Everybody is getting their collective jimmies rustled over the allegations that Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was caught having a lesbian liaison with aide Bibi Ramos and then fired Carletha Cole, the woman who discovered them. Everyone's honed in on the lady-on-lady action, but there are way, way shadier things going on than scandalous allegations of cunnilingus. Here are five(ish) questions that are way more interesting than "does the lieutenant gov like the ladies?"
1. Why wasn't the trash can fire investigated better?
Cole says a small fire started in her office trash can is evidence Carroll and Ramos had it out for her after she discovered the alleged saucy-time goings-on. Ramos admitted to "accidentally" starting the fire by throwing away a cigar in Cole's trash can.
Documents show the Florida Department of Law Enforcement "investigated" but destroyed the evidence the same day it was received, according to the Miami Herald. Cole's lawyer also brought forth a document that looks to be signed by Carroll that recommends that particular investigator for a better job. It was dated the day after the investigation closed.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal has declined to investigate further, and the FDLE released a statement that said "absent any other evidence or suspicious circumstances we found her (Ramos) statement credible."
No "suspicious circumstances"? Hmmm. That sounds marginally shady and gets worse when you find out Cole says the FDLE didn't interview any witnesses. (It's a claim the FDLE denies.)
In any case, there was a fire in the Capitol that was dispatched with alarming speed by taking the word of the admitted fire-starter. Which brings us to question number two...
2. Why does Bibi Ramos throw away cigars like a weirdo?
Ramos says she was given a cigar as part of a St. Patrick's Day celebration about a block from the Capitol. After taking a few puffs, she says she put it out, wrapped it in a paper towel, walked into the Capitol, and threw it away -- with the burnt match -- in someone else's trash can, making her in all likelihood the first person to ever dispose of a cigar in such a bizarre way.
First of all, who's giving out paper towels in the middle of the road? That's probably easy to explain, though. More curious questions: She saved the match? Really? Also, who takes a just-extinguished cigar into the Capitol? Cigars smell strongly, and burnt cigars smell strongly of a human butt. Why throw it away in an office? Didn't she pass, according to the Palm Beach Post, five trash cans and an ashtray before going back inside?
3. Was Rick Scott really using wires to spy on the lieutenant governor's office?
How is this not a huge deal? The main thing people are pointing to in order to discredit Cole is that she's facing third-degree felony charges for allegedly distributing a tape of Cole and Carroll's chief of staff talking about bad blood between Gov. Rick Scott's office and Carroll's. Cole says the recording was made by the chief of staff with a pen that could record audio, and her lawyer says the governor's office instructed staffers to "covertly record communications within the Lieutenant Governor's Office."
They're spying on each other now? Cole, apparently looking out for the entertainment of everyone watching this stuff, also declined a plea deal in the case, which means this trial could be even more interesting than Jim Greer's.
4. If Carroll wasn't in a "compromising position," why is she having such a hard time saying so?
Here's what Carroll said when asked about all this stuff by WTSP:
The problem is that when you have these accusations that come out, it's not just one person you're attacking. It's an entire family. My husband doesn't want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am. I mean, my kids know the type of woman I am. For 29 years -- I'm the one that's married for 29 years. The accuser is the one that's been single for a long time. So usually black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that.
That's the whole thing, except that there's no real way to transcribe that she laughed wildly after she said it. Also, what on Earth does any of that mean? What does it matter if Cole is single? "Look like me"? "Black"? It makes about as much sense as the time she compared the media to "dictators and socialist rulers" for not loving Jesus and, uh, liking The Da Vinci Code.
5. What about the lie detector test?
According to the magical computerized truth-testing machines up in Tallahassee, Cole "was administered a polygraph examination for the purpose of establishing validity of MS. Coles' contention that she (Cole) walked into Lt. Governors Jennifer Carroll's office and observed the Lt. Governor sitting at her desk with her foot up on the cadenza [sic] and her skirt hiked up. Beatrice Ramos was kneeling in front of Carroll, poised as if she (Ramos) was about to or had performed oral sex on the Lt. Governor." Oh heavens. Wipe the sweat from your brow, you pervert, and focus on the facts: According to documents obtained by Mother Jones, Cole passed the polygraph. They found she was telling the truth "about seeing the Lt. Governor and Ramos engaged in a sexually compromising position." What does it mean for the investigation? What does it mean for the cleanliness of the Capitol office chairs? And what does it mean for Carroll, who won't be taking a polygraph of her own, according to WCTV?
If what Cole is saying about the office encounter with Ramos is true, everything else about the subsequent investigations is called into question. And if Carroll is covering up the affair, what else is she hiding, and how far did she go to hide it? Maybe this is all just Cole arranging an elaborate ploy to get out of jail time for that recording. But with all these questions, it's clear the scandal is far from over.
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