Tampa Legislator Sues Campaign Manager For Sexual Harassment

Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-FL) has made allegations of sexual harassment against her campaign manager, a prominent Republican communications expert.

A lawsuit filed on Monday in the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County alleges that Toledo’s campaign manager, Fred Piccolo, sent her “unwanted, uninvited, indecent, and outrageously abusive” text messages.

Tampa Legislator Sues Campaign Manager For Sexual Harassment
Tampa Legislator Sues Campaign Manager For Sexual Harassment

Toledo, who ran unsuccessfully this year for Florida’s 15th Congressional District, claims that Piccolo conspired to have him fired so that he could cash in on the termination settlement of $100,000. The minimum amount of compensation she is requesting is $30,000.

Photos that Toledo claims show Piccolo in various stages of undress with his face obscured are included in the lawsuit and are among the communications to which she refers. Three of them seem to show Piccolo taking a picture of himself in the shower. The complaint states that two others represent his genitalia very closely; one shows a “erection” with nothing but his underwear between it and the viewer.

Sunday inspiration… Screenshots from the lawsuit show Piccolo sending the message “For every $10k u raise today you can pick any photo” on May 23.

The screenshots also show that Piccolo advised Toledo against getting breast implants by talking about his wife’s experience with the procedure. Later, he texted saying he prefers to sleep without clothes.

Piccolo responded via text, “I’ve known Toledo for more than a decade and considered her a friend,” when asked about the allegations.

Throughout the entire campaign, our relationship was cordial and we joked around like friends do. She never once showed any signs of fury or offense. To the contrary, Jackie always bolstered his will to work out since she understood the importance of doing so for his health, he added. Parkinson’s disease affects Piccolo.

Never did he “ask to be fired” or “think he was fired,” he said. It’s painful and terrible that Jackie makes these allegations instead of paying me what’s due to me.

Additionally, Piccolo has served as a spokesman for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida House Republican majority.

On Monday night, Toledo could not be reached through SMS for comment.

Among the text messages contained in the lawsuit is an exchange between Toledo and Piccolo in which the two appear to disagree over the level of dedication on Piccolo’s part to Toledo’s campaign for the Republican nomination in Congressional District 15. Piccolo accepted a position as a communications consultant for DeSantis in August, as the primary election approached, and the governor dealt with the consequences of his suspension of Hillsborough prosecutor Andrew Warren.

Piccolo texted Toledo on August 5: “Doesn’t mean I’m leaving the campaign.” I’m still able to serve both parties.

Apparently Toledo emailed “I don’t even know what to say because I am 17 days out,” referring to the primary on August 23. “There’s nothing else I can think of.”

A little over a week later, the two were at one other’s throats again.

When asked about a contract, Piccolo texted, “You have no business phoning one of my clients.” On August 11th, following a call from Toledo presumably reached the governor’s office.

I’m curious about whether or not a conflict of interest exists. It was a reply from Toledo. My agreement with you is still in effect.

Ultimately, former Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee would defeat Toledo in the primary.

 

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