When You Google ‘Hernando County’ You will See Mug Shots

By: Patricia Tolson

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – “What the county has been really good at in the past couple of years is growing this county. But now when you Google ‘Hernando County’ you see mug shots.”

While this quote from County Commissioner Jeff Holcomb rings true today, he said hose words over three years ago when news broke that Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson had been arrested “on counts relating to owning, maintaining or operating an establishment of prostitution and ‘purchasing the services of any person engaged in prostitution.’”

Nicholson was ultimately suspended by the governor and resigned his seat. However, this was not the first time Nicholson’s activities raised apprehensions within the community.

“We have had concerns about his behavior for years,” Hernando GOP Chairman John Allocco said in an April 2018 statement.

In 2015, Nicholson – who was originally elected to the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners in 2012 — was under investigation for similar conduct. Yet he was re-elected in 2016 where he served as Chairman and Second Vice-Chairman.

“It’s a distraction for us and it’s an embarrassment for the county to have this kind of stuff looming over us, especially when it’s going out all over the country. It’s not something we want to be known for,” said then-County Commissioner Chairman Steve Champion. 

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, County Commissioner Holcomb — and chairman of the Hernando County Republican executive committee — made it clear the committee would not support Nicholson’s endeavor to reclaim his seat. Holcomb had called for Nicholson’s resignation before, and he said his pattern of behavior did not make him a good representative for the people.

“I think the voters of Hernando County deserve better,” Holcomb said.

Adding further “embarrassment for the county,” Nicholson thought 2020 would be the perfect time to run for re-election to win his old seat back. This time, he failed.

However, another failed candidate for county commissioner has added yet another mug shot to that Google search.

On Feb. 19, 2021, The Free Press reported that Kevin Hohn — a retired Federal Law Enforcement Officer, Former Mayor of Brooksville who failed his 2020 challenge for County Commissioner Steve Champion’s seat — had been arrested and charged by federal criminal complaint with possession and distribution of images depicting the sexual abuse of children.

While Champion has wrestled with his own string of issues during his tenure as a county commissioner, he has not come anywhere near the sort of forbidden line, which Hohn so alarmingly crossed.

“The undercover computer directly connected to Hohn’s IP address and the undercover computer successfully downloaded 56 image files from his computer,” TFP reported. “According to the Criminal Complaint, 26 of those images ‘appear to be child pornography.’”

The complaint describes one of those images as showing “a prepubescent female between the ages of eight and 12 on a rock with no clothing. “The focus is on her genitals in a lewd and lascivious manner.”

The second image is described as showing another “prepubescent female between the ages of eight and 12,” naked, on a rock in the water. The child “appears to be positioned in a sexually suggestive position laying angled to one side supporting herself up with her hands behind her torso.”

In the third image, another naked female child of the same age range is again shown on a rock in the water “positioned in a sexually suggestive position standing with one foot on a rock splayed to one side and her hand on her knee.”

When asked in July of 2020 what inspired him to run for the office of county commissioner, the Hernando Sun quoted Hohn saying, “Initially, it was the mismanagement of the budget.”

“Since then,” Hohn said further, “I have learned there are other intangible issues such as ethics, integrity, and the true spirit of service that are currently missing.”

Hohn’s closed the interview with his now sardonic campaign slogan: “We must do better!”

In an ironic twist, TFP reported Feb. 22 that Hohn was once employed as a sales consultant by a company that developed and markets software used by law enforcement to “ensure sex offender compliance, increase efficiency and reduce IT costs, while helping to protect the public.”

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