Crist OK’ed Greer deal, Harry Sargeant testifies

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Former Gov. Charlie Crist knew that former Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer would be compensated for helping raise money for the RPOF, the former finance chairman said in a deposition released Friday by Greer’s defense attorney.

Harry Sargeant, finance chairman of the RPOF from 2007 to 2009, said that Greer, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and Crist discussed a plan to push out a party fundraising official before deciding that Greer and former executive director Delmar Johnson should take a larger hand in fundraising. Sargeant said those involved in the discussions knew that Greer and Johnson would get extra compensation for the duties. Prosecutors have indicted Greer in connection with allegations surrounding Victory Strategies LLC, which Sargeant suggests was the vehicle for the compensation party officials discussed.

“I was surprised when Greer was charged with a crime relating to setting up a company to do fundraising for RPOF, as Greer and Mr. Johnson were acting with the knowledge and approval [of] Governor Crist,” Sargeant says in the affidavit, taken Thursday in Palm Beach County. One of Sargeant’s business associated was indicted in connection with campaign contributions and Sargeant also gave Greer money to help him through tough financial times.

Crist told reporters in mid-2010 that he wasn’t aware that Greer and Johnson had set up Victory Strategies. “Jim thought a change would be a good idea, and I said, ‘Whatever you think needs to be done, and if you need to bring in Delmar, that’s fine,’ ” Crist said at the time, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Via The News Service of Florida.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.