TALLAHASSEE—Florida’s conservative Republication lieutenant governor finds herself at the center of a political gay ménage a trois between her, a possibly-disgruntled former aide, and a media that eagerly wants to know “What Did the ‘Loo’ Do, and Where Did She Do It?
Carletha Cole, a former aide to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll—as part of the legal defense in her criminal trial—said that she caught her boss in “a compromising position” with another aide, shortly before she was fired in 2011. Cole’s allegations against the state’s second-highest constitutional officer are part of an ongoing prosecution of the ex-staffer, for revealing a recorded conversation between Carroll’s chief of staff and a reporter for the Florida Times- Union, a Jacksonville newspaper.
Cole’s legal motion claims that she interrupted Carroll, 52, and a female staff member in what she implies was an intimate—and lesbian—embrace. “When she entered the office,” the motion reads, “she found the Lieutenant Governor and her Travel Aide, Beatriz Ramos, in what can only be described as a compromising position.”
The motion claims that Ramos “jealously hoarded the Lieutenant Governor’s attention in a manner which can only be described as bizarre,” and says that Cole was told to reserve adjoining hotels rooms for Ramos and Carroll.
Officials are trying to keep certain records sealed, which prompted the filing of Cole’s motion—which includes the picture of a Machiavellian environment that surrounded Lt. Gov. Carroll, in which her deputies recorded conversations, and in which Carroll herself appeared more concerned with publicity than policy. Cole’s trial was scheduled to begin this week, but its start has been delayed.
Cole also claims that Gov. Rick Scott’s operatives “had specifically instructed staff members to covertly record communications within the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, as well as any and all communications with a member of the press, in order to permit rebuttal of any misquotes or inaccurate attributions.”
It says that John Konkus, Carroll’s chief of staff, “regularly joked about his ability to covertly record conversations, allowing the participants of the conversation no knowledge that the recording was occurring, given that Mr. Konkus’ ‘smart pen’ looked like an unassuming writing implement.” The motion says that Konkus’ smart pen was actually a recording device.
In 2011, Cole took a polygraph test. When asked, “Did you ever observe Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and … Ramos in a sexually compromising position in the Capitol?” she answered “yes.” Although he noted that “Ms. Cole’s charts were somewhat difficult to read,” Timothy Robinson, the retired chief polygraph examiner for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), said he believed her answers to be truthful. “Her charts, in my opinion, are indicative of a non-deceptive examinee (truthful),” Robinson wrote, adding, “Ms. Cole passed her polygraph.”
Ex-Staffer Claims She Found Florida Lt Gov in “Compromising Position” with Female Aide Test Examiner Says Accuser “Passed Polygraph”
By Cliff Dunn
“A juror could reasonably conclude that the [FDLE] investigation into the Defendant was tainted by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, in an effort to ensure the Defendant’s arrest, prosecution, and ultimate assassination of her character, in order to shield the Lieutenant Governor and her staff from legitimate inquiry into their own misdeeds,” said the motion, which was filed by Stephen Webster, Cole’s attorney.
Carroll vehemently denied allegations of a surreptitious gay work affair, telling Tampa Bay Local 10 television that “black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.” The lieutenant governor also emailed a video to supporters, denying the lesbian rumor.
“The problem is that when you have these accusations that come out, it’s not just one person you’re attacking,” she said. “It’s an entire family. My husband doesn’t want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am. My kids know the type of woman I am.”
Carroll, a former state House Member and the first African American elected to statewide office in Florida, is a staunch religious and social conservative, elected as Scott’s number two in 2010. She has lamented that, concerning today’s more progressive and tolerant atmosphere, “When it comes to our Christianity, there is no gray area. It is either you believe or you don’t believe. And if you believe, you believe with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your might.