MIAMI — Former intern and legislative aide to State Rep. Fabian Basabe has filed a formal complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asking the agency to investigate their allegations of sexual harassment by a Miami Beach Republican.
The complaints of Jacob Cutborn, 24, and Nicholas Frevola, 25, echo the accusations made in the lawsuit the couple filed earlier in state court this month. They say Basabe, 45, has repeatedly made lewd sexual comments and made unwanted advances.
Basabe denies sexual harassment of his employees and calls the allegations “ludicrous”.
The EEOC, together with the Florida Human Relations Commission, will review the allegations brought by former intern Cuthburn and Frevola, Basabe’s legislative assistant, and either decide to file their own lawsuit against Basabe or grant Cuthbert and Frevola the right to sue. in federal court.
In the EEOC complaint, Frevola and Cutburn specifically accuse Basabe and the Florida House of Representatives of sex discrimination stemming from Basabe’s alleged behavior.
Frevola claims that when Basabe attended North Beach Elementary School for Career Day, he was standing with Basabe at the end of a class full of kids when Basabe told him “I want all that ass” and started slapping Frevola on his back.
Cutburn, who worked as an unpaid intern in Basabe’s office, claims that Basabe told him that he should flirt with a state representative whenever he was in the Capitol.
He also claims that Basabe advised him to break off his engagement to a girl and “explore his sexuality by having sex with men”.
Both men said they were subjected to graphic sex talk and that Basabe showed them a picture of a naked man he kept on his phone.
When the sexual harassment allegations were first made, Speaker of the House Paul Renner issued a statement saying that the Florida House of Representatives has a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to sexual harassment and “we are investigating this matter promptly, impartially and confidentially”. in the way that is possible.”
Basabe denies any wrongdoing.
He noted that Frevola had previously accused Basabe of hitting him in the face, and that an investigation by an outside law firm hired by Speaker of the House Paul Renner “exonerated” him.
However, in its three-page investigation completion report, the law firm found that there was physical contact “between” Basabe and Frevola, but due to “lack of corroborating witnesses, the conclusion is inconclusive.”
Asked by CBS News Miami in April if he slapped Frevola, Basabe replied, “I don’t remember anything like that. Nicholas Frevola is a good guy. He works well. I’m very surprised to hear that.”
After the report was published at the end of June, Basabe’s opinion of Frevola changed and he addressed Frevola in a lengthy social media statement denouncing the “false accusation” made by “lazy, unscrupulous, selfish, ungrateful, lying scum”. Basabe also wrote about Frevola’s mother, who is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, calling the two of them “that fraudulent, conniving mother-son duo” who “seem to be suing the profession who they think can or will pay” .
Following Basabe’s post on social media, CBS News Miami and The Miami Herald asked Basabe for details supporting his allegation that Nicholas Frevola and his mother Jeanette have a “reported history of lawsuits against anyone they think can or will pay.” . ”
Basabe, however, did not provide any details. Frevola’s lawyers said there were no such lawsuits. And a statewide review of court documents found no record of the types of lawsuits described by Basabe.
Basabe’s lawyer, Robert Fernandez, issued the following statement after the lawsuit was filed on Thursday: “We are currently reviewing the complaint we just filed. what he deserves — what he doesn’t have.”
“Rep. Basabe hopes to defend himself in court and we believe he will be fully acquitted once these allegations are carefully examined in accordance with the rule of law,” Fernandez continued. “In the meantime, Representative Basabe will continue to focus on issues important to the citizens of Florida.”