...But behind the bio soundbites and chipper TV ads lies a man widely disparaged by current and former employees, former tenants and political consultants as a self-absorbed cheapskate. A lawsuit accuses him of being cruel and verbally abusive to his former chef. A deckhand shocked on Greene's Summerwind yacht had to fight eight months to get his medical bills paid after Greene denied knowing him....Jeff Greene made his money by praying every day that someone would lose their home. He treats his employees like indentured servants and if you can judge a man by the company he keeps, and I think you can, Greene likes to pal around with George Soros, Paris Hilton, Mike Tyson (who served as best man at Greene's wedding) and Heidi Fleiss. Fleiss, hooker to the well heeled, lived with Greene after her little stint in prison.
..."If he plans on running his country like his yacht, we're all going to be sinking," said John Walenczyk, a Summerwind deckhand....
The buzz among Greene employees is that if the Asian or European markets have done poorly overnight, it's going to be a rough morning because Greene, a screamer, is up all hours monitoring his vast portfolio.
James Battles, Greene's former personal chef, sued him last year. The suit alleges Greene demanded round-the-clock attention and would berate and humiliate Battles when he sought reimbursement for food paid for out of his own pocket.
Battles said Greene fired him after he was hospitalized for exhaustion before one of Greene's parties. The settlement is confidential and Greene declined to discuss the case.
Former and current employees tell similar stories, though most fear talking publicly.
Adam Lambert worked as captain of Greene's 145-foot yacht, Summerwind, earlier this year.
"He has total disregard for anybody else,'' chuckled Lambert, who said he was Greene's 20th and 22nd Summerwind captain (No. 21 quit after a few hours with Greene).
"I don't think I ever once had an actual conversation with him. It was always, 'I should just get rid of you, what f------ good are you? You're just a f------ boat driver. You're the third-highest paid employee in my corporation and I should just get rid of you,' '' Lambert, 43, recalled by phone from a yacht in Croatia. "It didn't bother me. I just felt sorry for the man. He doesn't seem very happy."
Harlan Hoffman, 37, was in a Fort Lauderdale yachting apparel store in 2007 when he saw a help wanted ad for Summerwind.
"There were two people from Australia there who said, 'Oh, good luck with that one. . . . We're still waiting to get paid by Summerwind.' I should have listened," Hoffman said.
The deckhand was shocked while buffing Greene's yacht and wound up hospitalized.
A boat's owner is supposed to take care of on-the-job medical costs, but Hoffman said Greene — whom he never met — told the insurance company he had never heard of Hoffman and that he didn't work on Summerwind. It took eight months and legal action that included affidavits from other crew members vouching for Hoffman and trashing Greene to get his bills paid.
"This guy Jeff Greene threw tons of money into new diving gear, but the crew's basic equipment — food and supplies — he didn't want to spend any money on. Summerwind has a terrible reputation,'' Hoffman said. "Mr. Greene's yacht is known to be a party yacht. When it went to Cuba, everybody talked about the vomit caked all over the sides from all the partying going on."
Hoffman couldn't believe it a few weeks back he saw Greene's campaign ads on TV.
"He has this act on TV talking about what a good guy he is, and he's anything but. He treats his own employees like s---,'' he said. "If he can't even treat his employees good, I don't see how he's going to do good for the American people."
John Walenczyk, the Summerwind deckhand, was aboard that notorious trip to Cuba.
"He didn't want to put a dollar into anything, but expected miracles from the crew. He doesn't care about anybody but himself — a real peach,'' said Walenczyk.
Greene is a self made man with a self made reputation for being a first class jerk. Thanks to another unprincipled jerk, Charlie Crist, Greene could be the next senator from Florida. If that isn't reason enough for any remaining fence sitters to jump down and back Marco Rubio, I don't know what is.