Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll Resigns Over Ties to Racketeering Case
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned this morning over ties to a nonprofit busted by the IRS and Secret Service on racketeering and fraud charges. It's a shocking end to a stormy tenure for Carroll, who managed to turn a lesbian-love-affair scandal into an insult to the LGBT community and dodged earlier charges of scamming a government program.
Her resignation comes after the arrest of top officials at an Internet café nonprofit for which she'd consulted, cut a commercial, and even tried to help with friendly legislation.
Carroll handed in her resignation sometime Tuesday, the Florida Times-Union reports, and a spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott confirmed her departure is tied to the criminal probe.
"Lt. Gov. Carroll resigned in an effort to keep her former affiliation with the company from distracting from the administration's important work on behalf of Florida Families," Adam Hollingsworth, Scott's chief of staff, said in a statement.
The company in question is called Allied Veterans of the World, a supposed nonprofit that operated Internet cafés with small-stakes gambling-esque games around Florida. Officials from the group, plus the head of Jacksonville's police union, have been arrested on racketeering charges.
The IRS found that the group, which operated in a gray area of Florida law, used only 2 percent of its $290 million in proceeds toward charitable efforts, the Times-Union reports, while paying a top exec $1.5 million in salary.
One of Carroll's companies did consulting work for the group, and she starred in an ad for the Allied Veterans in 2010. What's more, when she was in the House, she filed a bill that would have formally legalized the type of Internet cafés the group runs (a bill she later withdrew).
Carroll, a Navy veteran, has had a colorful time in office, to put it mildly. One of her aides was arrested for leaking a recorded conversation with her to the media. In court, that aide later accused Carroll of having a lesbian affair with another staffer.
While rebutting that charge, Carroll insulted the LGBT community by claiming, "Usually black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.