At the core of the criminal fraud charges against former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer is the idea that he had a secret fundraising contract that the rest of the party didn't know about. RPOF leaders said they were outraged, that it amounted to theft.
Greer's lawyer, Damon Chase, said his client did no wrong and that the there was nothing odd about the secret fundraising contract with Victory Strategies because the Republican Party of Florida operates in secrecy.
As evidence, Chase points to a secret severance agreement to pay Greer $124,000 to make him go away. But to prevent payment, Chase alleges, the Republicans who control the state power structure had him investigated and indicted by state authorities. One Republican, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, lied about signing the agreement.
Now Chase has second piece of evidence that, he says, shows the secrecy of RPOF and how it spends money: A Sept. 15, 2011 confidential document to discuss a potential settlement signed by the party. Download Confidential Settlement Agreement 2011-09-15.
Party loyalists say Greer initiated the settlement, however, and that Chase has essentially set them up.
Party attorney Steve Dobson wouldn't go that far: "I don’t want to get into specifics. But the Republican Party of Florida has never made any offer to pay Jim Greer any money. Not one dollar and not one red cent. It’s important to remember that only one person in this lawsuit has been arrested and charged with six felony counts and that’s Jim Greer."
It shows that, Number one: Jim Greer’s being accused of entering into a secret agreement. The agreement he entered into is like all other agreements with the party. It is confidential. The Victory Strategies contract was nothing special. If you took a random juror, it looks suspicious. It looks bad. It says secret. It says confidential. Except that’s how the Republican Party did business before, during and after Jim Greer. That's how they do business now.
Number 2: Why would they want to settle if they thought he committed a crime? They’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend a $124,000 lawsuit. It’s like a little kid who keeps lying. Everyone of them lied. The theory of our defense is no crimes were committed. The only reason the state of Florida is spending millions to try to convict Jim Greer over $60,000 – a chief justice signing a warrant and indict him – is that RPOF was pulling the strings. At that time Attorney General Bill McCollum was distancing himself. Bill McCollum was the presumptive nominee for the party for governor before Rick Scott came along. The state has never made a plea over what amounts to a contract dispute. They want him to do 60 years in prison for $60,000 that he didn’t even steal. He’s not going to plea to anything. We will prevail in the criminal trial and then the civil trial.