Friends, lawyers and family remember Peter Antonacci at Tallahassee memorial

Many of Florida’s top elected officials, prominent lawyers, lobbyists and judges gathered on Monday to remember Peter Antonacci, A high-ranking government official responsible for several state governors.

Antonacci died suddenly late last month.

Both are ruler. Ron DeSantis The US Senator. Rick Scott He joined the group at Florida State University’s Alumni Center to honor Antonacci, who at the time of his death was overseeing the state’s Office of Election Crimes and Security.

“We lost a great Florida, a great leader, and a great man,” said the Chief Justice of the First District Court of Appeals. Laurie Rowe.

Of Oda Antonacci, who had spent decades in and out of state government, among them were his daughters, Alexis Lambert And the Claudia Hadjigorgioplus a quartet of friends and old business associates: a state administrative judge John NewtonGray Robinson, President of Governmental Affairs and Lobbying Jason UngerFranklin County Tax Collector Richard Watson and ro.

Lambert, chief of staff for Florida’s department of Bond Finance, and Hadjigeorgiou, a Virginia attorney, noted that their father was the person designated to speak at the family’s funerals.

“So today we’re doing this not because he was expecting it, but because it’s what he’s going to do,” said Lambert, standing next to her younger sister. Hadjigeorgiou noted that although his loss was agonizing, they take great comfort in knowing their father died “just as he had hoped.”

“Many of you have probably heard that just like in the classic cartoon, he always joked that he wanted a piano to fall on his head, from the top, and that would be the case,” she said. “We think he got the closest equivalent possible. Although it was much faster than we would have liked, he left us quickly, without suffering and still as much in the mix as he wanted.”

The pair went on to read a letter Antonacci had written to give them ten tips, which included relying on him to be their ally, a rude cheerleader, and to be curious about things and people. He also advised his daughters to “keep your expectations about life in general, and people in particular, proportionate and reasonable,” a line that elicited laughter from the large crowd who came to honor him.

Newton, who met Antonacci while at Florida State University Law School, described his longtime friend as humble, noting that Antonacci would undermine his efforts to make him known for his work.

“He was always worried that it would draw attention away from his manager at a time when it mattered,” said Newton, who has known Antonacci for 47 years. “Apparently, getting well-deserved awards was not better for his manager. Perhaps there is a posthumous reward.”

Newton noted rare instances in which Antonacci was willing to take credit. He won praise for creating the so-called Everglades Liberation Army, the most successful snake-elimination program Florida has ever launched. Another exception, Newton said, was in 2018 when Antonacci was inducted into the Miami-Dade Community College Hall of Fame.

Antonacci’s career included work assignments as the attorney general at the time Bob Butterworth Addressing tasks handed to him by conservatives, including looking after the Broward County Elections Office after the turbulent 2018 election when the election supervisor resigned after Scott initially tried to suspend her work.

He also headed the South Florida Water Management District and served as chief justice for the state’s Department of Administrative Hearings, the state’s legal system. The memorial Monday was attended by people who worked with Antonacci across various agencies.

DeSantis recently hired Antonacci for He leads the Office of Elections and Security Crimes Heading into the 2022 campaign cycle. The office is the State Department’s new unit Investigation of electoral crimes and voter frauda mission that drew condemnation from Democrats and DeSantis critics.

Newton and others fondly remember Antonacci’s clever role in phrases, including words like “strategy”.

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