J Pat Carter/AP
Former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
Former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. J Pat Carter/AP
Florida's lieutenant governor abruptly stepped down on Wednesday, two days after Florida law enforcement officials questioned her involvement with a non-profit under investigation.
According to The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, Jennifer Carroll sent a resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott that did not give a motive for her resignation. Adam Hollingsworth, Scott's chief-of-staff, however, told the paper her resignation had to do with the fallout from the investigation of Allied Veterans, which operates a string of Internet cafes.
"Carroll once owned a public relations firm that represented the organization and worked for the group during some of the seven years she served in the Florida House of Representatives.
"... Hollingsworth said arrests were made on Tuesday in connection with racketeering and money laundering charges involving Allied Veterans of the World.
"He said Carroll had been interviewed by the FDLE regarding her work with the firm and had 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.'"
Internet cafes, explains Reuters, "have been controversial for years," because local law enforcement officials see them as "fronts for casino gambling."
The Miami Herald points out that the investigation into what it calls "a Florida Internet sweepstakes company" is a federal one. The paper notes, however, that it is unclear whether Carroll herself is being investigated.
The Florida Times-Union has a bit more detail on the investigation into Allied Veterans of the World.
"Authorities say the group donated just 2 percent of its $290 million in proceeds to charities over about five years," the Times-Union reports. "They also say the former president received more than $1.5 million and the national commander got $250,000 from the organization."
During her tenure as a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives, she introduced legislation that would have legalized the online gambling industry, the paper reports. She withdrew that legislation, realizing there was a conflict of interest.