Republican Party chairman Jim Greer’s precipitous decline started in earnest at the kitchen table of a 76-year-old retiree in Fort Myers, Fla., shortly after Christmas. Gary A. Lee was going through his mail around lunch time in late December 2009, when he came across a white business envelope addressed to him as a member of the state Republican Party’s audit committee. There was no return address.
What Lee found in that envelope led to the 47-year-old Greer’s arrest yesterday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on charges of organized fraud, money laundering and grand theft, and has forced party officials to scramble to find out who knew what when. Political futures may rest on the answers.
The anonymous letter Lee received last December contained a two-page contract between the Republican Party of Florida, represented by Greer, and a fundraising entity called Victory Strategies, represented by Delmar Johnson, whom Greer had earlier selected as the party’s executive director. The contract was titled “A fund-raising services agreement” for the period between Feb. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010. It specified, above all, secrecy. Lee read a portion of the document during an interview with The Florida Independent: “All financial information or discussions related to these topics shall not be disclosed to any person, including major donors” and Republican party officials, “without express approval of the chairman or executive director of the Republican Party of Florida.” Victory Strategies would take 10 percent of all the money it raised.
“I looked at this and said, ‘Gee what is this all about?’” Lee recalls. Continue reading here.