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
So let's see now if the Repukelican party will demand this criminal give the money back to the state or will he get off scot free like every other Repthug that rips governements off. Will he do real jail time or go to some GOP summer camp?
Why is this news? It's just another corrupt Republican story, there are so many these days it's like saying the sky has clouds.
Now if Sara Palin were to pick her nose, that would be news worth covering, or if Sara Palin used a 5-syllable word in correct syntax, that would be news worth headlines and at least three ticker articles on CNN. But a corrupt Republican arrested for 6 felonies? Pish.
Wow, here's a real shocker of story, a Republican caught stealing funds! Then the GOP wonder why the American people feel the way they do about politicians who lie, cheat and steal.
Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.
What do you expect, he is in a political party. Political parties should be outlawed. They only cause division and focus on negatives rather than positives. Candidates should only talk about what they can and will do, and not discuss negatives of their rivals. Abolish all political parties and get all the money out of the campaign process.
End the corruption!!!!!
Hey GI Joe,
Looks like YOU ARE THE FOOL. It was traffic related alright.... fraud, grand theft and money laundering. SWEET.
ooopsie daisy...another Republican crook gets caught? Must be Obama's fault again or some world conspiracy out to get all the paranoid old people that listen to Rush Limbaugh.
Crist.....brace yourself! They are going to wipe their muddy feet all over YOU on this one, even though you did nothing wrong. The fact that he worked for you is ALL they'll need.
We want justice, that means bring in George W Bush and Dick Cheney for their crimes.
Did you expect anything less?
Greer, 47, faces one count of organized fraud, four counts of grand theft and one count of money laundering,
Oooooh! Money laundering. Haven't seen THAT charge against a GOPer in a while.
The Totally Confused Morons (TCMs) in the state of Florida must be spinning in circles!
You idiots that like to call our President a "thug" need to ZIP IT!!!!
Yup, the party of "Compassionate Conservatism", "Family Values", "Real Americans" and especially "Christianity" keeps scoring points. Is the Republican Party dead yet?
If he's guilty, make him do the time. At the same time, perhaps those .GOV employees who were bilking .GOV while on company time should be indicted.......
Bad news for Charlie Crist. Greer was a Crist ally. Switching parties will not protect Crist from this.
More garbage behavior from the GOP.
$125,161? That's some extreme greenies!
The headline is true but misleading. This is a Crist appointment. The non-Crist GOP tossed him out. While this is stated in the third paragraph, many just read the headline.
How's that indoctrinatey thing workin' for ya? Or how 'bout that fiscally conservativey thing?
RPOF donors' funds used for personal gain. Hmm, Rubio's credit card, anyone? You betcha.
And Tea Party/GOP candidate Marco Rubio will be the next one 'charged'.
Here we go again! Republicans are cooks ! Nothing new here! I am so glad that Crist left this party! Finally, he is free to do what's right for Florida!
Let's see how the GOP will try and explain this one...should be good...see, you on the right are nothing but hypocritical devilish morons!
Thank God for the party of "family values"! I can now add embezzlement to my list of virtuous GOP values.
So now Republicans have had their donations stolen by means of fraud and alledged to have been paid to this former Party Offical. WOW Republicans really know how to move money around. They pay it to themselves and strip clubs until they get caught and then they accidentally misspent the funds in the wrong location hehehe.
Greer was a fugitive on the run so add that to his felonies.
Is there any depth to which members of 'God's Own Party' won't sink? here's a suggestion for Michael Steele. give you members a lesson on the meaning of the word 'hypocrisy.' maybe if the knew what it meant, which they've proven time and again they don't, maybe they'd stop totally embodying it. how many of them are going to have to be exposed for the scum they are before the good people of this country who have been brainwashed into supporting them see them for what they really are? wake up, people! if you're not a multimillionaire, you have no reason on earth to support these evil, lying, cheating, thieving hypocrites. they don't support you. they screw you at every opportunity and you thank them for it and vote in more of them to do you even more. get a clue!
Not at all surprising. He is a republican after all.