Billionaire Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene raps Kendrick Meek, Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist for accepting special interest campaign contributions, but he's keeping Floridians in the dark about his own special financial interests.
We know he is a real estate investor and made a mint on complicated financial instruments, and that Forbes estimated last year he was worth more than $1.2 billion. He has an aviation company, and at least at one point had a telemarketing company and an apparel business. But at this point we know very little about how his financial interests could overlap with his actions as a senator because Greene sought an extension until late July for filing his required financial disclosure.
"I will get it filed. I've sent all the papers to our attorney. Unfortunately, I have a very complicated financial picture and he hasn't been able to get it in yet,'' Greene, 55, said in a interview airing today on Political Connections on Bay News 9.
Meek is suspicious.
"He waited until almost June to file,'' noted Meek, who announced his candidacy 18 months ago. "I think he wanted to make sure there was little time for people to look into him."
Check out the wide-ranging interview with Greene on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. He weighs in on everything from the Iraq war, to the Moroccan "love den" in one of his mansions, to his friendship with Mike Tyson.
* * *
Greene: Wife won't let me reveal tax info
Crist, Meek and Rubio have released partial tax returns, but Greene won't. He says he worries about making public such information as his (already accessible) addresses, and brushes off suggestions that he could release tax returns and black out information such as addresses and Social Security numbers.
"We were very concerned about privacy and security,'' Greene said. "There's a lot of crazy people out there and we don't feel like publicizing our private information. There's addresses, there's all kinds of stuff my wife doesn't want to have (public).''
So we asked his wife, Mei Sze Greene, if she'd reconsider.
"Hell no. He promised me,'' she said.
* * *
BP hires husband of LeMieux's chief
The husband of U.S. Sen. George LeMieux's chief of staff has been hired to help BP navigate its PR nightmare.
John Feehery, a GOP consultant and TV pundit, is part of a stable of new hires to help the oil company. His wife, Kerry, joined LeMieux when he was appointed to fill out the final 16 months of Mel Martinez's term. She has previously worked in Washington for Gov. Charlie Crist.
The ties underscore the web of Washington life, but could be particularly awkward now given BP's name is mud in Florida and pretty much the rest of America. LeMieux has added to the criticism of the company, and was among those calling for an escrow fund. More recently, he has focused on the federal response, saying it is slow and inadequate.
"John Feehery handles some public relations for BP and his work remains independent of any work Sen. LeMieux does," said deputy chief of staff Vivian Myrtetus.
LeMieux previously faced questions for his role in advising a secretive oil industry group that was trying to push a pro-drilling bill through the Florida Legislature. He won't say what he did for the group, citing attorney-client privilege, but estimated he was paid "only $20,000 or $30,000."
* * *
Florida medical PAC endorses McCollum
You might think Rick Scott's career as a leader in the health care industry might give him some sway with doctors. Nope. The Florida Medical Association PAC on Saturday unanimously endorsed McCollum for governor.
* * *
Winner of the week
Jeff Greene. The rookie billionaire candidate for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination held his own in his first debate with Kendrick Meek last week. So far, he's also spending less than half as much money as the other gazillionaire on the ballot - Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott.
* * *
Loser of the week
Rick Scott. Looks like his controversial tenure at the Columbia/HCA hospital chain that defrauded taxpayers isn't the only company generating negative attention. Mr. anti-illegal immigrant is a major investor in a company that undocumented immigrants can use to transfer money home. And while he is misleadingly accusing Bill McCollum of having taken contributions from a Planned Parenthood lobbyist, Scott is also a major investor in a pharmacy company that provides morning-after pills.
Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz. Adam Smith can be reached at email@example.com and is on Twitter at AdamSmithTimes.