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This is XXXX of MY STUPID STATE where I document what happens when a state full of Democrats elect a veto-proof, right-wing legislature along with a teabag, CRIMINAL governor to lead us. (Once again, yes--an actual bona-fide criminal who literally stole from seniors, who subsequently elected him.)

This is my documentation of my beloved but idiotic state's slow descent into chaos.

First off, the entire position of Florida Lt. Governor is completely useless.  It was created in 1968, and is unique in that no job description for it exists anywhere in state law.  The LG literally has no responsiblities whatsoever but to draw a six-figure salary, maintain a massive and equally pointless staff, and step in if the governor dies.  (Before '68, it went to the Senate Prez.)  For all the whining the state GOP does about the budget, they never consider cutting this position.

So it boggles the mind that anyone with half a brain cell could screw this up.  Just sit on your butt and feed at the government trough.  How freaking hard could that be?

If you are successful, it means no one has heard of you.  Toni Jenning, Jeb Bush's lackey, was successful.  She never made the news.  Charlie Crist's #2 was a failure:  he made headlines for flying all around the state on a government plane for personal outings.

Then there's Rick Scott's fiasco, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

Jennifer Carroll was a state rep who was not known for her legislative record, but was certainly known for her ethical lapses.  She was nowhere on par with her boss and his greatest Medicare fraud in history, but an impressive resume of shadiness nonetheless.  There was her using a fake diploma; filing bills to benefit her public relations firm, and that memorable time she falsified records to scam a government program.

Still, all she had do as LG was attend state dinners on time, meet and greet some girl scouts, and don't do anything stupid.  Unfortunately, that was asking too much. It happened:

A one minute and 20 second recording, captured sometime in the summer of 2011, is at the heart of a controversial criminal case rocking the state Capitol.

The quality is poor, but in it you can hear John Konkus, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll’s Chief of Staff, and Carletha Cole, a Carroll employee fired in September.

The conversation is about a rift between Carroll’s office and the governor.  It was given to a journalist after Cole was fired.  After its release, Cole was charged with distributing the illegal recording.  She wasn’t charged with making it.  

That’s because Cole claims Konkus made the recording.  She says he carried around a smart-pen that, with a click, would turn into a microphone, and secretly tape anyone within an ear shot.

According to a motion filed by Cole’s attorney, Steve Webster, the governor’s office instructed staff to “covertly record communications within the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.”

First off, yes... there is a "recording war" going on between the governor's office staff and the LG's staff.   They are not getting along well.

Second, Carletha Cole is an African Methodist Episcopal minister, grandmother, and former magazine publisher.  She has no criminal record whatsoever and was offered entry to a seminary prograam at Harvard.  She instead foolishly took a job with Jennifer Carroll as a senior program analyst.  She is now looking at several years in prison for giving a reporter that recording.

The Leon County state attorney has a personal vendetta against her and even said he is going to "war" with Cole.

You see, Cole made several public statements about the awful conditions in Carroll's office before she was fired.  She said the infighting in the office made it akin to working in “a juvenile school” where staffers are “conspiring against one another.”

After she was fired, she dropped a bombshell:  she claimed that she walked in on Jennifer Carroll and her travel aide, Beatriz Ramos, while they were in a "comprising position" in Carroll's office.

Ramos, according to Cole, carried on a lesbian love affair.  Carroll, like her predecessor, had a penchant for excessive travel and according ot the Palm Beach Post, required Ramos to have an adjoining hotel room when they traveled.  

Cole said when she discovered the affair she was made a target since that day.  

In one incident, Capitol police were called to investigate a fire that had broken out in a trash can beneath Cole's desk after a cigar was thrown in there.  Beatriz Ramos admitted to setting the fire:

Ramos has refused comment, but told investigators that she accidentally set the trash can on fire with a cigar she had been given during a St. Patrick’s Day party.
Cole said it was harrassment, but FDLE said the fire was just an accident. (PS, an article about FDLE shennanigans under this governor could stand on its on.  Coming soon.)  Given the fact there are several trash bins closer to Ramos' workstation, not to mention that the Capitol building is a No Smoking area, why would Ramos throw a lit cigar in Cole's private waste basket?  

The court file also includes the results of a 2011 polygraph test that indicated Cole was truthful about everything she saw. The test was conducted by a retired polygraph expert who used to work for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Even without the lie detector test, I am inclined to believe Cole over Carroll just based on what I know about the character of both them.   However, a compelling arguement could be made that the bombshell she dropped was just a vendetta Cole cooked up to carry out against Carroll for being fired.   I'll leave that up to you to judge.

What this unquestionably shows is a chaotic office filled with distrust and unprofessional behavior, to put it lightly, that we are all paying for.  Again, getting rid of the LG office, with all of her "travel aides" and webpage builders and whatever else would save the state enough to hire back all the useful public servants it fired; or perhaps go towards reopening the TB hospital Scott shut down during the worst outbreak in 20 years.

I should rephrase my original statement.  A compelling arguement could be made against Cole by a COMPETENT person.  Never to miss an opportunity to turn a scandal into an insult, Carroll decided to fight Cole by making this statement:

Usually black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that.
Yes, Jennifer.  Only ugly, fat people must be lesbians.   You might be a pretty woman, but you are very ugly to me.

The HuffingtonPost asked Florida lesbians to post pictures showing her what lesbians look like.


Originally posted to SemDem on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Florida.

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