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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist thought Jim Greer was trying to extort him; voicemail and text message in Greer's court file

The message to former Gov. Charlie Crist from good friend and confidante Jim Greer was ominous-sounding:

"Listen I just wanted to call and tell you something as a man, not like these other people that have put knives in your back and never had the courtesy of calling you directly or talking to you."

Just about a year after Greer was indicted on felony charges of organized fraud, theft and money laundering, Crist found the voice mail and a text message on his cell phone from the former chair of the Republican Party of Florida.

To Crist, it sounded like Greer was attempting to extort money from him and he called the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to report the messages.

"Hey guy, it's Jim,'' the June 2011 voice message from Greer began. "I'm sure you know our friendship has ended. Is over. And I'm just very saddened by that, but I wanted you to know personally from me, in the future there'll probably be things coming out that are going to be very hurtful to both you and Carole (Crist's wife), but I'll be honest with you, I don't care any more because I did everything I could for you: I paid every bill you and Carole ever gave me, I defended every decision you ever made, I almost got in a fist fight the times some people said some personal terrible things about you.''

Greer went on to tell Crist that he was about to lose his house, could no longer afford to pay for insurance for his children, including one named for Crist, and how he resented the fact that no one, including Crist, "has lifted a finger to try and help me.''

Story from Times senior correspondent Lucy Morgan here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 7:11pm]


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