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FDLE investigating recording within Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's office

Carroll

Carroll

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Friday that investigators are looking into a possible illegal recording within Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's office.

The recording is of Carroll's chief of staff, John Konkus, whispering to another staffer that Gov. Rick Scott is "not leading" on an internal issue.

Konkus is heard talking to Carletha Cole, another Carroll staffer who recently was fired after she complained to the Florida Times-Union about rampant infighting inside Carroll's office.

It's the second FDLE investigation in a month involving the Governor's Office, which declined to comment.

Three weeks ago the FDLE opened an inquiry into missing e-mails from Scott's transition into office. After the Times/Herald reported the e-mails were deleted from the private computer server, Scott cited state public record law and asked the FDLE to find out why the documents were destroyed whether any could be recovered.

Florida law requires consent before recording private conversations. Violation of that law can be a felony. A first offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $1,000 fine.

On the muffled recording, Konkus tells Cole that he met with Scott's chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, about a website design. Konkus said MacNamara agreed to "do whatever" Carroll wanted. Konkus says he knew information for the Web page was going to "be trouble."

"You know why?" Cole asks.

"Because we're not, the governor is not leading," Konkus replies.

On Sept. 9, Cole told the Times-Union: "I can tell you if the Lieutenant Governor's Office does not get in shape — we are like a juvenile school now — we are not going to get anywhere. We will be a detriment to what Gov. Scott wants to do."

Cole, 48, also said Konkus. 37, unfairly attacks her.

"He always tells me that I'm a problem, but he can never tell me what that problem is," she said.

Cole could not be reached for comment Friday.

Three days after she left Carroll's office, the Times-Union published a copy of the recorded conversation between Cole and Konkus.

Michael C. Bender can be reached at mbender@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelCBender.

FDLE investigating recording within Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's office 09/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 17, 2011 1:27pm]

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