Former Florida GOP chair Jim Greer is charged with six felony counts of fraud, theft, and money laundering in connection with a company he allegedly created to take a cut of the state party’s fundraising revenues, Florida authorities announced this morning.
At a news conference moments ago, Statewide Prosecutor William Shepherd charged that the money gained by the company was “used by Mr. Greer to support his own personal lifestyle.”
The company at the center of the charges is Victory Strategies, created by Greer and Florida GOP Executive Director Delmar Johnson — and awarded a GOP contract while Greer himself was at the helm of the party. The state party said in March that an audit showed the company took 10% of money raised by the GOP, and that Greer and Johnson had personally pocketed $200,000 from the arrangement.
Johnson is cooperating with prosecutors as part of a deferred prosecution deal. He told investigators Greer instructed him to “take steps to hide the truth about Mr. Greer’s involvement from RPOF [the state GOP] and, if questioned, to deny Mr. Greer’s interest in the company.”
Greer was arrested at his home this morning.
Greer is a close ally of Gov. Charlie Crist, who is currently running for U.S. senate and who appointed Greer head of the state party back in 2007. Greer resigned as chair in January amid a wide-ranging spending scandal, well before the Victory Strategies contract came to light.
Asked on a conference call with reporters if Crist had been interviewed as part of the probe, Florida authorities declined to comment. They said he was “given a notification this morning” of the charges.
They also said that Greer cut his lip shaving this morning (see mugshot here).
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said that the investigation is ongoing but “we are not anticipating other arrests at this time.”
The arrest affidavit, via the St. Pete Times, is here.
(Additional reporting by Ben Frumin.)
Late Update: Digging into the affidavit, it appears that Greer allegedly tried to shake down a pro fundraiser by cutting off her access to Crist.