The Spectacle Blog

Crist-Connected Ex-GOP Chairman Arrested in Florida

By on 6.2.10 | 1:12PM

Former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer has been busted on fraud and money-laundering charges:

Greer was arrested by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents this morning at his Oviedo home about 9:15 a.m. and booked into the Seminole County jail about 45 minutes later.
At a lunchtime press conference in Orlando, Statewide Prosecutor William Shepherd said Greer developed a scheme to take money from the Republican Party through a shell company he created, Victory Strategies. He used the money for his personal expenses — at least $100,000, Shepherd said. . . .
Greer was backed for the chairmanship job in 2006 by then-Gov. elect Charlie Crist, and an Orlando Sentinel analysis of party spending found Greer dramatically increased spending and the use of American Express charge cards during his three-year tenure.
The high spending, frequent national travel, and Greer’s decision to endorse Crist in his U.S. Senate primary against Marco Rubio ultimately prompted party leaders to seek his ouster.

After he endorsed his patron Crist in May 2009 -- 15 months before the August 2010 primary -- Greer attempted to invoke "Rule 11" to allow the national GOP to fund Crist's Senate campaign, arguing that "the governor should be treated basically as an incumbent." Greer, who resigned the state party chairmanship in January, seems to have been rewarded lavishly for his loyalty:

His $465,000 home, finished in early 2006, is a showplace: 3,700 square feet, with a wine cellar, swimming pool and a two-story entry that features a sweeping, curved staircase and chandelier. He also owns two others: a $240,000 condo and $125,000 town house, both at the beach in Brevard County. He bought a plane, although he’s not a pilot. His children . . . had a live-in nanny. He drives a black Mercedes-Benz, his wife a white Lincoln Navigator.

Greer's old boss, Charlie Crist, quit the GOP and is now running as an independent, but refuses to give back Republican donations. Now, Crist has to worry about what Greer might decide to tell investigators about Crist's knowledge of Victory Strategies.

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