TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The investigation of a fire in the Florida State Capitol was, according to Carletha Cole's legal representation , not properly conducted. Linked to the scandal regarding the "compromising position" in which Cole allegedly found the Florida Lt. Governor and one of her staff members, Cole's attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven R. Andrews believe this could prove integral to her case. As such, an FBI investigation into the alleged arson has been demanded by Cole.
Carletha Cole, former member of Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll's staff, is demanding that a proper investigation into an alleged arson case be carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Allegedly to have targeted Cole, a fire was started in the trash can at her desk in Florida's Capitol.
Reported by Mike Prendergrast, former Chief of Staff for Governor Rick Scott, and extinguished by Carolyn Timmann, former Director of the Office of Open Government, the fire's cause was allegedly not subject to a thorough investigation. Carletha Cole's legal representation contends that, as it stands, this case is unresolved.
According to a letter written by Cole's legal representation, "This request is not made without substantial indication that there was an apparent interference with this investigation with regard to its thoroughness and duration. The failure of the responding agency to investigate the matter fully mandates that the Fire Marshal conduct an independent investigation and address the following issues of concern that have been left unresolved."
The interference to which the letter refers involves the destruction of evidence and the failure of the investigator to record witness statements. Lieutenant Angela Moore, the investigator who was assigned to the case initially, arrived on the scene after the fire had been extinguished by Timmann. She contacted Capitol Police Investigator John Hamilton. An extinguished cigar and burnt match were then found in Cole's garbage can.
Beatriz Ramos, Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll's Travel Aide, admitted to putting these items into the trash can—but she maintains that the fire was an accident. Cole's legal representation points out that this incident took place the day after Ramos and Cole had a heated argument during a staff meeting.
As alleged in court documents, Lieutenant Moore photographed the items, but Investigator Hamilton destroyed them the evening of the investigation. Furthermore, he conducted an interview with the Lt. Governor that he did not record, which is against procedures set by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He also refused Cole's request to examine her computer, which had been tampered with.
The document created by the legal team also requests that the Governor's office instruct employees to cooperate with the investigation and opt not to assert their Fifth Amendment privilege—as this particular administration is known to do.
Cole, who claims to be the victim of alleged arson and tampering, has to date been denied a proper investigation into this case according to her legal counsel. Her legal representation demands that a thorough investigation be conducted to reveal the truth behind the fire and, possibly, shed light on other aspects of the unfolding controversy at the Capitol.