By Ashley Lopez
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
Almost a year after former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was asked to resign when she became embroiled in a federal investigation of a charity tied to a company suspected of racketeering, she is speaking out against Gov. Rick Scott’s administration.
According to The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald, Carroll appeared on a “Cocoa Beach radio station Monday where she cited ‘wrongdoing’ by Scott’s chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, and a ‘good ol’ boy system’ where it was difficult for minorities to work.”
The Times/Herald reports:
“I gave him 100 percent of my loyalty, even though we didn’t know each other prior to running, and he had his issues with HCA and Medicaid fraud. I never asked him a question about that. Never,” Carroll said. “I still followed their rules and so forth, and when it came time that I would have expected him to give me the common courtesy that he gave to his male counterparts there, his chief of staff, who had wrongdoing, he supported and defended them. Me, with no wrongdoing, (he) utilized an excuse and asked me to leave office for no reason.”
Hollingsworth acknowledged in December that while in private employment, he falsely claimed a degree from the University of Alabama before he obtained it. Scott publicly supported Hollingsworth at the time. Hollingsworth helped to force Carroll from office on March 12, 2013.
Carroll continued: “It’s bad enough, particularly for minorities, when you are in the good old boy system, you’re trying to walk that fine line because, you know, there are little whispers that they give. You know, if you go off too much, then there’s a B-I-T-C-H. If you don’t do enough, you’re a wimp.”
Carroll, a Republican and the first African-American lieutenant governor in Florida history, wants Scott to apologize for forcing her to resign and said she plans to write a tell-all book about her experience. She was forced out when officials learned that prior to becoming lieutenant governor, she was a paid consultant to a veterans’ group accused of having ties to the illegal Internet cafe gaming industry.
Before the resignation, Carroll was embroiled in another legal issue. About two years ago, a former aide to Carroll alleged the she had an inappropriate relationship with another staff member, which allegedly led to that aide’s mistreatment in the workplace.
However, it wasn’t until news of Carroll’s involvement in the Allied Veterans and an investigation into its ties to an internet company suspected of racketeering that Scott’s chief of staff suggested Carroll step down.
This latest radio interview with Carroll also isn’t the first time a minority has claimed that Scott’s administration and/or campaign is unfriendly to minorities.
This past March, The Times/Herald reported on an email from a Hispanic fundraiser on the Scott team that blasted campaign officials for being culturally insensitive.
The Times/Herald reported:
Before he abruptly resigned as a top fundraiser for Gov. Rick Scott, health care executive Mike Fernandez let loose with a litany of complaints in an email obtained by the Times/Herald. He described a “homogeneous” team of campaign advisers who are scared to disagree with Scott and don’t understand the culture of Hispanic voters whose support he needs to win re-election.
…Fernandez’s email indicates that he never heard the comments he complained about. His business partner, identified in the email only as Luis, apparently did on the way to a [Chipotle] Grill, a Mexican restaurant.
“It’s culturally insensitive for him to hear a senior staff members [sic] mimicking a Mexican accent on the way to Chipotle. It shows that the team does not understand the culture YOU need to win,” Fernandez wrote on his iPad.
In response to Carroll, Scott’s office said that Carroll made the right decision by stepping down.