" in early April as well as filing a complaint with Human Resources.

Frevola said he was excited at the prospect of working in the Capital, but that has changed.

"I am 25 years old," Frevola wrote in a statement to CBS Miami. "I have served my community for years because I care deeply about our country and felt this was the best way to serve. After this mistreatment and abuse, I am evaluating whether it is worth working for politicians who will use and discard me as they see fit and urge other staff to do the same."

In an interview with CBS News Miami, Basabe claimed the allegations against him are motivated by politics.

"I don't know you very well," Basabe said. "But I did give you my time and if this is meant to be an attack on me in any way, if this is really not about helping the community, if this is about taking somebody who's dedicated time and resources to making a difference and trying to paint me in a different way so that maybe, maybe different parties can take back control of this seat, which represents a lot of money. Let me know when we can end this."

"I will not comment any further on somebody who has personal issues."

He then added: "Media does what it does. Have fun with me, use a good picture and spell my name right."

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