Ambassador Gordon Sondland Accused of Misconduct
US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland has been accused by three women of sexual misconduct.
The accusations, co-published by Portland Monthly magazine and ProPublica, date back to before he became an ambassador.
At the time of the alleged incidents Gordon Sondland was developing hotels in Portland and Seattle in the Pacific Northwest.
Gordon Sondland denies all of the allegations, and accuses the women of targeting him for his role in President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings.
He said in a statement: “These untrue claims of unwanted touching and kissing are concocted and, I believe, co-ordinated for political purposes.
“They have no basis in fact, and I categorically deny them.”
All three women said Gordon Sondland retaliated against them professionally after they rejected his advances – by verbally abusing them at their workplace, reneging on a promised investment, and withdrawing offers of professional introductions.
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One of the women, Nicole Vogel, said she met Gordon Sondland for dinner in 2003 in order to secure investment for her new magazine.
Nicole Vogel is the owner of Portland Monthly. The magazine said she was not involved editorially in the story, and it had teamed up with ProPublica, a respected non-profit news group, to report the claims independently.
She said that after dinner Gordon Sondland took her to one of his hotels and invited her to see a room. He then requested a hug, she added, but instead “grabs my face and goes to kiss me”.
Nicole Vogel said she deflected him and left the hotel, and later received an email from Gordon Sondland changing the terms of his investment.
A second acuser, Jana Solis, said she met Gordon Sondland in 2008 when she was seeking work as a hotel safety expert.
When Sondland offered her the job, she said, he called her “my new hotel chick” and slapped her rear. She then said that on another occasion he invited her to his home in Portland to evaluate his art collection, before exposing himself.
On a third occasion, Sondland asked her to inspect his penthouse apartment and then forcibly kissed her, she said.
The third woman, Natalie Sept, was working in local politics in Portland for a candidate Gordon Sondland had donated money to.
After they were introduced through her boss, she claims Gordon Sondland invited her to dinner to discuss work opportunities. She said he asked for a hug at the end of the night, but then pushed himself towards her and tried to forcibly kiss her.
In response, Gordon Sondland described the article as “underhanded journalism” that was “fundamentally false”.
He said he intended to take legal action against the two publications.
Gordon Sondland provided key testimony at President Trump’s impeachment hearing last week, where he said he followed the president’s orders to pressure Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.