Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Why Jeff Greene is more fun than Rick Scott

As rich-guy candidates go, Jeff Greene is funner than Rick Scott.

Scott, a Republican candidate for governor, has a simple, ho-hum story line. He ran a big hospital company. The company ripped off the government and the taxpayers for many years but Scott did not know it; maybe the sun was in his eyes. Mistakes were made and lessons were learned.

So far, enough Republican voters are okay with this to put Scott in front of Bill McCollum, the state's attorney general, who is being propped up and dragged around by so many old-guard Republicans these days that his campaign looks like Weekend at Bernie's.

Poor Bill! Here's the worst thing for him: It's not that Republican primary voters are dummies; they know Scott's background but like him better anyway — Gov. Fraud instead of Gov. Howdy Doody.

And yet, no matter how fun it is that a nouveau, not-indicted, robber-corporation ex-executive is on the verge of becoming the Republican nominee for governor, Jeff Greene is funner still. (Do not write to say that "funner" is not a word. See Through the Looking Glass, Chapter VI.)

Perhaps this is because the billionaire Greene, compared to Scott, is less of a threat to hold actual office. Greene has decided to try to buy a mere U.S. Senate seat against Kendrick Meek, a U.S. House member from Miami.

No matter which of these two Democrats wins, the eventual senator is more likely to be the no-party governor, Charlie Crist, or the Republican, Marco Rubio.

Part of Greene's fun-ness is his yacht, the 145-foot Summerwind. Ha, ha! You never know where it might show up or who might be on it. It showed up in Cuba, for instance, a hangout that does not win you popularity contests in Miami.

In a debate Greene explained he was there on a "humanitarian mission," which implied perhaps feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and personally undermining Castro. But wait! Later his spokesman said Greene had, you know, misspoken. The party boat was there because of a mere breakdown. Oh, well.

Before that the yacht was in Belize, where, according to local authorities and extensive reports, it dropped anchor on an irreplaceable coral reef. Nobody is sayin' that Greene personally stood there and gave the command, but do you want a U.S. senator whose boat runs around destroying coral reefs?

His campaign's response was fun, too: Greene's spokesman simply denied, in the face of all evidence, that the anchor-dropping had occurred at all. Surely, an incredulous reporter asked, you would like to reconsider this claim? "That's our position. That's our quote," the spokesman said.

There was a strong article over the weekend by my colleagues Kris Hundley and Caryn Baird about a California condo project once owned by Greene that became an extensive mortgage fraud, using straw-man buyers at inflated prices with loans that were never intended to be repaid. This cost the taxpayers about $34 million.

Greene blames the whole thing on the guy he did business with in California, who is facing criminal charges. Greene enabled it by signing blank deeds over to the guy, but as Greene explained, "I'm always signing blank deeds."

He's always signing blank deeds! What a coincidence —me, too! It's how I spend my spare time.

Why Jeff Greene is more fun than Rick Scott 08/09/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 9, 2010 5:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.