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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

GOP leaders signed severance agreement with Greer. And offered him 'hush money'?



UPDATED: The state Republican Party signed a severance agreement with ousted Chairman Jim Greer upon his departure that cleared him of all wrongdoing and paid him $11,250 a month and health insurance to serve as an outside consultant, according to documents obtained by the Times/Herald.


State party officials have long denied the existence of the Jan. 4 agreement, which was authorized by now-party Chairman John Thrasher, Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos, Speaker-designate Dean Cannon and party officials, including General Counsel Jason Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said in an interview late Wednesday that the contract is worthless because Greer never signed the document. (The copy obtained by the Times/Herald includes Greer's signature.)

"As we have previously stated, no agreement was fully executed," he said. "We haven't made any payments and we never will."

A letter written to the party Tuesday from Greer's attorney Damon Chase also alleges that associates of Haridopolos and Cannon offered to pay Greer $200,000 of "hush money" to stay quiet about the agreement.

Gonzalez also disputed this fact. "That's ridiculous," he said.

Greer is facing a criminal investigation for diverting party money to a company he controlled. But its unclear whether it would insulate Greer from any consequences.

As signed by party treasurer Joel Pate and vice treasurer Allen Miller, it states that "all RPOF expenditures made during Chairman Greer's term as RPOF Chairman were proper, lawful, appropriate ..."

Gonzalez said he believes Greer "procured that document ... by fraud and they had no idea that he has an ownership in Victory Strategies."

--Beth Reinhard contributed to this report

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:25am]


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