By Chris Ingram
The Tampa Tribune
Published Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The fact that Jim Greer pleaded guilty Monday to grand theft and money laundering (a fraud charge was dropped), has the Republican Party of Florida and many current and former elected Republicans, as well as former Gov. Charlie Crist (who is now a Democrat) breathing a sigh of relief.
Whether those officials had anything to worry about or not, we may never know. But they are doubtlessly happy that Greer’s trial — which was bound to have a circus-like atmosphere — will not take place. Had the trial occurred, Greer — the former party chairman whose oversized frame competed with his oversized ego — had promised lots of dirt on a who’s who of Florida politics, including Crist, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former Republican Party of Florida Chairman John Thrasher, former Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Will Weatherford.
The subject matter during the trial was certain to include Greer’s claims that party leaders were aware of all his dealings and gave their blessings, as well as a rehash of the spending habits of party leaders on its American Express cards — which included improper spending by former House Speaker Marco Rubio, now a U.S. senator. Additionally, testimony was expected about a party fund-raiser in the Bahamas in 2008 that included prostitutes — this, according to Delmar Johnson, the party’s former executive director under Greer, turned state’s star witness.
The fact that Greer pleaded guilty to four serious charges not only gives cover to those alleged by Greer to have had knowledge of his scheme, it saves the RPOF a lot more embarrassment. The guilty pleas also affect Greer’s civil trial against the RPOF. In that case, Greer had accused the party of reneging on a promise of $130,000 in compensation when he agreed to resign his post as party chairman in 2010. Greer had produced what amounted to a severance document that appeared to have been signed by Haridopolos and Thrasher. Before Greer released the document, both men had denied signing it.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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