Former Republican Party Chair Jim Greer expanded his lawsuit against the state party Tuesday to include Senate President Mike Haridopolos just days after taking a sworn statement from Haridopolos.
The original lawsuit named the party and former Chairman John Thrasher in a bid to collect $5-million in damages. Greer claims the party cheated him out of $123,000 in severance pay after he resigned in January 2010.
On his way out, party leaders signed a secret severance agreement pledging to pay Greer, but denied there was an agreement after he actually resigned. Greer says the party later sent political consultants Pat Bainter and Marc Reichelderfer to offer him $200,000 in “hush money’’ if he would forgo making a claim against the party.
Damon Chase, the Orlando lawyer who represents Greer, said Haridopolos was added after he testified that he did nothing to enforce the severance agreement despite a clause that required it.
Haridopolos could not be reached for comment. Spokeswoman Lindsey Cruley said, ''The president is aware that he has been added to this civil suit, but beyond that has no additional details at this point. ''
Greer has also been charged with money laundering and fraud by the Statewide Grand Jury and awaits trial sometime next year. The criminal charges involve Victory Strategies, a company Greer set up to handle fundraising for the party. Thrasher, Haridopolos and other party leaders say they were unaware of Greer’s personal involvement in the company but Greer insists party leaders knew about the company.
Greer says the party’s actions against leave him unable to find a job and care for his family. He says party leaders went after him because he supported then Gov. Charlie Crist in a race for the U.S. Senate. Crist left the GOP to run as an independent and lost to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in 2010.
The civil suit is pending in Seminole County but lawyers for the party have asked the presiding judge to transfer the case to Tallahassee where the party is headquartered.
Lucy Morgan, Times Senior Correspondent