Governor's Communications Director Issues Statement on Carroll's Resignation

By: Matt Galka; CBS Tampa; Associated Press Email
By: Matt Galka; CBS Tampa; Associated Press Email
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Please see the below statement from Governor Rick Scott’s Communications Director Melissa Sellers regarding Jennifer Carroll’s recent interview:

“After Jennifer Carroll was questioned by law enforcement about her work for Allied Veterans, a company involved in a multi-state criminal conspiracy, our chief of staff and general counsel questioned her. She agreed to resign, acknowledging her involvement with Allied Veterans would be a distraction from the issues important to Florida families. Out of respect to her and her family, we are not commenting further about her discussions with our office or law enforcement, except to say that she made the right decision.”

-Melissa Sellers, Communications Director, Governor Rick Scott


Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Former Florida Lieutenant Gov. Jennifer Carroll says she does not believe she is a target of a multistate investigation.

Carroll abruptly resigned Tuesday amid the fallout of a scandal involving a purported veterans charity that authorities said was a $300 million front for illegal gambling. Carroll had been a consultant for the company while she was a state legislator.

In a statement, Carroll said it was a difficult decision to resign but that she refused to "allow the allegations facing a former client of my public relations firm to undermine the important work of the Governor and his administration."

She said that she did not believe that she, or her former public relations company, were targets of the investigation.

Carroll also said she would not withdraw from "public life."


By: Matt Galka
March 13, 2013

Orlando, FL - A 300 million dollar gambling operation encompassing 6 states and based out of Florida...

Attorney General, Pam Bondi: "Using the word charity to cover a scheme is not only wrong, but it's callous and it's despicable. Claiming to be an organization designed to help veterans in order to run an illegal scheme insults every American who ever wore a military uniform."

Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll had ties to the non profit including starring in a commercial for them. Carroll has since stepped down amidst a state and federal gambling probe.

FDLE Commissioner, Gerald Bailey: "I cannot comment on the Lt. Governor's role in this operation."

Reporter: "Why not?"

FDLE Commissioner, Gerald Bailey: "Because as I stated earlier this is an ongoing enterprise, an ongoing investigation and we're not going to take any further questions on the Lt. Governor...This is ongoing and we will not discuss the matter any further."

While the details are still scarce on Carroll's involvement, FDLE Commissioner Bailey did say that the Allied Veterans of the World had political ties: "Other than to tell you there were contributions made, that's all I'm at liberty to say at this point."

According to the chart, the charity contributed more than two million of their illegal finances to political campaigns.


CBS Tampa Web Copy

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll announced her resignation Wednesday, a day after she was questioned by authorities investigating an Internet cafe company that she once represented.

Carroll’s resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott, dated Tuesday, offered no details about her reason for leaving. But Scott’s chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, said she was interviewed by Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers Tuesday regarding her work with Allied Veterans of the World.

She resigned to ensure her ties to the company would not be a distraction for the administration, he said. Carroll, a Navy veteran, had owned a public relations firm that represented that company.

While serving as a state lawmaker, Carroll’s ties to the company were also questioned when she proposed a bill that would benefit internet cafes.

Carroll’s aides said they had no immediate comment Wednesday.

The owner of Allied Veterans was arrested Tuesday in Oklahoma on charges of racketeering. He is accused of making $290 million after supplying illegal gambling software in Florida and claiming the games’ proceeds would benefit a veterans group. Oklahoma authorities say the group actually received only 1 percent of the money. Chase Egan Burns, 37, and his wife, 38-year-old Kristin Burns, both face extradition to Florida to face the charges.

Chase Burns owns International Internet Technologies in Anadarko, about 60 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.

He and his wife were arrested after an investigation that spanned several years and involved the Internal Revenue Service and various law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma and Florida, including the sheriff’s office in Florida’s Seminole County, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office.

Chase Burns was released from the Caddo County jail Tuesday afternoon on a $500,000 bond. He denied any wrongdoing.

“What we do is legal,” he told The Oklahoman on Monday, the night before he turned himself in to local authorities.

His father, Tony Burns, also serves as his attorney. Tony Burns told the newspaper that his son broke no laws.

“What Chase was doing was he was actually selling the Internet time,” Tony Burns said. “That’s was what his business was — providing the software. And there’s nothing illegal about providing software to any business.”

Tony Burns did not return a call seeking comment from The Associated Press.

A telephone number listed for Allied Veterans in St. Augustine has been disconnected. Multiple emails sent by The Associated Press to an address listed on the group’s website weren’t returned Tuesday evening.

The former lieutenant governor — who is the mother of Miami Dolphins defensive back Nolan Carroll — has been named in previous scandals.

Last year, a former aide, Carletha Cole, claimed to have found Carroll in a compromising position with a travel aide inside’s Carroll’s office.

Cole is charged with violating state law for allegedly giving a recording of a conversation with Carroll’s chief of staff to a newspaper reporter.

Cole says she was ordered by Ramos to find adjoining hotel rooms for Carroll and Ramos when they traveled. Carroll has said previously the allegations are an attempt by Cole and her attorney to get the criminal charges against Cole dropped.

Carroll, a married mother of three, became the brunt of late-night talk show hosts when she defended herself against the allegations, telling a Tampa Bay area TV station that black women who look like her “don’t engage in relationships like that.” She later apologized for the remarks, which implied that black lesbians are not attractive.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press Release

By GARY FINEOUT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has resigned amid fallout from an investigation into internet cafes that are fronts for gambling.

Carroll's resignation was announced Wednesday, one day after she gave her resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott. His chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, said her resignation was spurred by an investigation into the Allied Veterans of the World.

Officials from that non-profit internet cafe company were recently arrested on racketeering charges. The owner was arrested Tuesday in connection to allegations that he made $290 million after supplying illegal gambling software in Florida and claiming the games' proceeds would benefit a veterans group. Authorities also interviewed Carroll.

Carroll's ties to the company were questioned when she was in the Legislature when she proposed a bill that would benefit Internet cafes.


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