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COLUMN

Happytown

More excerpts from former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer's deposition. Spoiler alert: There's rectal bleeding and foul language!

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Jim Greer has chest pains and he's bleeding out of his rectum. Is that TMI?

Probably, but that's not the kind of TMI that's likely got the higher ups in the Republican Party of Florida feeling squeamish this month. Greer, former chairman of the party, filed a civil suit against the Republican Party of Florida, Sen. President Mike Haridopolos and the party chair who succeeded him, state Sen. John Thrasher, seeking damages for breach of contract, among other things.

On June 26, the office of the statewide prosecutor released the complete transcript of Greer's two-day deposition in the case. Greer, in case you've been trying to deny the sordid state of politics in our fair state, is the disgraced former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida who resigned in January 2010 and was indicted on multiple felony counts of fraud, theft and money laundering just six months later. His case is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 12 (conveniently rescheduled after the general election, lucky for Mitt Romney – the Republican Party of Florida must feel like a festering albatross around his neck. See: Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's lesbian gaffe in the July 26 edition of Happytown, or Gov. Rick Scott in general). The hundreds of pages of deposition, which we pored through last week, contain plenty of material to embarrass everyone.

When the deposition first came out, a few choice quotes were broadcast all over the blogs and in the news, but more telling are the less sensational portions that paint a portrait of how the Republican Party of Florida operates – or, at least, how it operated during the heady days of former Gov. Charlie Crist.

The way Greer describes it, the Republican Party of Florida was run like the mob. The mob boss (Crist) told his underboss (in this case, George LeMieux when he was Crist's chief of staff) what needed to get done, and he communicated the job to the capo (Greer), who set up the money-making racket, kept a portion for himself, then sent the rest up the chain to the family. Soldiers who answered to the capo helped implement the schemes and worked with associates to keep the money flowing and the crime party – erm, we mean crime family – fat and happy.

According to Greer's testimony, Crist and LeMieux were the ones who encouraged him to incorporate a consulting firm that raised money for the party and paid commissions to its principals. LeMieux, he says, told Greer who to talk to get the plan up and running – the soldiers and associates quickly fell in line.

Greer claims he was naively following the boss' orders when he incorporated Victory Strategies LLC as the fundraising organization for the party without telling anyone that he was a 60 percent owner of the entity and profiting from the commissions. When he finally resigned from his role as Republican Party of Florida chair, he says, there were all sorts of problems not just related to fundraising: the party was in a shambles, the leaders didn't see eye-to-eye, and the other capos – Haridopolos, for instance, and Greer's RPOF successor, Thrasher, who resigned after less than a year on the job – threw him under the bus to avoid having to pay him an agreed-upon $123,000 severance.

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