The Corner

Feds Arrest Crist’s Man in the Florida GOP

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.

UPDATE:The Orlando Sentinel has the scoop on the charges against Greer, with a reliable source saying they will include four counts of grand theft, one count of attempt to defraud and one count of money laundering. Bail has been set at $105,000.

Meanwhile, Crist tells reporters that he is “disappointed” by the news but does not “feel complicit” with Greer’s actions as head of the state Republican Party.

Gov. Charlie Crist didn’t have a lot to say about the arrest of Jim Greer when asked this morning at a press conference dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Crist, answering a question from a reporter, said he was “disappointed” by the news.

“I have faith in our judicial system,” Crist said. “I know they will handle it appropriately.”

A second question seemed to center around whether Crist felt responsible for Greer’s actions as head of the Republican Party of Florida. Crist answered: “I do not feel complicit.”

UPDATE II: More from the Sentinel outlining the case against Greer:

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.

A statewide grand jury indicted Greer on six felony charges: organized scheme to defraud, money laundering, and four counts of grand theft.

Greer was forced to resign in January amid allegations of extravagant overspending.

Since then, he’s become the subject of a criminal investigation for income he earned from Victory Strategies LLC, a fund-raising company that kept 10 percent of all major donations it raised for the party. Greer owned a 60-percent stake of the company.

Shepherd also said Greer sent e-mails directing additional party funds to Victory Strategies, “per the chairman.” He did not specify how much.

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.


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