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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The emissaries in the alleged attempt to pay off Greer



Among the details that emerged in recent days involving the Republican Party's attempts to dethrone former Chairman Jim Greer, is how party leaders allegedly still tried to pay him weeks after forcibly removing him from office and revoking the offer of a golden parachute.

Greer's attorney said the incoming GOP leaders in the Legislature — future Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon — allegedly offered to pay Greer $200,000 in hush money, to remain quiet about the severance agreement. A spokeswoman for Cannon said Wednesday that he denied the assertion, calling it outrageous. Haridopolos didn't return calls.

"They said, 'We want to pay Greer $200,000, but we don't want the money to come from the RPOF because of the all the bad publicity,' " said Chase, who represented Greer in the negotiations, which took place in February and March, weeks after the party denied the severance agreement existed.

Chase said the lawmakers considered funneling the money through a political committee but they denied the offer because "it didn't pass the sniff test."

The lawmakers sent associates to discuss the payoff with Greer's ally Jim Stelling, the former Seminole County GOP chairman, Greer's attorney said. He said the two emissaries were Marc Reichelderfer and Pat Bainter.

Reichelderfer, a political consultant to Cannon and Thrasher, denies the claim. Bainter, a consultant for Haridopolos, didn't return calls. Stelling would not discuss the matter. More here.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:26am]


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