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Greer received $125,000 through secret party contract

Florida GOP officials said Tuesday that former party Chairman Jim Greer received $125,000 through Victory Strategies, the shell company he owned that siphoned party donations through a secret contract with then-executive director Delmar Johnson.

Jason Gonzalez, the party's general counsel, said officials discovered the information recently amid the ongoing internal audit into Greer's management of the party, which ended with his ouster in January. Victory Strategies received a total of $200,000 from the party and the clandestine contract spurred a criminal investigation. Greer countered with a civil suit, alleging the party failed to honor a severance agreement.

Greer contends the party knew about the Victory Strategies arrangement and the party initially deemed the contract invalid because Greer never signed it. But party officials said the legal strategy is shifting to suggest the severance is void because Greer defrauded the party.

The battle between Greer and the Republican Party of Florida now involves three former U.S. attorneys. The party hired Ken Sukhia, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, to defend the civil lawsuit Greer filed against the party.

Greer hired Lake Mary lawyer Damon Chase to represent him in the civil lawsuit but retained  two former U.S. attorneys, Greg Miller of Tallahassee and Marcos Jimenez of Miami, in the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by state and federal authorities.

Greer’s lawyers have questioned the continuing involvement of Attorney General Bill McCollum in the criminal case. McCollum referred questions about the contract to the FDLE and the statewide prosecutor, agencies that report to him.

”I just don’t understand how he can stay in this,’’ Miller said Wednesday. “He’s going to be a witness in the case. You can’t be a witness and remain in it. It’s shocking.’’

McCollum still refuses to recuse himself.

-- John Frank and Lucy Morgan