Senate races

Former Florida GOP chairman arrested

The beleaguered former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of defrauding his party of more than $100,000.

Jim Greer was indicted on six charges of grand theft, fraud and money laundering. 

Greer stands accused of using a shell company, Victory Strategies LLC, to steal money from Republican donors to maintain his own lavish lifestyle, statewide prosecutor William Shepherd announced at a press conference.

The former chairman’s alleged scheme includes awarding RPOF contracts to Victory Strategies and asking donors to contribute directly to the company. In one instance, authorities allege, Greer  transferred $40,000 from his own reelection committee to Victory Strategies, then wrote a check from Victory Strategies to himself for $39,000 the next day.

An ally of Gov. Charlie Crist, now an independent, Greer stepped down from his post in January as the Crist-Marco Rubio GOP primary heated up (before Crist became an independent). Party insiders were angry at his support for Crist and at his heavy spending habits.

In an ironic twist, the charges against Greer stemmed from the first indictment of a special grand jury empaneled by Crist last October to investigate political corruption.

Shepherd would not comment on whether Crist had been interviewed as part of the investigation.

Asked about the Shepherd charges this afternoon, Crist said that he was “disappointed” but added the he does not “feel complicit.”

“I have faith in our judicial system,” Crist told the St. Petersburg Times. “I know they will handle it appropriately.”

— This post was updated at 12:05 p.m.

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