Stephen Bittel – Sexual Harassment, Abuse of Power & Terranova
Stephen Bittel is a real estate investor and a politician based in Florida, Miami. He used to be the Chairman of the Florida division of Democratic Party but had to resign after a story came out exposing his shady past.
Many of his subordinates have complained about his creepy behavior. According to media reports and lawsuits, Stephen has sexually harassed many of his female employees.
In one instance, he told one of his staff members to take off her shoes and when she did, he started touching her toes.
Hence, before you trust the PR attempts of this wealthy businessman, here’s a detailed overview of his predatory history:
Who is Stephen Bittel?
Stephen Bittel is the founder and chairman of Terranova, a real estate company.
Terranova Corporation has been a top performing real estate firm for years. Apart from real estate, he has been active in politics as well.
Stephen Bittel net worth is estimated to be in millions thanks to his vast real estate empire. His company’s office is located at 801 Arthur Godfrey Road, Suite 600, Miami Beach, FL 33140.
Although many people look up Stephen Bittel wife, there isn’t much information available on her. It seems she lives a private life.
However, it must be out of necessity because her husband has faced lawsuits for sexually harassing multiple employees in the past.
Now that you’re a little familiar with Stephen’s professional history, here’s a deeper look into his shady activities:
Stephen Bittel’s History of Sexual Harassment: Why He Resigned in Disgrace
Stephen Bittel’s political career crashed when his victims started coming out in 2018. According to his ex-employees, Stephen sexually harassed a female employee by describing his sexual partners’ pubic hair, touching her toes on his private jet, explaining his pornography preferences and offering to take her for lingerie shopping.
Andrew Molina, an ex-employee of Terranova Corporation had made these allegations in her 27-page lawsuit. She used to work as director of acquisitions for Terranova.
In response, a spokesperson for Bittel issued a statement saying Molina’s allegations were overblown and sensationalistic.
Additionally, the spokesperson said that somebody was using revisionist history to leverage Stephen Bittel for a financial windfall.
When Stephen Resigned from Florida Democratic Party
Stephen Bittel resigned in disgrace from his post of chairman of the Democratic party when 6 former party staffers and consultants called him misogynistic and demeaning.
The victims shared their gripes in a Politico story. While those women didn’t accuse him of threatening them or inappropriately touching them, they pointed out his toxic behavior. According to his victims, Stephen created an extremely hostile work environment for his female subordinates.
The claims gained authenticity when Molina filed her lawsuit.
Molina said in her lawsuit that she used to earn $150,000 per annum as a senior financial analyst before joining Terranova.
When she met Bittel in fall 2012, he recruited her to join Terranova and paid her only $90,000 per year. However, he had promised her bonuses which would far exceed her previous pay.
Furthermore, Stephen had made multiple comments about how she might eventually take over the company.
But, Molina’s contract with Terranova had many weird provisions. It obligated her to remain on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also, it prohibited her from disclosing her place of employment.
The contract had an 18-month noncompete agreement which prevented her from leaving the company when she was getting harassed.
How Stephen Bittel Allegedly Harassed His Subordinates:
After Molina joined Terranova, it didn’t take long for Stephen to start harassing her. According to the lawsuit, Bittel constantly bragged that the various sexual harassment cases against him were unwinnable.
He claimed that he knew all the judges in Miami so he was ‘unbeatable’.
Also, Bittel told Molina that he had studied law as a licensed Florida attorney and noticed that plaintiffs usually win such cases only when there was a ‘quid pro quo’ demand for sexual acts in exchange for professional benefits (for example, promotions).
In her lawsuit, Molina shared that Bittel used to describe his favorite ‘porn stories’ to her. Also, he would explain the pubic hair styling of the women he had slept with.
Stephen Bittel would occasionally call himself a ‘sapiosexual’. A sapiosexual person is someone who is sexually attracted to intelligence.
Molina shares that on one occasion, he had asked her to reset his Facebook password, knowing that a message would pop up showing another female staffer’s bare breasts.
He didn’t stop there.
Fat-shaming a Pregnant Employee:
Molina points out that during her 2 pregnancies, he fat-shamed her by asking unnecessary questions about her weight. Also, Stephen used to wonder if she would return to her pre baby size.
One day, he even asked Molina for photos of her scale.
Molina hoped that Stephen would stop with his invasive demands if she relented. So, she sent him a picture looking down at the register of the scale over her grossly swollen feet and ankles.
She had hoped that it would put a stop to Stephen’s creepy demands. But the relief was only temporary.
When she returned from her maternity leave in August 2014, she found Stephen had framed the picture of her swollen feet tipping the scale at 200 points and put it on her desk.
Note that the desk was adjacent to his office and was in a highly trafficked area of the open office.
Furthermore, Stephen Bittel made inappropriate comments about breastfeeding and sent her multiple emails about wet nurses.
In 2015, Bittel had invited Molina to lunch under the pretense of checking out retail real estate. After having a sushi lunch, he announced they would go shopping at Victoria’s Secret.
Also, he refused to take no for an answer and got quite upset when she would not enter the store with him.
What Other Victims Said About Stephen Bittel:
In 2016, Bittel and Molina had a business meeting in Philadelphia. There, he suggested that she take off her shoes. Then, he grabbed her foot and started touching her toes before she pulled away.
In her lawsuit, Molina shares that another female employee told her that Bittel propositioned her with $5,000. He had placed the stack of bills on his desks before summoning her to his office for a meeting.
Also, Molina pointed out that Bittel constantly asked her “price”. He wanted to know the amount of money she would accept to have sex with him.
Apart from Molina’s lawsuit, the Politico story explained his weird antics as well. It talked about a ‘breast-shaped’ stress squeeze ball which Stephen kept on his desk.
Apparently, that wasn’t even the worst thing in his office.
According to Molina, his office decor was extremely insensitive and inappropriate. Stephen’s office had a taxidermied Chihuahua with ‘grossly huge testicles’.
Also, it had a painting of a dog licking its balls. The painting had the caption “Because They Can”.
Stephen Bittel had a vanity license plate which read “GR8 SHAG”. Moreover, he had a door sign saying “Take your shoes off before entering… and everything else.”
Threats and Termination:
It seems Molina’s lawyers knew how Stephen would react. That’s why they added a section titled “Why Molina didn’t leave” to their complaint.
It points out that Molina relied on Stephen’s promises of year-end bonuses to support her growing family. Also, she was unable to find another job in the industry because of the noncompete agreement.
Furthermore, Bittel kept dangling the carrot of her running Terranova someday.
After Politico published the story, Stephen Bittel threatened to identify the women who had accused him of sexual harassment. He promised to “get even” with them.
So, thinking Molina was one of the anonymous sources in the story, Bittel fired her in January 2018.
Terranova’s Stephen Bittel has done a lot of harm to a lot of people. If Molina hadn’t filed her lawsuit and the employees hadn’t shared their stories, no one would have known about the perverted ways Stephen handles his staff.
It’s important to bring these issues into light. Otherwise, more women will suffer working in toxic workplaces.
Stephen Bittel has used his position of power and wealth to verbally and physically abuse his female employees for years. The lawsuit by one of his ex-employees was proof of the numerous allegations Stephen had received over the years. He deserves more punishment for sexually harassing so many women.
- Extremely rich and powerful
- Sexually harassed multiple female employees for years
- Abuses his power and wealth