Former state Rep. Jackie Toledo drops lawsuit against Fred Piccolo

Piccolo, a former state representative, had been Toledo's campaign manager during her failed run for Congress last year.

Then-state Rep. Jackie Toledo, seen speaking in debate on the House floor.

Then-state Rep. Jackie Toledo, seen speaking in debate on the House floor. Florida House of Representatives

Former state Rep. Jackie Toledo has dropped her lawsuit against her one-time campaign manager, Fred Piccolo, who also has been a spokesman for Gov. Ron DeSantis and former House Speaker Richard Corcoran. 

Hillsborough Circuit Civil court records show that Toledo, a Tampa Republican who served in the Florida House from 2016 to 2022, on Friday filed a “notice of voluntary dismissal with prejudice,” meaning she cannot refile her suit for intentional infliction of emotional address

The filing gave no reasons for the withdrawal, but did say “each party (agrees) to bear their own attorney's fees, costs, and disbursements.” A request for comment is pending with her attorney, Dale Swope of Tampa. Piccolo, who now resides in Washington, D.C., declined comment. 

The lawsuit was filed last October. 

Piccolo worked for Toledo’s campaign when she unsuccessfully ran last year for the GOP nomination for the 15th Congressional District, representing part of the Tampa Bay area. The seat was won by Republican Laurel Lee, a former state judge who most recently served as Florida’s appointed secretary of state under DeSantis. 

In her complaint, Toledo alleged Piccolo sent her “unwanted, unsolicited, inappropriate, and grossly offensive sexually harassing text messages and images.” Some of those included Piccolo in “various states of undress.” 

She claimed he sent the pictures in part so that she would fire him, allowing him to collect a $100,000 payout agreed to by both of them if he left the campaign.  

Toledo had said she planned to amend her suit to seek punitive damages in addition to the $30,000 her original suit sought. 

Piccolo told the Tampa Bay Times in October, “At all times our relationship was professional and we engaged in banter back-and-forth as most friends do on campaigns. At no time did she express any outrage or offense."

Explaining that some of the photos were taken after working out, he added that, "on the contrary, Jackie always encouraged me in my exercise journey for my health as she knew of my condition.”

Piccolo has Parkinson’s disease, according to the paper, a progressive neurological and brain disorder that usually causes unintended or uncontrollable movements. 

“At no time did I ask to be fired or thought I was fired,” he added. “It is hurtful and unfortunate that Jackie would allege what she does rather than pay me what I’m owed.”

Contact Jim Rosica at jrosica@cityandstatefl.com and follow him on Twitter: @JimRosicaFL

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