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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Thrasher says meeting shows RPOF has 'turned the page'

23

April

Taking a lunch break from their meeting, Republican Party Chairman John Thrasher said the party's executive board has taken one action today -- to remove ousted chairman Jim Greer from any officials office. The rest of the morning, he said, has been discussion.

Asked about one of the final acts of the former chairman -- the portraits ordered of Greer, Gov. Charlie Crist and former executive director Delmar Johnson -- Thrasher said: “I would not have authorized them personally,’’ he said.

“There was a culture there that in my opinion was inappropriate. Now we have turned the page and that’s why we’re having this meeting today – to let the members of the executive committee understand we have turned the page. There are no more credit cards out there,’’ he said.

Party expenses are also down -- by $1 million for the first quarter of this year, compared to the comparable period last year, he said.

He repeated his promise: “I want every single Republican in the State of Florida to understand, it has changed,’’ he said. “We are now back to moving toward electing Republicans in the State of Florida. Most of these issues we’re going to now get behind us and we move on.’’

Thrasher continued to blame Greer exclusively for the spending spree. "He was chairman. He approved his own statements. He had total control of that apparatus of the party,'' he said. "Listening to members of the board, there was very little communications with most of those members.''

He also blames Crist, not the party executives. "The governor's the guy that pretty much placed Chairman Greer in the position he did. Remember every one of these people are volunteers. This is not a corporate board where you are paid a fee and you have a higher degree of scrutiny. I think this is a culture that evolved over a period of time.''

He said that Greer's $500,000 in credit card expenses weren't scrutinized "because he didn't let them be scrutinized.''

But he vowed to operate differently: "Every expenses that I incur -- which is going to be on my own personal credit card -- will be submitted and ultimately reviewed by the audit committee of the party before it's paid. I also told the board this morning, I don't intend to travel outside the state unless it's absolutely necessary. I never intend to travel by private plane. I'll use my car or whatever airlines gets me where I need to go in the state of Florida.''

The afternoon discussion will include a review of the nearly two dozen people who had a credit card over the last three years under Greer's reign.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:31pm]

    

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