Clear83° WeatherClear83° Weather

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Exclusive interview with ex-GOP Chairman Jim Greer in prison

“It’s an enlightening experience. You have a lot of opportunity to reflect,” says Jim Greer, who is about halfway though an 18-month sentence.

EDMUND FOUNTAIN | Times photo

“It’s an enlightening experience. You have a lot of opportunity to reflect,” says Jim Greer, who is about halfway though an 18-month sentence.

6

September

Times Tallahassee bureau chief Steve Bousquet visited former RPOF chairman Jim Greer in prison this week in North Florida. Read the entire story. Here's an excerpt:

On the surface, prison has been good to the 51-year-old Greer.

Seated at a conference table at nearby Gulf Correctional Institution, where prison officials arranged an interview, Greer looks noticeably thinner. He says he has lost 40 pounds.

He's also tanner than when Floridians last saw him in an Orlando courthouse in February. The tan is the result of six-hour days on a work crew, pulling weeds and picking up trash in nearby Port St. Joe.

He says he wakes up each morning at 4 a.m., attends church services on Tuesdays and Sundays, and teaches inmates studying for their GEDs about the three branches of government.

"I teach social studies and civics," he said, "believe it or not."

He is eligible for a work release transfer, has a spotless disciplinary record and has few complaints about prison life.

"When you're down in a ditch, it's 100 degrees and you have a Weed Eater, it's not the most pleasant thing," Greer said. "But it's not North Korea. We're not being beaten every day."

During a 75-minute visit, Greer talked about life in prison, the friends he thought he had and the people (he seldom gets specific) that he blames for his downfall. He tantalizes about a possible tell-all book.

"I have a lot of knowledge of a lot of things," he said. "Maybe someday I'll tell them and maybe someday I won't."

[Last modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 2:55pm]

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...