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Florida’s T&T-born Lieutenant Governor Quits

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CarrollTrinidadian-born Jennifer Carroll last month stepped down from her post as lieutenant governor of Florida as law enforcement probed a company she once served as a consultant.

Carroll’s sudden resignation culminated what observers believed was a tumultuous term following her selection for the state’s second highest political job by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott.

“She did the right thing for the state and for her family,” Scott said at a news conference last month.

Scott, however, did not say if he had demanded her resignation when he learned of inquiry into the Internet sweepstakes firm – Allied Veterans of the World - to which Carroll is linked. The governor is up for re-election.

The firm was a client of a public relations company co-owned by Carroll and was promoted in a broadcast advertisement during the 53-year-old former Navy officer’s term as member of the Florida House.

NO TARGET

Scott said he did not know if Carroll had broken any law. Reports indicate that Carroll was questioned by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. However, in a statement, she declared her innocence by claiming: “…I do not believe I or my company are targets of the investigation.”

She has not been charged with a crime.

According to Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, Allied Veterans of the World operated a $300 million illegal gambling scheme while claiming it was a charitable organization offering benefits to military veterans. Only a small portion of the proceeds collected by Allied Veterans actually benefitted the veterans, law enforcement said.

The current scandal, however, was not the first linked to Carroll during her term as lieutenant governor, which began in 2010. Last year a former aide said she found Carroll in a compromising position with another woman. Carroll, who is married and has three children, dismissed the claim.

“Black women who look like me don’t engage in relationships like that,” she said at the time.

Carroll is the first African American female to serve as Florida’s lieutenant governor. She left Trinidad for the United States at age eight. She later joined the Navy as a jet mechanic and reached the rank of lieutenant commander.

A Republican, Carroll was elected to the Florida House in 2003. She also served as executive director of the Florida Department of Veteran Affairs.

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