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  1. Florida Politics

Ex-Lt. Gov. Carroll says working for Scott was 'bad' for minorities (w/video)

Jennifer Carroll took to the airwaves and says she plans a tell-all book about her tenure with Gov. Rick Scott.
Published May 14, 2014

TALLAHASSEE — More than a year after she was forced from office, former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll continues to antagonize her former boss, Gov. Rick Scott, as he's running for re-election.

Appearing on a Cocoa Beach radio station, Carroll said Scott had "issues" with Medicaid fraud and that his "good ol' boy system" was difficult for minorities. She said her loyalty to Scott was not returned.

"I gave him 100 percent of my loyalty, even though we didn't know each other prior to running, and he had his issues with HCA and Medicaid fraud. I never asked him a question about that. Never," Carroll said Monday on WMEL's Seeta and Friends program, hosted by her fellow native of Trinidad, Seeta Begui.

Carroll said she was given no reason why she had to resign, then raised another episode that Scott and his team would rather forget: chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth's admission last December that he falsely claimed to have a college degree before actually earning it.

"It came time that I would have expected him (Scott) to give me the common courtesy that he gave to his male counterparts there, his chief of staff, who had wrongdoing, he supported and defended them," Carroll said. "Me, with no wrongdoing, (he) utilized an excuse and asked me to leave office for no reason."

Carroll, the state's first African-American lieutenant governor and the most visible black member of Scott's administration, quit in March 2013, nine months before the Times/Herald exposed Hollingsworth's resume-padding.

Carroll was forced out when officials learned that she had been a paid consultant to a veterans group accused of having ties to the illegal Internet cafe gaming industry.

In a statement Tuesday, Scott's spokesman, John Tupps, said: "Jennifer Carroll was connected to an organization that was at the center of a multistate criminal conspiracy at the time, and we are confident she made the right choice for her family by resigning."

In recent interviews, Carroll has said she wants Scott to apologize for forcing her to resign and says she plans to write a tell-all book about her experience.

The Associated Press reported recently that Carroll failed to report nearly $100,000 in income from the supposed charity, Allied Veterans of the World, and she changed two financial disclosure statements to include the payments after she was questioned by FDLE agents.

Carroll's continued outspokenness could become an aggravation for Scott as he tries to soften his public persona in a battle to win a second term.

"It's bad enough, particularly for minorities, when you are in the good ol' boy system, you're trying to walk that fine line because, you know, there are little whispers that they give. You know, if you go off too much, then there's a B-I-T-C-H," Carroll told listeners.

Scott had several female advisers in his 2010 campaign, including Susie Wiles, Karen Bowling and Cynthia Sucher. The manager of his re-election campaign, Melissa Sellers, is his former communications chief.

Steve Bousquet can be reached at sbousquet@tampabay.com.

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