Even as she becomes a prominent African-American surrogate for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, and takes the spotlight leading a state task force on the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll is now fighting a sensational scandal involving an alleged lesbian affair with an aide. Carroll, meanwhile, claims the accusations are from a disgruntled fired employee who is trying to embarrass her former boss to avoid the consequences of her own crime.
From the Miami Times:
A former staffer of Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll said she was fired last year after she caught her former boss and another female aide in “a compromising position” in Carroll’s office, according to a court filing.
The ex-office aide, Carletha Cole, 49, was arrested last year on charges she illegally leaked taped conversations of Carroll’s staff to a Florida newspaper reporter. Defending herself against the charges, Cole alleges in a court filing the lieutenant governor fired her shortly after she walked in on the Republican leader and the staff member in Carroll’s capitol office. The allegation came to light in a July 5 court filing in response to a motion by prosecutors that certain records in the case be made confidential.
“When she entered the office, she found the Lieutenant Governor and her travel aide, Beatriz Ramos, in what can only be described as a compromising position,” according to a motion filed by Cole’s lawyer, Stephen Webster.
Cole, who is also an ordained minister, has for months been publicly calling for Carroll’s impeachment, on grounds that the 52-year-old married mother of three adult children practices “nepotism” and misuses her office “for sexual escapades.” Carroll, Florida’s first black female lieutenant governor, denied the charges in a statement to the Florida Times Union, accusing Cole of trying to use the allegations to get the charges against her dropped.
Cole was arrested last October and charged with illegally taping a conversation and sharing the recording with the Times Union. On the tape, which wound up on the paper’s website, Carroll’s chief of staff, John Konkus, is heard saying Scott’s chief of staff at the time was “afraid of Carroll,” and that Scott is “not leading.” It is illegal in Florida to record conversations without the consent of all parties. Cole is charged with a third-degree felony for which she faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Cole’s attorneys filed a motion responding to prosecutors’ attempts to seal evidence in the case. In that motion, she charges that Konkus routinely recorded conversations, as did staffers for Gov. Rick Scott. She accuses Konkus of boasting to colleagues that he used a so-called “magic pen” that doubled as a recording device.
The evidence prosecutors had sought to keep from the public includes the results of a polygraph test Cole took in relation to her allegations.
Read more details about this story and the case files on The Grio