Washington (CNN) – Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer was arrested Wednesday and charged with six felony counts stemming from a grand jury investigation into his activities while serving as state party leader.
Greer, 47, faces one count of organized fraud, four counts of grand theft and one count of money laundering, Statewide Prosecutor Bill Shepherd announced at a late morning press conference. He faces up to 90 years in jail if convicted on all counts.
Greer is a political ally of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and contemplated running for chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009.
Prosecutors charge that Greer steered $199,254 in state party money to a company, Victory Strategies, LLC, that he set up with former state Republican Party Executive Director Delmar Johnson. According to prosecutors, "Greer was paid $125,161" of the fees Victory Strategies collected from the state party. Prosecutors also said that Victory was given "a large amount for services that were never performed" by the company.
"The indictment and the affidavit allege that Mr. Greer developed a scheme to take money from the Republican Party of Florida through a shell company that he created called Victory Strategies," Shepherd said at the news conference. "He created that company to actively hide his own involvement."
According to Florida law enforcement officials, Victory Strategies received 10 percent of all major donations to the RPOF, as well as over $60,000 from GOP state party coffers at Greer's direction. And $40,000 more came from a 527 account designed to help Greer win re-election as state party chairman.
Prosecutors allege that a substantial amount of those funds then flowed directly to Greer.
Greer was appointed Florida GOP chairman in 2007 by Crist. But in February of this year, Greer left his post after a chorus of state Republican leaders and donors raised questions about his leadership and management of party funds.
Crist said news of Greer's arrest was "obviously disappointing and surprising," when asked about it Wednesday during a press conference about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I have faith in our judicial system," Crist said. "I know they will handle it appropriately."
According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, search warrants were executed Tuesday at Greer's home in Oviedo and two unspecified banking institutions. He was arrested at his home Wednesday morning in Oviedo, Florida and is currently being held at the John Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford. His bond has been set at $105,000.
Specifically, Greer is charged with three third-degree felonies, each carrying a maximum sentence of five years, a second-degree felony that carries a maximum of 15 years, as well as two first-degree felony counts that under Florida law carry a maximum sentence of 30 years each.
Questions about Greer were first raised last fall after grassroots leaders revolted against his management of the party – a movement that ultimately resulted in his resignation as chairman.
And in March, an independent annual audit of state GOP expenses revealed that the party "may have been the victim of illegal criminal activity on the part of one of its vendors, controlled by a senior-level official," Jim Thrasher, current chairman of the party, said in a statement at that time.
That vendor was Victory, the firm set up in February 2009 by Greer and Johnson.
Within the Republican National Committee, Greer became a prominent voice urging the GOP to open its arms to moderate voters and minorities. After considering running for RNC chair, Greer threw his support to Michael Steele, a key endorsement at the time in the contested race to head the GOP.
– CNN's Peter Hamby, Mark Preston and Matt Smith contributed to this report
Hey where all all the Obama haters??? You know who you are . . .you're the ones who like to call our President a thug, a liar, a crook, etc, etc, etc. C'mon . . . crawl out from under your rocks, you hypocrites!!! Can not WAIT until they get Rubio, too!
"As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology. The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans ... is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power. " – Greer
We remember Greer for spearheading the movement to prevent America's school children from watching America's president give them a pep-talk about staying in school and working hard on their schoolwork.
Now we see that Greer is setting an example for his children and the children of Conservatives all over America. He was stealing a percentage of the donations made by God-fearing, righteous Conservatives to the Republican Party. The bright spot is that, to our knowledge, none of the money he stole was spent in strip clubs. After all, Conservatives support family values.
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Fool me a hundred times over fifty years and I must be a Republican voter.
@phoenix86 June 2nd, 2010 3:05 pm ET
Organized fraud. Greer should take good notes, Obama is going to need them.
Ha! I KNEW we could count on one of you MORONS to crawl out from under your rock and try to turn this into some kind of crap against the President!
did he further spend the donor cash on something scandalous? Is there income tax fraud too? Watch Faux News to see the story outlining the crime but purposefully mis-identifying him as a Dem. REPTILES!
Gross! Couldn't you find a better picture of him. Never mind, you probaby couldn't.
LOL :) :) :) another repugnant in hot water. You can't make this stuff up.
Crooks, Thugs, Thieves, Liars = GOP! Tell me something I don't already know, LOL!
Whos the drag queen? I think they have the wrong photo.
Oh just another republican crook. Nothing new here
I think this guy and Rubio may be in cahoots with each other.
I think the majority of Republicans are equally crooked. It is all a matter of who gets caught. Too bad this didn't come out after he was the chairman of the Republican National Committee in order to maximize the damage to the Republican Party, which, face it,. is basically a destructive internal enemy organization like the Nazi Party was in WW2.
Wingnut alert. Always follow the money. I'll bet that he's a deacon too.
Gotta love posters like Phoenix 86. Even when a Republican gets caught red handed in a criminal activity, he still tries to smear Obama. I think you have a Man-crush on the President, Phoenix. It's getting a bit icky.
Hold on there liberals! Don't get too excited . The GOP has this guy, the Dems have William Jefferson, currently in prison for CORRUPTION! The GOP has Foley, the Dems have Massa! The GOP has Sanford, the Dems have Edwards! The point is simple it is BOTH PARTIES! Not everybody but BOTH PARTIES. The GOP is silent and embarrassed when the perp is GOP. The Dems are silent and embarrassed when the perp is a Dem and both can't stop talking when the perp is a member of the opposing party! Kinda like this story!
You know that every time a crooked Democrat is exposed, there are 10 crooked Republicans waiting in line to get exposed...
...but where Democrats are caught and guilty of fibbing or an affair, Republicans always go all out with fraud, gay sex scandals in bathrooms (which we wouldn't care about except that they are so anti gay), money laundering and other hideous crimes.
I think this must all be a mistake. He was so worried about values and the demise of America that he just had many, many brain farts and lapses in judgement. It's so unusual for a Republican to turn out to be a greedy hypocrite. It just can't be.
This is just about what you'd expect form GOP, though another gay sex scandal is due very soon.
Imagine that, a republicant with felony charges. Well at least i don't have to explain those other things republicants do to my children this time.
Gee, yet another Republic crook. Nah, just give that moron Glen Beck some time and he'll be preaching how the Dem's set up this poor, misguided soul. The only good Republican is a Republican whose serviing time for being a crook.
I'm a conservative and never liked Greer. Don't need people like that in the GOP. He can go into the DNC where scandals are accepted :)
Those calling our president a "thug" are pitiful and obviously underachieving ignorants. Since when are Harvard Law School Graduates thugs? I appreciate doctoral graduates like myself.
It shows we have the intellect and honest work behind us, for which we can show records and according achievement. I also notice GOPers have frequent misspellings. The trailerparks must be far, far from schools. Ever wondered why Tea Party members are solely composed of one ethnic makeup? Think again! 50 years ago those same characters opposed integration and civil rights. Greer, please take Sarah Palin to prison with you. You two can become girlfriends.
How is that lyin' stealin' thingy workin' for ya? By the way, what did you put your lips on? Some man's genitals, like your fellow GOPer planned in the airport toilet?
What do you expect. He is a republican! :-)
Typical Republican sleaze.
Yet another example of the way the GOP works. Lie,cheat and steal and of course do nothing for the American people except put the country into financial distress and two wars with no way to pay for it. These guys would sell their mother if it meant getting reelected or get profit.