TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott today made the following statement at a media availability, following the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll:
“Local, state and federal law enforcement officials just held a press conference in Orlando, announcing that 57 individuals were charged with illegal activity linked to a $300 million conspiracy orchestrated by Allied Veterans of the World.
“Law enforcement officials executed 57 arrest warrants yesterday [Tuesday, March 12] in 23 Florida counties and five additional states for individuals involved in the Allied Veterans conspiracy. They did a great job on this investigation and we appreciate their work. The joint law enforcement agencies involved put out a press release with further details on this large investigation and they can give you further information about this case.
“I have been periodically updated over the course of this investigation, as it was determined appropriate by law enforcement. Out of respect to their process, that is all I will say about our knowledge of their timeline in this case.
“Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll consulted for this company in 2009 and 2010 when she was serving in the Florida House of Representatives. FDLE interviewed Lt. Gov. Carroll yesterday related to her work for the company.
“Lt. Gov. Carroll resigned yesterday in an effort to keep her former affiliations with the company from distracting from our important work on behalf of Florida families. I will not elaborate on the details of her resignation further, other than to say that she resigned and she made the right decision for the state and her family.
“We appreciate her willingness to step up and serve our state. She was a tireless advocate for Florida’s military and our mission to create more jobs. We are grateful for her service.
“I have asked Let’s Get to Work and Rick Scott for Governor to immediately identify any contributions from Allied Veterans or the affiliated companies named in the investigation. I want funds from these groups to be immediately given to charity. We have zero tolerance for this kind of criminal activity. Period.
“Additionally, we have seen press reports that the Republican Party of Florida accepted $25,000 from Allied Veterans to fund inaugural events when I took office. The Party has no record of that contribution.
“As to the future of the Lt. Gov.’s position, Florida law provides that a Lt. Gov. be in place, but we will not turn our attention to this topic until after the conclusion of the legislative session. I want to say again that: We will not turn our attention to this topic until after the conclusion of the legislative session.
“We have two very important priorities this session – a $2,500 teacher pay raise and the elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment – that we need to get done immediately. Those are our top priorities and we look forward to putting all of our focus on these goals and getting them done quickly, with the help of the legislature over the next few weeks.”
(News release from Governor Scott’s office: http://www.flgov.com/2013/03/13/governor-rick-scott-statement-on-the-resignation-of-lt-gov-jennifer-carroll/ )