Records expose payoffs to Florida's ex-GOP chairman Greer

Miami HeraldJanuary 1, 2011 

TALLAHASSEE -- Delmar Johnson, former executive director of the Florida Republican Party, was president, secretary and treasurer of Victory Strategies, which prosecutors say was a ``shell company'' created to skim off GOP contributions.

But most of the cash went to former state party chairman Jim Greer, newly-released documents show. Victory Strategies took in nearly $240,000 over nine months in 2009, according to bank statements. Of that money, $164,101 was paid to Greer in 11 checks. Johnson took $65,093 during that same time while a balance of $10,000 remained in the account as of Jan. 31, 2010.

GOP finance committee officials began questioning Greer about the company in December 2009, and he resigned as party chairman in January.

Greer was arrested in June and charged with six felony counts of theft, money laundering and orchestrating a scheme to defraud. Out on bail and awaiting trial, he released an aggressive, 440-word statement this week that ended with the salutation, ``Happy New Year!''

``I look forward to the truth coming out and addressing the false accusations,'' Greer wrote, ``while at the same time enlightening the general public to what really goes on behind closed doors at the Republican Party of Florida and the conduct of elected officials, lobbyists, consultants and others.''

Johnson, who is cooperating with prosecutors, handed over bank statements, text messages, voice mails and other documents as part of the state's case against Greer.

``I'm shocked,'' Greer's wife, Lisa, said in one of Johnson's voice-mails left as news leaked out in March about Victory Strategies, ``because the only way they would have got that information is from you. I just can't believe you came into my home - you're godfather to my child - and acted like everything was fine.''

Investigative documents also show that the top Florida House Democrat and an imprisoned former Florida State University booster have been named as possible witnesses in the case.

The House minority leader, Rep. Ron Saunders, D-Key West, said he was contacted by prosecutors over a decade-old business dispute he had with Greer and Don Reinhard, who is now serving a 51-month sentence in a Beaumont, Texas federal prison. Reinhard pleaded guilty in 2009 to multiple charges of falsifying tax returns and hiding assets in a multimillion-dollar investment scheme that snared some of the state capital's most prominent players.

Before that fraud case, Reinhard, Saunders and Greer had been partners in Sloppy Joe's, a now-shuttered Tallahassee bar.

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