By Bill Cotterell
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll abruptly resigned because an Internet cafe company she once consulted for has been linked to illegal gambling, state officials said on Wednesday.
Carroll sent a brief note to Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday tendering her resignation and saying, "It has been an honor to have served the State of Florida in this capacity."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) scheduled an afternoon news conference in Orlando to discuss an investigation involving Allied Veterans of the World, a nonprofit organization that runs Internet cafes.
Carroll once owned a public relations firm that represented the organization and worked for the group during some of the seven years she served in the Florida House of Representatives.
The governor's chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, said arrests were made on Tuesday in connection with racketeering and money laundering charges involving Allied Veterans of the World.
He said Carroll had been interviewed by the FDLE regarding her work with the firm and had 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. She made the right decision for the state and her family."
Carroll, a Republican, was the highest-ranking woman in state government and the first black official elected statewide.
She took office as lieutenant governor in January 2009 and focused on aerospace job development and working with military contractors to increase economic activity of the armed forces in Florida.
She is a former Navy officer and previously was executive director of Florida's Department of Veterans Affairs.
Internet cafes, which normally sell online access, have been controversial for several years. Many sheriffs and state legislators have tried to eliminate them, calling them fronts for casino gambling.
(Writing by Jane Sutton,; editing by John Wallace)
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