Ex-Fla. GOP chair Jim Greer under investigation

— Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer is under criminal investigation after an audit found he awarded himself and his executive director a fundraising contract that paid them about $200,000, the party revealed Wednesday.

Greer owned a 60 percent share of a corporation set up to raise money for the party. Executive director Delmar Johnson owned the other 40 percent of the corporation, which received a 10 percent commission on money raised for the party, the audit found.

Party Chairman John Thrasher released a statement saying he was told March 15 that the party may have been the victim of illegal activity after the audit discovered Greer and Johnson's role in the corporation. Thrasher reported the findings to the attorney general's office, which referred the case to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

"Potential illegal activity on the part of this vendor and the former RPOF official involved is now the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. Due to the nature of the criminal investigation, the Republican Party of Florida will not be able to comment further," Thrasher said.

Greer's attorney, Gregory R. Miller, said Thrasher's statements and actions against his client are without merit. He called them the continuation of a political vendetta intended to conceal the actions of others and blame Greer for the conduct of elected officials.

"Mr. Thrasher's accusations are a heavy-handed attempt to avoid the Party's formally documented financial and legal obligation to Mr. Greer, who has not committed any criminal activity and looks forward to cooperating fully with any investigation," Miller said in a statement.

Greer was Gov. Charlie Crist's hand-picked chairman. Greer resigned under pressure in February after reports of lavish spending on private jets, decadent meals and entertainment. For months, party activists and major donors called for his resignation, but Crist defended him through the day he resigned.

Crist's Senate campaign didn't immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. A message left on Crist's cell phone wasn't immediately returned.

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