Lawmaker Sues Over Photo of Campaign Manager's Erection

Florida Rep. Jackie Toledo alleges sexual harassment by Fred Piccolo
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2022 1:26 PM CDT
Lawmaker Sues Over Photo of Campaign Manager's Erection
Florida Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, right, listens to staffer Chris McElroy, Tuesday April 4, 2017, at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.   (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File)

A Florida lawmaker accuses her former campaign manager, a high-profile Republican strategist in the state, of sending her "unwanted, unsolicited, inappropriate, and grossly offensive" texts in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed Monday. The suit filed in Hillsborough County by Republican state Rep. Jackie Toledo includes various images that she says Fred Piccolo sent her, including "one showing an 'erection' covered only by underwear," reports the Tampa Bay Times. Toledo, who lost a primary bid for Tampa's open congressional seat in August, says Piccolo, a former spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican majority in the Florida House, also sent inappropriate messages, including one about how he sleeps naked.

Toledo, who is seeking at least $30,000 in damages, claims Piccolo was trying to prod her into firing him so he could access a $100,000 termination payout. He denies that and adds "it is hurtful and unfortunate" that his friend of a decade "would allege what she does rather than pay me what I'm owed." He claims the lawsuit is a way for Toledo to get out of paying him a $25,000 bonus, per WFLA. He adds the relationship was always professional, and though "we engaged in banter back-and-forth as most friends do on campaigns … at no time did she express any outrage or offense." Text messages show the pair argued over Piccolo's decision to accept a job as a communications consultant for DeSantis just days ahead of Toledo's primary. (More sexual harassment stories.)

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