Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned today in a move to prevent her affiliation with a non-profit currently under investigation from becoming a distraction. Her resignation comes as a disappointment to Governor Rick Scott, who picked her as his running mate in 2010.
Carroll previously did work with Allied Veterans of the World, a Jacksonville non-profit currently under a racketeering investigation by the IRS and Secret Service. Several arrests have been made, including the president of the Jacksonville Florida Order of Police, Nelson Cuba. The arrests were connected to gambling, mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Allied Veterans of the World runs 51 internet cafes throughout Florida. All of the cafes were closed and searched yesterday. The machines used inside these cafes have been deemed to be slot machines, which are illegal outside of licensed casinos.
The non-profit claims that 70 percent of the $290 million it made in revenue over the past five years was given to charity, but investigators have found that only $6 million, or a mere 2 percent, has been donated.
Carroll owned a consulting firm, 3N & JC, which did consulting work for Allied Veterans of the World, and she starred in a commercial for the non-profit in 2010. On her tax documents for 2009 and 2010, Carroll did not list how much income she received from the organization. As a member of the Florida House of Representatives, she sponsored legislation that would have legalized the industry, but she withdrew the bill because of her conflict of interest.
Carroll has gained attention in the past for being an African American woman holding statewide office within the Republican party. She spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2000 and co-chaired Mitt Romney’s Black Leadership Council in 2012. She served as Florida’s Veterans’ Affairs Secretary under former governor Jeb Bush. Before entering the public sphere, she worked in the Navy for 20 years.
Carroll has not been explicitly connected to the non-profit scandal, but her resignation comes only two days after she was questioned by investigators.