Lieutenant Gov. Jennifer Carroll Resigns
(UPDATED 3/13/13, 2:41 PM with information on Carroll's replacement & her relationship with Governor Scott)
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's resignation was announced today, a day after she was interviewed by law enforcement investigating an Internet sweepstakes cafe operator Carroll had ties to.
Carroll submitted her resignation to Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday, shortly after Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials spoke to her. The FDLE is assisting in a national probe of Allied Veterans of the World, a Florida-based nonprofit that operates a chain of Internet sweepstakes cafes. A number of executives of the organization, along with the President of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police, were reportedly arrested earlier this week in the racketeering investigation.
Carroll once owned a public relations firm, 3 N. and J.C. Corporation, that represented Allied Veterans. A Florida Times-Union columnist wrote in 2010 the relationship took place at the same time Carroll served in the Florida House, where she introduced legislation to legalize the kind of sweepstakes games found in the organization's cafes.
Carroll later withdrew the proposed law, saying it was filed erroneously and that she wasn't interested in legalizing internet cafes, the columnist said. Scott's office said in 2011 that Carroll had ended her affiliation with Allied Veterans.
Both law enforcement and Governor Scott are expected to speak with the media at a news conference this afternoon.
Scott's chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth released the follow statement this morning:
"Individuals were arrested Tuesday for a racketeering and money laundering charges in connection with Allied Veterans of the World's illegal gambling companies. Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll consulted for Allied Veterans while serving as a member of the Florida House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010. She was interviewed by Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers Tuesday regarding her work with the company. Lt. Gov. Carroll resigned in an effort to keep her former affiliations with the company from distracting from the administration's important work on behalf of Florida families. She made the right decision for the state and her family."
The Tampa Bay Times reports aides say the Governor won't name a replacement for Carroll until after the legislative session ends in early May. Attorney General Pam Bondi will be first in the line of succession if Scott cannot serve.
The Times also says the relationship between Scott and Carroll has apparently deteriorated, with the two not even speaking when Carroll submitted her resignation.
Carroll told Scott's chief of staff and general counsel she was stepping down Tuesday afternoon in the midst of a widening racketeering investigation of an Jacksonville Internet sweepstakes cafe network that had employed her as a marketing consultant. The aides then told Scott.
Carroll was the first African-American female Republican to be elected to the Florida House, serving from 2003 to 2010, before being selected as Scott's running mate.