Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer Arrested-Best Buddy, Charlie Crist, "Disappointed" UPDATED

From Daniel Foster at The Corner:

Federal authorities today arrested Jim Greer, a close Charlie Crist ally and the governor's hand-picked choice to run the Florida Republican Party. No word yet on charges.
As it turns out, Greer is looking at six felonies for fraud, an attempt to defraud and money laundering.  Bail has been set at $105,000.  Well, birds of a feather and all that-this doesn't look good for Good Time Charlie.

Pat at And So it Goes in Shreveport has all the details.


Via TBO.Com:

The affidavit gives this account:

Johnson rose from Greer's travel aide to head of the party's Orlando office, to deputy executive director and finally, to executive director, a position that Greer said would include fundraising. Johnson told investigators that Greer told him they would take 10 percent of all major donor money raised and split it and that he would have lawyers set up a company for them "for tax purposes."

Johnson said he was told "not to disclose Mr. Greer's involvement to anyone, to take steps to hide the truth about Mr. Greer's involvement from RPOF and, if questioned, to deny Mr. Greer's interest in the company."

Under the papers drawn up, Johnson was listed as president/secretary/treasurer owning 40 percent of Victory Strategies, while Greer, who was not an officer of the company, owned 60 percent.

The financial arrangement, the affidavit says, was never submitted for approval by the RPOF attorney.

Johnson signed an agreement with the RPOF to provide fundraising services through Victory Strategies. Subpoenaed bank records show the only sources of money to Victory Strategies was from Greer and the RPOF, and the only two benefactors of the money were Greer and Johnson.

An FDLE review of Greer's personal bank records showed that he "appeared to be suffering from financial problems in 2009," with bank accounts overdrawn by $25,392 in July and $3,794 in August. His accounts in the rest of 2009 were overdrawn by an average of $10,000. The affidavit says that Greer pleaded for financial help from a Republican donor, who sent him $3,000 a month over 18 months.  (emphasis added)

According to the affidavit, the Republican party was a constant and apparently trusting source of money for Greer throughout 2009, through invoices from Victory Strategies to the RPOF. Once the party wrote a check to Victory Strategies, that company in turn wrote a check to Greer. In all, the affidavit says, the party paid more than $199,254 to Victory Strategies. Greer took more than $125,161 from his interest in Victory Strategies. Johnson was paid $65,093.

At the same time this was going on, the affidavit says, "Mr. Greer was facing additional public and RPOF scrutiny related to party spending. In what was purported by Mr. Greer to be a show of fiscal responsibility, Mr. Greer stood before the media and RPOF officials and cut up an American Express card." The card, however, was not Greer's, but that of a staff member, Johnson told investigators.
When asked earlier today if he felt responsible for Greer's actions, Charlie Crist, Greer's #1 cheerleader, said, "I do not feel complicit."  "Complicit" means that a person has knowledge of a crime but does not report it.  But according to TPM Greer allegedly tried to strong-arm a professional fundraiser for the state GOP into giving him a percent of her earnings -- and when she refused, he cut off her access to his close ally Gov. Charlie Crist.  What are the chances that Charlie was not aware of that?

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