Jim Greer has chest pains and he's bleeding out of his rectum. Is that TMI?
Probably, but that's not the kind of TMI that's likely got the higher ups in the Republican Party of Florida feeling squeamish this month. Greer, former chairman of the party, filed a civil suit against the Republican Party of Florida, Sen. President Mike Haridopolos and the party chair who succeeded him, state Sen. John Thrasher, seeking damages for breach of contract, among other things.
On June 26, the office of the statewide prosecutor released the complete transcript of Greer's two-day deposition in the case. Greer, in case you've been trying to deny the sordid state of politics in our fair state, is the disgraced former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida who resigned in January 2010 and was indicted on multiple felony counts of fraud, theft and money laundering just six months later. His case is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 12 (conveniently rescheduled after the general election, lucky for Mitt Romney – the Republican Party of Florida must feel like a festering albatross around his neck. See: Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's lesbian gaffe in the July 26 edition of Happytown, or Gov. Rick Scott in general). The hundreds of pages of deposition, which we pored through last week, contain plenty of material to embarrass everyone.
When the deposition first came out, a few choice quotes were broadcast all over the blogs and in the news, but more telling are the less sensational portions that paint a portrait of how the Republican Party of Florida operates – or, at least, how it operated during the heady days of former Gov. Charlie Crist.
The way Greer describes it, the Republican Party of Florida was run like the mob. The mob boss (Crist) told his underboss (in this case, George LeMieux when he was Crist's chief of staff) what needed to get done, and he communicated the job to the capo (Greer), who set up the money-making racket, kept a portion for himself, then sent the rest up the chain to the family. Soldiers who answered to the capo helped implement the schemes and worked with associates to keep the money flowing and the crime party – erm, we mean crime family – fat and happy.
According to Greer's testimony, Crist and LeMieux were the ones who encouraged him to incorporate a consulting firm that raised money for the party and paid commissions to its principals. LeMieux, he says, told Greer who to talk to get the plan up and running – the soldiers and associates quickly fell in line.
Greer claims he was naively following the boss' orders when he incorporated Victory Strategies LLC as the fundraising organization for the party without telling anyone that he was a 60 percent owner of the entity and profiting from the commissions. When he finally resigned from his role as Republican Party of Florida chair, he says, there were all sorts of problems not just related to fundraising: the party was in a shambles, the leaders didn't see eye-to-eye, and the other capos – Haridopolos, for instance, and Greer's RPOF successor, Thrasher, who resigned after less than a year on the job – threw him under the bus to avoid having to pay him an agreed-upon $123,000 severance.
Whether that's actually true or not will play out in the civil and criminal court cases surrounding Greer, but in the meantime, the angry former chair is throwing as many of his former colleagues under the bus as he can. Below are a few choice selections from Greer's deposition in the Haridopolos case: "I hear a lot of Republicans these days saying Governor Scott's interests are not in the best interest of the Republican Party, but I still see commercials on TV paid by the Republican Party praising Governor Scott."
"Around the Party most people considered President Haridopolos to be not the brightest person."
"They were talking about keeping blacks from voting. Having the Party pay for those amendments, those constitutional amendments. Then having taxpayers pay to fund the defenses. It was a very hectic day. … I think we came from my conference room into my office, because there was a meeting in the conference room where the House and Senate were trying to find a way to have the taxpayers pay for opposing those constitutional amendments, because they didn't want, they wanted to find ways to restrict voters from voting."
"I just felt it was best for the Republican Party for me to resign, let someone else take over. The Governor [Charlie Crist] told me not to do it. He said, you have to go out in a body bag. He told me a week before, a week before I resigned he said, you have to go out in a body bag. You are the last Marine at the gate, and you cannot do it."
"The ultimate cause of my resignation and my decision was the Governor [Crist] had abandoned his responsibility to raise money for the Party. ... One time he – I told him we have to get back to raising money for the Party. He told me to fuck the Party. They were a bunch of crazies. And they did nothing to win elections."
"The Tea Party came into existence. There was a feeling within the Party that the Tea Party was just a bunch of whack-a-dos, as they were called."
"You can look at my schedule to see when I met with Kirk Pepper and Jim Rimes, which was the day that they talked about not letting blacks vote, crawling out from under rocks, and minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party."
"It was RPOF's position from legislators, to other people within the Party, that the general public has no right to know anything that goes on within RPOF. And they made that clear to me every time it was raised."
"The Governor said [RPOF professional fundraiser Meredith O'Rourke] bothered him all the time. He didn't want to have to deal with her. He called her a crazy bitch. He called me on several occasions and told me to stop letting that crazy bitch call him."
"[O'Rourke] had a reputation even prior to becoming the RPOF fundraiser of interfering and hindering other fundraisers from being successful. The only reason that this $5,000 was offered to her, knowing she would not perform any services for it, nor did she, was the Governor directed, Charlie directed, that we pay her $5,000 a month to keep the bitch's mouth shut."
"In the latter part of 2009 the Party was in an uproar. I was having to remove people for racist comments and racist emails. … The Party was attacking itself internally."
"And any good thing I ever did at the Republican Party – and I worked very hard to be a good Republican Party, and I worked very hard to be a good Chairman – has been destroyed by these people. I think they'd just as well be happy if I'd put a bullet in my brain two years ago so they didn't have to deal with it."
"My family is on food stamps. I was a successful businessman. And I worked very hard at that job. And I may have made some mistakes, things I would do over, but I didn't deserve this."
So there you have it. Jim Greer may be going down, but it looks like he's going to do his best to make sure that the guys who put him here are going down with him.
Can you blame him? The guy's bleeding out of his rectum and it's all the Republican Party's fault.
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