Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll rips Gov. Rick Scott, others in new book

TALLAHASSEE — In a new book about her two years as Florida's lieutenant governor, Jennifer Carroll paints a grim picture: ignored by Gov. Rick Scott, belittled by his back-biting staff and forced to resign from office for no reason.

When You Get There hits bookstores and Amazon next week for $14.99 and is the third book by a Florida politician this year, joining first-person tales by former Gov. Charlie Crist and ex-Republican Party chairman Jim Greer.

Carroll, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander and former state representative, was the first black woman lieutenant governor of Florida. She said she wrote the 173-page book to inspire others to overcome adversity and to believe in the power of family, friends and prayer.

Carroll writes that Scott showed no interest in reaching out to black and Hispanic voters in 2010, so she did over his campaign's objections. During Scott's inaugural celebration, she writes, "I was treated like an unwanted stepchild." And when she wanted to talk to the governor, she said, she was told to ask for an appointment with his scheduler.

As a candidate and upon taking office, Scott raved about Carroll. But their relationship soon soured and Scott's top aides forced her to resign on March 12, 2013, after law enforcement agents interrogated Carroll about past public relations work for Allied Veterans of the World, a group linked to Internet cafes that were closed after investigators uncovered widespread fraud.

Carroll was not charged with wrongdoing and writes of her feelings of humiliation when Scott's aides "ambushed" her with a terse resignation letter they forced her to sign. "I felt betrayed," she writes.

Carroll describes Scott as overly controlled by his staff and lacking in a personal touch, recalling that he showed no concern after she fainted and struck her head on the floor at a sweltering church.

"Clearly, something was missing there, some ability to make personal connections that he just didn't have," Carroll said.

Working hand-in-hand with black political consultant Clarence McKee in the 2010 campaign, Carroll said she built a Republican outreach plan to black voters who vote reliably Democratic, using newspapers, radio and phone calls. Despite the campaign's objections, she attended a forum in Miami hosted by Bishop Victor Curry, a radio host and prominent voice in Miami's black community.

"The campaign didn't want it, but I did it anyway," she writes.

As a result, Carroll writes, Scott got 6 percent of the African-American vote, according to 2010 exit polls, and if she had not directed a "minority stealth" campaign, "Scott would have lost the election."

McKee, a Scott supporter, said in an interview that Carroll's account was true and that she pushed for more outreach to Jewish voters in Broward and Palm Beach counties in the final weeks of the 2010 race, in which Scott defeated Democrat Alex Sink by fewer than 62,000 votes.

How Carroll became Scott's running mate was surprising, she recalled. What she didn't know was that few others were interested in the job.

Carroll said she was called to a meeting in Miami in 2010 by Scott's campaign manager, Susie Wiles, where two lawyers asked her a series of questions. Then she and Scott met and talked, and he quickly phoned her and asked her to join the ticket.

"I was still wondering why he had chosen me. He never gave me a real answer to that question," Carroll writes. "I wasn't one of the good old boys, and he was a millionaire with his own plane. Why me?"

Wiles said that account was accurate. A longtime friend of Carroll's, Wiles said she didn't think the book would damage Scott's re-election prospects.

"I have a negative view — as I think most people do — of people who do these kiss-and-tell books after they have been trusted as part of the inner circle," Wiles said.

Carroll's book contains no new bombshells, and many of the incidents she describes were reported by the Florida media at the time. But few in Scott's orbit escape Carroll's wrath.

She claims that Scott's former chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, blocked access to the governor and would "undermine or get rid of people who didn't go along with him," and that his replacement, Adam Hollingsworth, was "even more ruthless" and lower-level staffers cowered in his presence.

Carroll, a stylish dresser, wrote that when she wore designer pants and boots for an event at the Governor's Mansion, Hollingsworth ordered her to change clothes, and told her to scrap a scheduled birthday party in 2012 because a hurricane was approaching the state and Scott had canceled public events.

"It was just so silly," Carroll writes.

Carroll writes that she spent months asking superiors for a travel budget before she got one, but after security costs in her first year approached $300,000, Scott's staff limited her travel and assigned her a lower-ranking state trooper than previous lieutenant governors had.

Scott's campaign declined to address Carroll's specific allegations. Spokeswoman Jackie Schutz issued a statement that said Carroll "made the right decision for her family by resigning."

Carroll has a new career as a political commentator for WJXT Channel 4, a Jacksonville TV station, and she planned to analyze Tuesday's primary night election results.

Contact Steve Bousquet at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll rips Gov. Rick Scott, others in new book 08/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 11:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida football has become something to be endured, not enjoyed


    The Jim McElwain era at Florida is something to be endured, not enjoyed.

    Florida Gators defensive lineman Khairi Clark (54) leaves the field after the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. The Florida Gators lost to the Texas A&M Aggies 17-16 MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
  2. Who wants to trade? Hillsborough offers to swap land with Ybor-area property owners for potential Rays ballpark

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Trades are common when assembling a professional baseball team. Apparently, they're also useful when assembling land for a professional ballpark.

    Aerial photo of Ybor City centered around Centro Ybor and 7th Avenue. Hoping to assemble the land for a ballpark near Ybor City and the Channel District, Hillsborough County officials could government property with landowners there. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times.
  3. Hurricane Irma thrashed Tampa Bay homes sales in September

    Real Estate

    Hurricane Irma not only downed thousands of trees throughout the Tampa Bay area: It also sent home sales plunging in September.

    This home on Tampa's Davis Islands home sold in September for $5.2 million, making it the priciest sale of the month in the Tampa Bay area.
[Courtesy of Judson Brady Photography]
  4. Cannon Fodder podcast: Most important stat in Bucs-Bills game


    Greg Auman talks about the uncertainty at quarterback for the Bucs as they go to Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Interceptions, such as this one by Brent Grimes against Arizona, will be the most important stat in Sunday's game.
  5. Encounters: In the quiet of exam rooms, women have been saying 'Me too' for years

    Human Interest


    Meet her with her clothes on.

    Don't make her greet you in a paper gown, slits down the front and flimsy ties. Shake her hand, if she wants to, and introduce yourself. Pause between sentences. This will make it clear that you are listening; that you will listen, to whatever she has to say. Observe what …

     Pam Kelly, a gynecologist at Tampa General Hospital's Family Care Center at HealthPark, teaches future doctors at the University of South Florida how to identify and treat victims of sexual assault. Gabriella Angotti-Jones  | Times