Politics & Government

Ex-Florida GOP aide says Greer, others spent lavishly

Long before criminal investigations shook the Republican Party of Florida, office manager Susan Wright noticed a problem, she says: Higher-ups were spending party money to help themselves instead of the GOP.

There were the thousands of dollars dropped in Las Vegas restaurants, a casino resort and a Wayne Newton concert.

She says she saw thousands more in questionable expenses for trips and swank accommodations in Boston, Beverly Hills and Miami.

And she says she was among the first Republican staffers to voice concerns about a $200,000 party contract with a shell company called Victory Strategies, which is now at the center of the fraud and theft charges against former Chairman Jim Greer, who has pleaded not guilty.

Wright, 57, didn't know all the details, but fretted to her supervisors and co-workers that the party was running out of money and couldn't afford it all.

"I was told to keep my mouth shut," she said.

Wright didn't. So, she says, she was fired.

Now a witness in the state criminal case against Greer, Wright is breaking months of public silence to detail for The St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald the problems she saw at party headquarters under Greer and his right-hand man, Delmar Johnson, who is avoiding jail time in return for testifying against Greer.

Greer's attorney says he's innocent and is being set up by vengeful party leaders reneging on a $124,000 severance agreement.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.