Florida's Lieutenant Governor, Jennifer Carroll, resigned on Wednesday after authorities arrested leaders of a non-profit organization she once helped. The organization, Allied Veterans of the World, ran an internet gambling café that authorities linked to racketeering and money laundering. According to a March 13 Florida Times Union article, Carroll owned a public relations firm that worked with Allied Veterans of the World.
A retired Navy Veteran, Carroll was the top woman in Florida's government. She was also the first Black person to serve in a statewide position. A statement explained her resignation saying, “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.”
Carroll no longer owns 3N & JC, the public relations firm she owned during the seven years she served in the Florida House of Representatives. Her firm did consulting work for Allied Veterans and she was featured in a commercial for the organization in 2010. She was embarrassed when, as she claims, a staffer filed a failed bill that would have made internet café gambling legal in Florida.
Currently, Florida's internet gambling cafes fall into a vague category of "sweepstakes" gaming centers. Some insist the cafés are legal as "sweepstakes" gambling while others insist they are purely illegal.
A March 12 Florida Times Union article reported that the IRS and Secret Service arrested top Allied Veterans officials as part of a national investigation. Florida Law Enforcement accused the organization using money from a nonprofit for personal gain and making false reports about the amount that it donated to charities. In five years, the group allegedly gave a mere 2 percent of its $290 million earnings to charities. The group's former president allegedly took more than $1.5 million while the national commander took $250,000 in funds.
Carroll was also in trouble in 2011 for filing falsified lease documents that helped her firm to qualify for minority owned business status. Her firm was in Clay County, but appeared to be in Jacksonville, which was a program requirement.
Her former aide, Carletha Cole, was arrested for passing an illegal secret recording of herself and Carroll's chief-of-staff to a reporter.
Her resignation leaves it to Attorney General Pam Bondi to replace Governor Rick Scott in an emergency or if he resigned.