Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Florida Lt. Gov. Resigns Amid Nonprofit Investigation

By Zach Halper - March 14, 2013

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll has resigned from her post amid a wide-ranging criminal investigation of a nonprofit with which she was once associated.

Carroll was interviewed Monday by law enforcement officials about her connections to Allied Veterans of the World, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based nonprofit that allegedly operates a chain of illegal Internet cafes, according to a report in The Miami Herald. While it was not clear that she was a subject of any criminal investigation, Carroll nevertheless announced her resignation in a two-sentence letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday, which he accepted.

Scott’s chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, said in a statement that Carroll resigned in an effort to keep her former affiliations with the company from distracting from the administration’s important work on behalf of Florida families.” He acknowledged that she did “consulting” work for Allied Veterans of the World in 2009 and 2010 while a member of the Florida House of Representatives. The Miami Herald also reported that Scott’s office claimed that Carroll ended her affiliation with Allied Veterans in 2011.

Carroll first rose to prominence when she was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2003. She was the first African-American Republican woman to be elected to that position, and she was selected as then-candidate Scott’s running mate in September 2010.

Allied Veterans has had a big role in Florida, especially in connection with the Scott administration. It spent has spent thousands of dollars on state lobbyists and contributed $25,000 for Scott’s inaugural ball. Carroll herself introduced legislation in 2010 that would legalize all electronic sweepstakes games, but later withdrew the legislation claiming that it was not meant to be filed.

A call to Allied Veterans for comment was met with a disconnected number message, and an e-mail to the organization was not immediately returned.

Carroll’s resignation comes amid a flurry of activity surrounding the investigation of Allied Veterans. On Monday, leaders from the organization were arrested on allegations of racketeering and money laundering. The president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) union, Nelson Cuba, and its vice president, Robbie Freitas, were also arrested.

The charges revolve around a series of Internet cafes that the organization allegedly runs, which allow customers to win money through electronic gambling. Some of these games are legal in Florida, so long as a majority of the proceeds go to charities. However, state Attorney General Pam Bondi and federal investigators allege that the organization attempted to defraud public and governmental agencies by misrepresenting how much of its game-related revenue went to charities.

“It is shameful that Allied Veterans of the World allegedly attempted to use the guise of a charitable organization to help veterans in order to lend credibility to this $300 million illegal gambling scheme,” Bondi said via a statement.

During an afternoon press conference announcing the charges, state investigators alleged that only 2 percent of Allied Veterans’ proceeds went to charities. The four alleged co-conspirators in the case were attorney Kelly Mathis, attorney for Allied Veterans, organization chairman Jerry Bass, Johnny Duncan, and Chase Burns. Mathis was described by investigators as being the alleged “mastermind” behind the alleged scheme.

In all, the accused allegedly received $90 million from the Internet cafes.

Investigators said during the press conference that Cuba and Freitas allegedly created a “shell company” to hide the money he and Freitas were receiving from three of the sweepstakes centers, which they also co-owned. It was alleged that at least one of these centers distributed a third of the proceeds to the FOP foundation, in order to protect Allied Veterans.

FOP issued a statement Tuesday, before the charges were officially announced, stating that Cuba and Freitas’ arrest had nothing to do with the organization “but appears to be a result of their personal business relationships with Allied Veterans.” The organization is in the process of selecting an interim president.

In a separate statement, Florida FOP president Jim Preston said he was “shocked” and “concerned” about the arrest, and reiterated that they were unrelated to FOP business. “As a law enforcement organization, we firmly believe in the justice system that we all work in,” Preston said. “We also believe in the innocent until proven guilty concept. Until the investigation and court process determines otherwise, these individuals deserve the full protections afforded anyone who stands accused of a crime.”

Allied Veterans of the World was founded in 1989 with the expressed purpose of, according to its website, contributing “time, money and support services to veterans and first-responder organizations across the country.” The site identifies the nonprofit as a registered 501(c)-19 organization.

According to the organization’s 2011 federal Form 990 filings, Allied Veterans made $1.73 million after bringing in nearly $2.5 billion the previous year. Almost $1.71 million of that 2011 revenue came from investment income, with the other $26,929 coming from grants and contributions.


Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.

Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!


Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up

click here to return to the previous page