Despite her loyalty to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) faced many challenges working as an African-American woman in his office.
In a Tuesday interview with WMEL, a Cocoa Beach radio station, Carroll reflected on her time serving in Scott's "ol' boys system" -- just over two years, until the governor asked her to resign. At the time, Carroll said, it was difficult for her to stand up for herself.
"When you're in the moment and you're trying to be that team player, you're trying to not make waves," she said. "It's bad enough, particularly for a minority, when you are in the good ol' boys system, you're trying to walk that fine line because you know their little whispers that they give. If you go off too much, then you're a B-I-T-C-H. If you don't do enough, then you're a wimp."
Carroll said Scott's loyalties were always primarily with Adam Hollingsworth, his chief of staff. When it became known that Hollingsworth had claimed to have a college degree before actually earning one, Scott stood by his staffer.
But the former lieutenant governor said her own challenges were not met with the same support. Carroll was asked to resign from the governor's office when officials learned that she had consulted for a nonprofit with ties to an illegal gambling operation during her time as a representative. Carroll said that she was guilty of no wrongdoing, and that she wasn't told why she had to resign.
"I still stayed as a team player. I still followed their rules and so forth, and when it came time that I would have expected him to give me the common courtesy that he gave to his male counterparts there, his chief of staff, who had wrongdoing, he had supported and defended them," she said. "Me, with no wrongdoing, [he] utilized an excuse and asked me to leave office for no reason."
"The same people that you think that you can trust are the ones that are stabbing you in the back," she added.
In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Scott's spokesman suggested Carroll was downplaying the scandal that led to her resignation.
"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," he said.
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