Impeachment witness Gordon Sondland, considered by many to be the “star witness” for Democrats, has responded to the bombshell report by ProPublica of 3 women accusing him of sexual misconduct by calling the report “fundamentally false” and implying the accusations are politically motivated.
Per ProPublica, three women say they faced sexual misconduct by Gordon Sondland before he was the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and at the center of the presidential impeachment inquiry. They say he retaliated against them professionally after they rejected his advances.
In one case, a potential business partner recalls that Sondland took her to tour a room in a hotel he owns, only to then grab her face and try to kiss her. After she rejected him, Sondland backtracked on investing in her business.
Another woman, a work associate at the time, says Sondland exposed himself to her during a business interaction. She also recalls falling over the back of a couch trying to get away from him. After she made her lack of interest clear, she says Sondland called her, screaming about her job performance.
A third woman, 27 years Sondland’s junior, met him to discuss a potential job. She says he pushed himself against her and kissed her. She shoved him away. She says his job help stopped.
Gordon Sondland has now responded and has issued the following statement on his personal website.
An article on Ambassador Gordon Sondland, jointly published on November 27, 2019 by ProPublica and Portland Monthly Magazine, is fundamentally false and was produced with deceitful journalism methods far outside the bounds of basic ethical standards. Both the timing and sourcing of the reporting seem obviously intended to influence congressional proceedings in which Amb. Sondland is a witness.
Ambassador Sondland refutes the allegations entirely and and intends to bring a lawsuit against those publications, their management, and others involved as swiftly as possible.
Here are the major flaws and ethics breaches in the reporting:
The primary source for the reporting, Nicole Vogel, is also the owner of the publication in which it appears, Portland Monthly. This is an outlandish conflict of interest yet neither the magazine nor ProPublica never attempted to explain or justify to us.
Ms. Vogel also solicited Amb. Sondland to invest in that magazine in 2003, at a meeting in which she claims to have been harassed. After a due diligence effort, Amb. Sondland declined to invest.
Ms. Vogel is a frequent Democratic party donor and close associate of Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who has spent many weeks maligning Amb. Sondland and threatening his company, misconduct that is now the subject of a Congressional Ethics Office complaint.
A second source, Natalie Sept, has been similarly active in party politics and has been a political aide to Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, who is also a stringent critic of the current administration and is demanding its removal.
Another source, Jana Solis, had also pitched Amb. Sondland on a business proposal, to purchase insurance from her then-employer, which was declined. In 2016, years after she claims to have been victimized, Ms. Solis encouraged her new employer to again pitch Amb. Sondland’s company, and they cited her good relationship with him.
Ms. Solis also altered the date on her allegation by five years, first claiming it occurred in 2003 and then later saying it was 2008 – this despite insisting that contemporaneous conversations with a friend backed up her account.
No mention was ever made about these three claims in the many preceding years, not even during the Ambassador’s confirmation process, when federal investigators were thoroughly pursuing input about his background, both personal and professional.
Reporters from both Portland Monthly and ProPublica spent many weeks contacting dozens if not hundreds of employees at Amb. Sondland’s former company, Provenance. As many of those employees recounted to us, the reporters began those interactions with the unsupported innuendo that sexual harassment had occurred at the company – and then solicited the employees to describe anything similar.
We brought all this to the attention of senior editors at Portland Monthly and ProPublica during the reporting process, only to get evasive responses and stonewalling. Portland Monthly’s editor, Julia Silverman, flatly refused to discuss any aspect of their reporting whatsoever or provide us any opportunity for input. ProPublica editor Eric Umansky consistently refused to justify or explain any of the obviously improper methods being used. Instead he replied just with rote slogans like “our reporters are doing the job of journalism,” and “we give our reporters clear guidance that their role is to ask questions.”
Of course, whether this method of reporting and substance-free accusations is taken seriously is not up to Portland Monthly or ProPublica but instead for readers and the public to assess. We intend to confront it accordingly, both in the public discourse and in court.
UPDATE: Politico reports the U.S. ambassador to the EU, who has been at the center of Donald Trump’s impeachment scandal in Washington, has no intention of resigning over allegations of sexual misconduct, a close associate said Thursday.
This article first appeared on TheConservativeOpinion.com