It was on the evening of June 17th, 2020 when Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried decided to dismiss three top aides that were a part of her “inner circle” after complaints were made that her fiancé, Robert “Jake” Bergmann, had been abusive toward her [Source Politico]. Although Bergmann, who is a medical marijuana entrepreneur, and Fried have denied the allegations that were made, an incident recently occurred at Westin Beach Resort and Spa that have many wondering whether all the facts from the event are being shared.
Politico says that a few days prior to Fried removing the individuals from her “inner circle,” Fort Lauderdale police responded to a call at the resort that resulted in officers evicting Bergmann from the building. According to Fried, Bergmann had been involved in a minor traffic accident in the parking lot which later led to an argument between him and the other driver. Security staff claimed Bergmann “caused several disturbances through the hotel and needed to have him evicted and trespassed from the property.”
Whether this is the true reason behind Bergmann being evicted from the resort, Eric Johnson, who was Fried’s top political advisor, said Fried had told him that Bergmann “shoved her into the street on State Road A1A” and that a security guard witnessed the shove. Fried later said that Bergmann did not shove her. A few days after the incident, Fried notified three of her top aides via text message that they “could no longer be in her “inner circle” but offered to find them “other roles.”
Johnson claims he resigned from Fried’s political committee although Fried says she fired him after accusing him of political retribution. Although Johnson says he has clients of his own and could have gone on with being reassigned as Fried initially suggested, he felt obligated to speak out on Fried and Bergmann’s relationship. Johnson told the source that “Everyone around her that is close to her is watching a personal self-destruction and it’s just sad. People care about her. And everyone hopes it’s not too late to get the train back on track.”
Is the state’s top elected Democrat allowing her relationship to interfere with her political role?
Some individuals say yes.
When Fried ran for the agriculture commissioner position in 2018, some say Bergmann “almost became a political liability [for her]” as she was campaigning to “expand the power of the office to regulate his industry” (i.e. medical marijuana). Now, Johnson and others have grown concerned at how far the couple’s relationship has gone. While Johnson has said that Fried “has unlimited potential for what she can do, personally and as a politician, he believes the relationship “is causing her to not be able to function, and eventually it could get her very, very hurt.” Johnson shared that there were many instances where Fried told him and other senior staff that her relationship was “mentally abusive” and just recently, “physically abusive.”
Despite the complaints that have been made, Fried continues to deny any that stem from domestic abuse.
Are you a victim of harassment or abuse? If someone you work with or know has sexually harassed you or taken advantage of you for their personal growth, the Florida sexual harassment lawyers USAttorneys.com works closely with may be able to assist you. Although it can be difficult to come forward with such allegations, just know a sexual harassment attorney will keep all information confidential and help you understand your legal rights in the matter.