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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

What did Charlie Crist know about Jim Greer?

Gov. Charlie Crist is under fire after his hand-picked state GOP Chairman Jim Greer was indicted by a grand jury on six criminal charges, including organized fraud and money laundering.

But Crist maintained Thursday he was completely in the dark. "I didn't know anything about this Victory Strategies thing," Crist told the Times/Herald.

It seems odd given that Victory Strategies, the shell company authorities say was controlled by Greer to siphon party money to his accounts, charged the party $30,000 for a poll on behalf of Crist's U.S. Senate campaign. The party even tried to collect from Crist's campaign, but the campaign denied any knowledge of it.

Did Crist know about this bogus poll? "Not until recently," he said. "It's all very odd."

Did his staff ever brief him on Greer's troubles or Victory Strategies? "Not much at all," he said without further elaboration.

Confronted later for more information, Crist repeated his claims to know nothing, not even about Greer's financial troubles, despite the fact the two men were close. (He didn't answer a question about whether he knew the donor who paid Greer $10,000 a month on the side.)

Asked if he is concerned about appearing aloof given his ties to Greer, he dodged: "The concern I have is about trying to do what's right for the people of Florida, being the best governor that I can be, staying focused on issues that matter to them and their daily lives like this oil out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico," he said. "As I said yesterday, it's very disturbing and very disappointing what happened, and I feel that way."

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:41am]

    

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