Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jailhouse recordings reveal bewildered Jim Greer

TALLAHASSEE — On the day Jim Greer was jailed for alleged fraud, the former Republican Party of Florida chairman found himself in a strange world as he scrambled to find a bail bondsman, his lawyer, a suit for his first court appearance and his kid's tennis coach to cancel a lesson, according to recordings of his phone calls from the Seminole County Detention Center.

The recordings, which have received scant attention in the press, reveal a bewildered Greer, who had garnered a reputation as a high-rolling party boss. In jail, Greer often didn't know the time, had little clue about the specific charges against him and acknowledged that jail was "tough."

But Greer also struck a defiant tone and said he was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct. Greer's wife, Lisa Greer, also made sure to bolster her husband's spirits.

"Now listen, there's going to be press all over this," she told him. "So you smile. You hold your head up high. And don't walk in there like a beaten down dog, you hear?"

"Okay," he told her.

Greer is charged with one count of organized fraud, four counts of grand theft and one count of money laundering. He is accused of funneling $125,000 in Republican Party donor money through a secretive shell company, called Victory Strategies, into his personal account plus another $40,000 from a political committee he used to secure his re-election as chairman. His alleged co-conspirator, former party executive director Delmar Johnson, has agreed to testify against Greer to avoid jail time.

Greer has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, J. Cheney Mason, plans to ask a judge to suppress some evidence against his client and to disqualify the Office of Statewide Prosecution from the case.

The office is housed under Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Greer critic. Greer has called the case against him a witch hunt by former party leaders whom he is suing. Statewide prosecutor William N. Shepherd, a onetime McCollum campaign contributor, said his office is independent from the attorney general.

In one of the recorded phone calls, Greer's friend, Realtor Gene Collins, went a step further than the former chairman and said the June 2 arrest, in which state police raided Greer's Oviedo home in front of his family, was unbelievable and akin to what "they do in China."

Said Greer: "I just spoke to Marcos Jimenez last night — and he said, 'If they do anything, it will be the biggest prosecutorial misconduct that he's seen in all his years.' "

Jimenez, a former South Florida U.S. attorney, no longer represents Greer. He said he couldn't comment on his discussions with a current or former client.

In the first of the recorded calls from Greer, at 1:20 p.m. June 2, Greer asked Lisa Greer when a friend would stop by the jail and drop off a suit.

"Are the agents still there?" Greer asked.

"Yeah," said his wife, who repeatedly noted their calls were being recorded and that their bank accounts were searched.

"You should show 'em where everything is," Greer said. "There's nothing to hide there. There's that box that Delmar dropped that's in the garage."

About 45 minutes later, Lisa Greer complained in another call that she was "short $1,400" to make bail.

"Nothing's in my name so I have to put up collateral in this whole amount," she said.

Eventually, the family sorted out the bail problem, but Greer had trouble reaching his Tallahassee attorney, Greg Miller, and his wife. He spoke with a baby sitter or family member named Beth, who was at the home during the raid.

"Did they take a lot of stuff with them?" he asked. "I don't really know," she said. "The kids and I got stressed and went away, but I know they took your computer and your phone and even Hunter's computer." Hunter is one of Jim Greer's children.

Greer asked if the agents were nice.

"Sometimes, sometimes not," she said. "They wouldn't let us go anywhere. After they got through with the upstairs searching, they let me and the babies go up and take showers. Then they searched the truck, and then they let us go.

Greer instructed the woman to contact a tennis coach at the Oviedo Riverside Park to cancel one of his children's tennis lessons because he wouldn't be home.

"How are you doing?" she asked.

"Ah. It's pretty tough," he said. "I just can't believe they did it, Beth."

"I just hope that you-know-who drops dead," she said.

Marc Caputo can be reached at mcaputo@MiamiHerald.com.

Jailhouse recordings reveal bewildered Jim Greer 07/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, July 29, 2010 7:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  2. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  3. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays scored that many in a single game during their two-plus week numbing stretch of offensive impotency, and in a home game in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  4. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest

    Nation

    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.
  5. Police pull unconscious New Port Richey man from SUV in Cotee River

    Accidents

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Police rescued an unconscious driver whose sport utility vehicle plunged into the Cotee River on Saturday.