Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Charlie Crist campaign returns Jim Greer donations

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist's independent U.S. Senate campaign is refunding nearly $10,000 to Jim Greer after the indicted former Republican Party state chairman asked for the money to help pay for his legal defense.

"As you know circumstances have caused me to need money to defend myself and take care of my family," Greer wrote in an Aug. 5 letter. "I know sending the money back is hard, but with what has happened it may be politically beneficial for you to do."

Greer, 48, faces six felony charges, including organized fraud and money laundering, after authorities alleged he used a secret fundraising contract to funnel party donations to a consulting firm he owned.

Greer and his wife made maximum contributions — $4,800 each — to Crist in May 2009.

Crist's campaign first disputed the letter's authenticity but agreed Monday to return the money after an inquiry from the Times/Herald.

The move served as an inconvenient reminder for Crist about his close ties to Greer, the man he put at the party's helm when he was elected governor in 2006.

In the one-page letter, Greer spit fire at the Republicans who ousted him, calling them "liars, racists and extremists" but made it clear he still supports Crist.

He wrote: "Charlie over the last three years, I did all that I was asked to do by you and others. Your goals were my goals. When all of the others abandoned you, I remained loyal."

The campaign's decision to return the money marks a departure from its previous stance.

A number of GOP donors asked the campaign to give back their money after Crist left the Republican Party in April but he refused.

A former supporter even filed a lawsuit in federal court to force a refund.

Danny Kanner, a Crist spokesman, did not respond to questions about the reversal nor why it took the campaign nearly two weeks to act on the letter.

The campaign of Republican Marco Rubio, Crist's chief rival in the U.S. Senate race, seized on the issue.

"It should surprise no one that despite refusing to return a single penny to Floridians who gave to him in good faith, Charlie Crist wasted no time in refunding money to his indicted political confidante," Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said.

Following Crist's lead, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's attorney general campaign said Monday it would donate $1,000 from the Greers to the party. Likewise, Rep. Chris Dorworth, a future House speaker seeking re-election, said he would return $500 his campaign received.

Two other Republican legislative candidates, Clay Ingram of Pensacola and Jason Brodeur of Sanford, returned Greer's contributions June 3, the day after his indictment.

Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, returned $1,000 on March 30, the day before the party and state authorities disclosed the Greer investigation.

John Frank can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

Charlie Crist campaign returns Jim Greer donations 08/16/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 16, 2010 8:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FBI probes fraudster's alleged church scam following Tampa Bay Times report

    Real Estate

    PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.

    The FBI is investigating convicted mortgage fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao on new allegations following a Tampa Bay Times report.
[TImes file photo]

  2. See inside this Snell Isle home with an amazing chandelier and infinity pool

    Home and Garden

    When Elizabeth and David Samuelson started planning the house they built six years ago on Snell Isle, the couple envisioned a West Indies look with masonry stucco walls and a metal hip roof. As they moved forward, it evolved into something they describe as coastal contemporary.

    Elizabeth Samuelson and David Samuelson's at the entrance to their Snell Isle house which has numerous luxurious features yet is a comfortable home for a family of four. An infinity pool blends seamlessly from the terrace right into Tampa Bay. Doors surrounding the family room open and are then out of sight enabling the interior to seem more outside than inside. David designed and made a chandelier with hundreds of dangling, clear fish that hangs over the foyer.
  3. Appeals court deals blow to Trump administration travel ban


    WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court dealt another blow to President Donald Trump's revised travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries on Thursday, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims.

    Donald Trump will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. [Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via AP]
  4. Former USF head basketball coach Orlando Antigua, center, and assistant coach Rod Strickland, right, during a 2015 game at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Why do people even hold hands, anyway?

    Human Interest

    Nothing lit up the internet this week quite like hand holding, or the lack of it.

    US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Airport on May 23, 2017. AFP PHOTO / Filippo Monteforte.