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Did Greene wreck the economy with credit default swaps?

Rulings%2Ftom-barelytrue Jeff Greene's personal fortune may be financing his campaign for the U.S. Senate, but it's also become the chief line of attack for his Democratic primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.

Greene -- who has three (yes, 3) personal jets and a 145-foot yacht -- manages a real estate portfolio that he says once totaled $1 billion. That's not the issue, however.

What is, Meek says, is Greene's decision to hedge those real estate investments in 2006 and 2007 by investing in a complicated financial instrument called Credit Default Swaps. The investment essentially paid out when other people's mortgages went bust, or their properties fell into foreclosure. Sensing the housing collapse, Greene admits he made hundreds of millions of dollars betting that property owners wouldn't be able to make payments on bad or risky mortgages.

The investments, while perhaps unseemly, are legal. But that hasn't stopped Meek from making an issue of them in a suddenly competitive primary. In their first debate in West Palm Beach on June 22, 2010, Meek accused Greene of hoping Floridians would lose their homes. He then charged those investments helped sink the U.S. economy.

"He is the king of the undercover Credit Default Swap that brought about the destruction of our economy that we have right now," Meek said.

That's a heavy charge -- that Greene pioneered the investment strategy that wrecked the U.S. economy. Is it right? Keep reading Politifact Florida here.