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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – The chairman of the Florida Democratic Party is stepping down following a report that he makes women feel uncomfortable.

On Friday, Stephen Bittel said it was “time for him to step aside.”

A POLITICO Florida report quoted anonymous women who said that Bittel would leer at them and make comments about their appearances.

None of the women said he groped or assaulted them.

Bittel apologized in a statement, and says he’s working with the party leadership to set a date for his departure.

Bittel is no stranger to controversy.

Back in June, at a fundraising gala in Hollywood, featuring keynote speaker former Vice-President Joe Biden, Bittel recognized lots of folks at the event at the Weston Diplomat Hotel, but canceled a scheduled group introduction of the black legislative caucus.

When there were complaints, Bittel is quoted by various lawmakers as saying “black caucus members were acting like 3 year olds and childish… they are like children, these black lawmakers.”

The remarks were reported by CBS4’s news partner The Miami Herald and POLITICO Florida, among others.

Bittel said the black caucus had played the “race card,” but Democrats of all colors were angry, some saying Bittel – billionaire chief of Miami Beach’s Terranova Development Company – should resign.

Bittel managed to hold on to his job his remarks, but the backlash was intense.


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