Florida commissioner claims candidate exposed his penis to her
Rafael Velasquez says accusation by Kristen Rosen Gonzalez politically motivated
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A Miami Beach commissioner and congressional candidate has accused a political ally of exposing his penis to her earlier this month.
"I was 'Harvey Weinsteined' by Rafael Velasquez, the candidate I have been supporting and raising money for in the Miami Beach commission race," Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez told Politico Florida in a text message.
Rosen Gonzalez, a Democrat who is vying to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., in Congress, claims Velasquez pulled out his penis in her car Oct. 18 after they had dinner together at Cafe Avanti to discuss his campaign.
"He had started to say that he thought that I was his soulmate, and I said, 'Please, can we stay focused on the campaign?'" Rosen Gonzalez told Local 10 News. "By the time we got into the car, he had become abusive. He exposed himself. He was trying to, like, force my hand on him, and it was too much."
Velasquez denied the allegation in a Facebook post Monday morning.
"This morning, I woke up to an insane attack by someone I considered to be a friend, someone I respected and someone I know many of you respect," he wrote.
Velasquez countered that Rosen Gonzalez's accusation is nothing more than an effort by his opponent, Mark Samuelian, "to smear me." He called the allegation "vile and disgusting."
"I'm not sure what the commissioner expects to get from stabbing me in the back like this -- an appearance on MSNBC? A payoff from one of Samuelian's PACs? Maybe help from Samuelian's big establishment allies in fundraising for her congressional campaign?" Velasquez wrote. "What I do know is this. I would never, ever, in a million years behave in the way the commissioner describes it. You know it, I know it and she knows it."
Velasquez also questioned the details of her story.
"Moreover, her story just doesn't make sense and is a twisted attempt to accuse me of something horrible the one time we were alone together this month," Velasquez wrote. "Per the commissioner's story, after I made her feel unsafe and acted in a highly inappropriate way, she then proceeded not only to continue supporting me for almost two weeks, and helping me raise money, but also had me at her table for dinner several times with her and her daughters. Does that sound like the way you would act with someone that acted inappropriately with you?"
The accusation is another recent account of women coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct after the Harvey Weinstein scandal gained national attention.
"I feel sorry for Kristen that she has allowed herself to be swallowed up by this City Hall insider's game, by the need for attention and by the ambition for higher office," Velasquez wrote. "So you might be wondering, what exactly is going on? It's simple. Mark Samuelian is losing and he knows it."
Velasquez later denied the allegation when he spoke to Local 10.
"Miami Beach politics are dirty," he said. "Politics, in general, are dirty."
Rosen Gonzalez said she has "no reason to make this up."
"Because I've used my political capital," she explained. "I've spent all day long apologizing to people that I've gotten to donate to him."
A second woman also came forward about an alleged incident in June. Frances Alban of Alban Communications said Velasquez grabbed her backside while posing for a photograph and later sent her sexually suggestive text messages, including one in which he said she "felt good."
"When I saw Kristen's accusations today, I was compelled to share my story too," Alban said in a statement. "I know there is power in numbers. I have nothing to gain from this. I am not politically affiliated with this race in any way, not even a Miami Beach resident."
Velasquez tried to offer an explanation for his text messages.
"No, no, she looked good," he told Local 10. "You know, it was feeling good to see her again."
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