Tallahassee, Florida- July 16, 2012- 6pm
A request for Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll to take a lie detector test has just been denied. The request came as part of a criminal investigation of one of Carroll's former employees.
It was a fire set in trashcan of Carletha Cole, the former employee who was fired in September. Now she's facing criminal charges for distributing an illegally recorded conversation. But before she was fired, her attorney says, she was targeted by Carroll and another employee.
Steve Webster, Cole's attorney says it all began after his client caught Carroll and that female employee in a "compromising position". The employee admits to setting the fire in Cole's trashcan, but claims it was an accident. FDLE investigated and agrees. One day after the arson investigation was closed, Carroll wrote a letter of recommendation for the FDLE investigator.
Cole's attorney says it all seems fishy. He's asked the state fire marshall to investigate, and says Carroll should be hooked to a lie detector and asked questions about the incident.
Says Cole's attorney, Steve Webster: "What level of involvement did the Lieutenant Governor have? How often does she write letters of recommendations for law enforcement officers? Are they a form letter or are they specifically designed for the officer because this one seemed to have a very personal touch to it. And why did the Lieutenant Governor feel as if she should get involved? How did she know about the fire?"
The official story is that the female employee took a few puffs off a cigar, wrapped it in a paper towel and about 10 minutes later threw it in to Cole's trashcan.
This is the fire marshall's response basically says FDLE's investigation was fair and the marshall sees no reason to re-examine the events.
Cole's attorneys are upset with the response. They're now considering asking the US District Attorney to get involved.
Tallahassee, Florida- July 16, 2012- 5pm
Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll goes on the defense to protect her reputation. Now she's speaking out about accusations that she had an affair with a female travel aide.
Carroll has denied the accusations from the beginning made by Carletha Cole a former aide. Cole was arrested last year on charges of giving an illegally taped conversation with another aide to a newspaper reporter.
In an interview with a TV station in Tampa, Carroll says that black women who look like her "don't engage in relationships like that."
She also points out she's been married for 29 years and that her children and husband "know the type of woman I am."
Cole says she walked in on Carroll and a top female aide in a
compromising position in Carroll's office.
Tallahassee, FL - July 15, 2012
Florida’s Lieutenant Governor is being asked to take a lie-detector test tonight in connection with a criminal case of one of her former employees.
Carletha Cole is that employee. She was fired from Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll’s office in September and later charged with a felony for leaking an illegally recorded conversation to reporters. Cole claims she was setup because she caught Carroll and her female travel aide in a “compromising position.” After the alleged incident Cole’s trashcan was set on fire by the travel aide, Beatriz Ramos. According to a FDLE arson investigation Ramos started the fire when she threw away a partially smoked cigar in Cole’s trashcan. FDLE ruled the fire an accident.
We've obtained a letter sent to the state fire marshal’s office (see the PDF file above this article). The letter calls for an independent investigation and for “the Lieutenant Governor (to) voluntarily submit to a polygraph examination by an FBI polygrapher.”
Cole’s Attorneys are requesting the same for Ramos, who admits she accidentally starting the fire. The letter gives the State Fire Marshal’s office until the end of Tuesday to respond. If an investigation isn’t launched by then, the FBI will be asked to intervene.
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, July 16, 2012
Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida
Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll plans to fight back against charges that she and a female aide were caught in "a compromising position," according to emails Carroll sent to well-wishers from her state account.
The statements came as several emails poured into Carroll's inbox, according to a review of the Sunburst system, which releases emails from staff in Gov. Rick Scott's office. All of the emails to Carroll so far have been supportive, with some also taking aim at Carletha Cole -- the former employee who accused the lieutenant governor.
Cole is currently facing a trial for illegally disclosing conversations recorded when Cole worked for Carroll.
"I will be fighting back against these blatant lies," Carroll said in an email to Franz Metz, a supporter who asked her to do so.
In another email, Carroll lashes out at the media for reporting the allegations.
"Unfortunately, as an elected official character deformation that is totally fabricated can occur like this and there is not much I can do," Carroll wrote to Mary Jane and George Duryea of Lake Mary. "The media loves to put out sensational stories without doing due diligence to verify the authenticity."
Most of the emails are from Thursday, the day after the court filings came to light.
"I have just heard about the nastiness aimed at you today," wrote Joan Ridilla. "It is difficult to understand why anyone would derive a sense of satisfaction or pleasure from verbally attacking another person -- especially when the 'evidence' is contrived and false."
Metz's email suggests that Carroll's status as the first black female lieutenant governor and her politics played a role in the allegations.
"Please stand firm and fight this attempt to discredit you and your office," Metz wrote. "It seems that whenever a self made person of minority descent gets into the political spotlight and are a conservative and not a liberal the lies and character attack come."
Others had choice words for Cole.
"We need women who are smart, driven, respected, brave (moms) who deeply care about our future in our state to run our offices ...not CC who is only in it to destroy the truth about our good leaders," wrote Maggie Melson.
One supporter, Jacki Sandler of Apopka, included her resume and mentioned a statement of support that was issued Thursday by Cindy Graves, president of the Florida Federation of Republican Women.
"I just read the email from Cindy Graves and I am sorry you had to experience such hardship and ugliness from a Obama supporter,'' Sandler wrote.
"If needed, I would like to lend my services, skills, and support," Sandler continued, adding that she is "available to work via chat, conference call or webinar."