TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott is shutting down the lieutenant governor's office for now. Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned earlier this month after she was interviewed as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged widespread gambling ring.
She has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
But part of the fallout is the decision to shutter the office until a successor is named, putting the four employees who remained out of work.
Emails show that orders have already gone out to pack up the office and secure state-owned computers. Some employees are already circulating resumes.
A spokeswoman for Scott said the decision was made to save money over the next few months until a new lieutenant governor is appointed.
Scott has repeatedly said that he will not focus on finding a replacement until after the annual legislative session ends in early May.
Melissa Sellers also said that the decision to shut down the office is recognition that the new lieutenant governor would determine whom to hire.
The Scott administration says it will try to find “other opportunities'' for the departing employees "to serve in state government where their experience and background make them a good fit.''
The lieutenant governor's office budget is nearly $510,000 according to Scott's budget office. That includes the nearly $125,000 annual salary paid to the lieutenant governor. Carroll's chief of staff – John Konkus – has an annual salary of $100,000.
Carroll abruptly resigned after authorities questioned her about consulting work she did for Allied Veterans of the World before she was elected lieutenant governor. Allied is accused of running a $290 million illegal gambling business that directed most of the proceeds into its owners' pockets. Nearly 60 people have been arrested so far.
The scandal led Florida lawmaker to move ahead with legislation to ban the storefront operations known as Internet cafes that were operated by Allied and its affiliates.
Florida politicians and the state's political parties are also rushing to return money that they received from Allied and key players involved in the scandal.
Both Scott and the Republican Party of Florida have already announced plans to donate money to charity that equals the amount received from those associated with the scandal.
Florida Democrats on Monday handed out checks to several veteran groups located in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
They say that they've identified that Allied and its associates donated $272,000 to Democratic campaigns.
Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, called the allegations "infuriating'' and said Democrats would not have not accepted any money if they had known about Allied activities.
Democrats handed out checks to two American Legion posts, two Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and a Jewish War Veterans post.
*Pictured above is former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.