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Is the Florida GOP hiding info in Jim Greer case?

Lawyers for the Republican Party of Florida are trying to limit testimony from a party accountant in a Seminole County lawsuit filed by former Chairman Jim Greer. The GOP wants to restrict questions that can be asked of Richard Swarttz, the accountant who signed checks for Victory Strategies, a company Greer formed when he took over party fundraising.

The company is at the heart of criminal charges brought against Greer in Orange County. Statewide prosecutors contend that Greer used the company to bilk the party out of more than $125,000. Greer faces trial July 30 on the criminal charges but has filed a civil suit against the party alleging that party leaders welched on a severance agreement that would have paid him more than $123,000 to resign in 2010. Swarttz has been subpoenaed to testify on January 13.

"Not only are they seeking a protective order for Swarttz, who is the one who wrote all the checks to (former executive director Delmar Johnson), without ever seeking my approval and also paid for his house and many other expenses without even inquiring from me if I even knew about it, which I didn't," Greer said. "They also say they are now going to seek a protective order for Jason Gonzalez, which is unbelievable as he is one of the Parties that was aware of Victory Strategies and signed the severance agreement.  Lastly, they also filed a motion objecting to all of our discovery requests, including other fundraising agreements that were similar to Victory Strategies, emails in which I questioned the House and Senate spending practices, along with reprimanding Delmar and Swarttz for not providing me accurate financial information regarding the financial condition of the Party."

Party lawyers Steven Andrews and Stephen Dobson say the party has not waived its right to keep accounting matters confidential and are asking the court to block most questions relating to Greer and the party. Swarttz should only be allowed to respond to questions about the checks he wrote to Victory Strategies.

"This becomes more bizarre every day as persons who can substantiate the Party's knowledge of Victory Strategies, drew up and signed the agreement, the Party now wants to protect from giving depositions.," Greer said in an email. "You see it is no longer about the $124K that keeps being mentioned, it's about the other provisions of the severance agreement which they violated and for which we are seeking punitive damages, i.e., acknowledging that all expenditures were appropriate and then ordering an audit that questions and criticizes both Gov. Crist and I without looking at anyone else, along with other requirements they were bound to that they flagrantly violated."

Lucy Morgan