TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott released a statement March 13, following the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
“Local, state and federal law enforcement officials just held a press conference in Orlando, announcing that 57 individuals were charged with illegal activity linked to a $300 million conspiracy orchestrated by Allied Veterans of the World," Scott said.
He explained that the resignation was tied to the execution of 57 arrest warrants on March 12 in 23 Florida counties and five additional states for persons involved in the Allied Veterans conspiracy.
"They did a great job on this investigation and we appreciate their work," Scott said. “I have been periodically updated over the course of this investigation, as it was determined appropriate by law enforcement. Out of respect to their process, that is all I will say about our knowledge of their timeline in this case.
Carroll provided consultant services for Allied Veterans in 2009 and 2010 when she was serving in the Florida House of Representatives, according to Scott's statement. Florida Department of Law Enforcement interviewed Carroll March 12, concerning her work for the company.
“Lt. Gov. Carroll resigned yesterday in an effort to keep her former affiliations with the company from distracting from our important work on behalf of Florida families," Scott said. "I will not elaborate on the details of her resignation further, other than to say that she resigned and she made the right decision for the state and her family.
“We appreciate her willingness to step up and serve our state. She was a tireless advocate for Florida’s military and our mission to create more jobs. We are grateful for her service.
Scott said he had asked that any contributions to his election or Let's Get to Work campaigns from Allied Veterans or its affiliates named in the investigation be identified and given to charity.
"We have zero tolerance for this kind of criminal activity. Period," Scott said. “Additionally, we have seen press reports that the Republican Party of Florida accepted $25,000 from Allied Veterans to fund inaugural events when I took office. The Party has no record of that contribution.
Scott said he would not seek to fill the Lieutenant Governor's position until after conclusion of the upcoming legislative session.
“As to the future of the Lt. Gov.’s position, Florida law provides that a Lt. Gov. be in place, but we will not turn our attention to this topic until after the conclusion of the legislative session," Scott said. "I want to say again that: We will not turn our attention to this topic until after the conclusion of the legislative session.
“We have two very important priorities this session – a $2,500 teacher pay raise and the elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment – that we need to get done immediately. Those are our top priorities and we look forward to putting all of our focus on these goals and getting them done quickly, with the help of the legislature over the next few weeks.”
Carroll was Florida’s 18th Lieutenant Governor and the first female elected as Lieutenant Governor. She also was the first African-American elected statewide, according to her biography posted at MyFlorida.com.
She was a state legislator for more than seven years, a small business owner, former executive director of Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a Navy veteran. In addition to her duties assisting the Governor with economic development, Carroll had overseen the Florida Department of Military Affairs, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs and was Chairperson of Space Florida. She was also the Governor’s Designee on the Florida Defense Support Task Force, and Chairperson on the Governor’s Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection.