The attorney for former Florida GOP chief Jim Greer is asserting that Gov. Charlie Crist personally approved a fundraising arrangement under which a Greer company got a cut of donations to the party — which is now the subject of criminal fraud charges against Greer.
The Miami Herald has the story:
“You guys work hard. You deserve it,” [Greer Attorney Damon] Chase said Greer was told by the governor as they played pool in February 2009 at a Palm Beach golf tournament. …
Chase said Greer and Crist discussed the fundraising deal at least three times last year: at the golf tournament in February, over the summer, and in the fall at the Fisher Island home of the governor’s wife.
“The governor knew about Victory Strategies from the very beginning,” Chase said. ”They all worked on it together … They saw it as a way to save money.”
Crist, now running for U.S. Senate as an Independent, flatly denies the claim, saying on CNN that “sometimes desperate people say desperate things and it’s very sad.” He also told the Herald that he believed Greer wanted to replace professional fundraiser Meredith O’Rourke with party Executive Director Delmar Johnson, but he did not know that Johnson was co-owner with Greer of the firm Victory Strategies, which got a cut of donations.
Crist said last week that he does not “feel complicit” in the charges against Greer, whom Crist picked to be party chair in 2007. Among other charges, Florida authorities allege that Greer used his control of access to Crist in an unsuccessful attempt to shake down O’Rourke, a top GOP fundraiser.