August 17th, 2010
04:40 PM ET
13 years ago

Greene threatens Florida newspapers with lawsuit


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" Florida Senate candidate Jeff Greene says he'll sue two Florida newspapers if they don't retract three stories they've published about him."](CNN) - Florida Senate candidate Jeff Greene is a billionaire real estate investor who has spent millions to fund his primary campaign against fellow Democrat, Rep. Kendrick Meek. Now, one week before Florida's primary elections, Greene is preparing to spend his money on a lawsuit against two Florida newspapers if they don't publish lengthy retractions to damning articles they recently published about him.

Greene's lawyer has demanded the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald publish the retractions to correct three articles the newspapers published earlier this month. The articles were written by St. Petersburg Times reporters and were first printed by the Tampa-area newspaper. The Miami Herald printed the articles shortly thereafter. The papers have a working partnership and often share resources to cover state news.

Times editor Neil Brown said last week that no retraction is forthcoming, and Greene is expected to follow through, potentially as early as Friday.

In one of the stories, first published on August 8, the Times reported that in 2006, Greene had sold California property to Delbert McConville, who is now in jail facing conspiracy and money laundering charges. Greene admits to selling McConville 300 condos, but insists that his connection to McConville ends there and that he was not a party to the dealings McConville engaged in that led him to jail.

In another story, The Times linked comments Mike Tyson made to Sports Illustrated in an interview published on July 28 to time the boxer spent aboard Greene's 145-foot yacht, describing the activity on the yacht as lavish, and teeming with naked, drunken parties. Greene denies those claims.

In an August 16 letter to Miami Herald executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal, attorney L. Lin Wood, said the stories are "replete with false, misleading and defamatory statements of fact concerning Mr. Greene."

Wood sent a similar letter to the top editors at the Times on August 11.

Both papers have endorsed Meek in the Democratic primary.

Greene is threatening to open his wallet wide to wage this legal fight.

"It will be a substantial lawsuit, because I am a high net-worth individual who does earn a lot of money," Greene said at a press conference last week that was recorded by the Miami Herald, "and if my reputation is damaged, the St. Petersburg Times will be held accountable."

According to Greene's campaign, the candidate provided the Times reporters with more than 70 pages of documents and spoke on the record for the articles.

Brown defended his paper's work.

"The Times' coverage of Mr. Greene and his business transactions has been thorough and fair, and the reporting is well-documented in public records," Brown said in a statement published on The Times' political blog. "Our story is accurate, balanced and we stand by it."

"Mr. Greene is welcome to submit a letter to the editor if he wishes to take further exception," Brown added.

Tyson–who is a close friend to Green and was best man at his 2007 wedding–spent a month aboard Greene's yacht, Summerwind, during the summer of 2005. In the Sports Illustrated article, Tyson describes a wild time in his life, receiving "a big rock of cocaine" and picking up "naked girls" during his European travels. But Tyson does not mention Greene's name, and the candidate told the Times that he didn't see or take any drugs and that "Summerwind has a zero tolerance for drugs or any illegal activity."

Sports Illustrated declined CNN's request for comment.

With no indication that either paper plans on printing a retraction, Greene can move forward on a joint lawsuit against both papers as early as this Friday. An aide to Greene told CNN that this is no political bluff and that "recklessly disregarding the truth is actionable and Jeff plans to take action."

Florida's primary elections will be held August 24.

Filed under: 2010 • Florida • Jeff Greene
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Kalik

    I rather have Newt, Sarah and Pat representing the USA over Al Shaprton, Jessie Jackson and Barack Obama any day.

    August 17, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Nando

    This guy is a Phoney and we Democrats in Florida are not going to be fooled by some Reagan Republican which he was when he lived in California and switched his Party when he was making millions on hard working people losing their homes. Voted for Rep. Meek yesterday and so will the Dems in Florida .

    August 17, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. carlos

    this greene is as corrupt as they come.....and he WAS A REPULSIVE, or probably still is.....fits the mold

    August 17, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. SF Tommy

    Another rich dude thinking he his money buys out the Bill of Rights for everyone else.

    Mr. Greene don't be whiny!

    If you don't have the stomach for politics or your personal actions being subjected to the public eye, then Mr. Greene should go home and count his pennies in private and stop embarrassing yourself or, God forbid, embarrassing America with another congressman of your caliber.

    August 17, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    Are those stories true or fabricated? Maybe we could sue Fox News and their affiliate media outlets for spreading trash and causing a ruccus in USA politics. Let's see...lots and lots and lots of posibilities here. Gotta read those articles in those newspapers. Must be pretty good.

    August 17, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. 8 Years of having a drunken driver at the wheel put America in the ditch, why would working Americans return the keys to the crowd drinking at the same bar?

    He admits he sold the 300 condos and unless his BFF is trying to ruin his political career, sounds like no retraction is needed.

    August 17, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Naqib

    Awwwww.... Dems and their Lawyers... some things never change

    August 17, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    One word: Plant.

    August 17, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. lil

    He is not a democrate he is a republican in sheep clothes.

    August 17, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. hobart

    Hey Jeff, Did it ever occur to you that they do have the proof, and are waiting for you to really step in it before the publish more of it?

    August 17, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. Peter

    Well Kalik, I guess you'll never see that day. You're an idiot...

    August 17, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. Mike Hunt

    Kalik: Newt, Sarah and Pat already represent every inbred gun toting fascist moron in the US now? Spit out your skoal and get with it man!

    August 17, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. reef133

    Oh my God rethuglican tactics strike again – these _jerks want to just push their $$$ weight around using trail lawyers to game the system. How about transparency sir? How about truth? How about you just go away – oh, you will after beating McCollum becuase you won't win. bye bye looser!

    August 17, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. Len


    That is the way racist think

    August 17, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. Lori in St Pete

    green looks like a bully. He won't get my vote.

    August 17, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. Amazed!!

    I think Mr Greene doth protest too much!! If he would shut his mouth no one would read the articles, but with him whinning so loud everybody and their brother is going to be reading the damn articles to see what he's trying to hide with his billions.

    Some times it's just better to shut up and crawl under a rock.

    August 17, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. Shibumi

    Love it when the Dimbos eat their own.
    Bring on November!!!!!

    August 17, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. Proud member of Global Zero

    Living in Florida, I will not be voting for Greene. Meeks already got my vote in the Primary. The fall elections may be different. I will vote for the person that keeps Rubio out of the Senate.

    August 17, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  19. Kathleen

    He wouldn't win anyway.

    August 17, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. Kathleen

    Hey, and where is the "free speech"? From what i hear on Fox News, you can say and do whatever the hell you want!!!!! Can he sue because he is a millionaire? Can he win because he is a millionaire!
    I would vote for a Republican or a millionaire.

    August 17, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Kathleen

    I meant I WOULDN't vote for a Republican or a Millionaire. NO SIR!

    August 17, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  22. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Another rich dude buying his way into power. Just like Mitt Romney!

    August 17, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  23. borisjimbo

    Has Greene specified what those falsehoods are and what the actual facts were in any verifiable manner? If not he's blowing smoke.

    August 17, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. aliou in Jacksonville, FL

    yeah. Greene makes me sick. all these negative Meek this and Meek that have completely turned me off.

    August 17, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  25. Riley

    Let that democrat spend spend spend his money. I love the way he wastes $$$. It's gotta be good for our economy.

    August 17, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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