Connect to share and comment

Ex-Florida GOP chair Jim Greer sentenced to 18 months in prison

Jim Greer, former head of the Republican party in Florida, was convicted of stealing $125,000 in party funds.

jim greer sentenced Enlarge
Ex-Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer, shown in a 2012 interview with MSNBC, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing $125,000 in party funds. (MSNBC /Screengrab)

The former head of the Republican party in Florida will spend the next year and a half in prison after being convicted of stealing more than $125,000 in party funds.

Jim Greer, the former GOP party chairman, is now a convicted felon after climbing to the top of Florida's political inner circle.

Six weeks ago he pleaded guilty to funneling $200,000 into a company he created called Victory Strategies, and keeping $125,000 for himself.

"You certainly in my opinion egregiously violated a position of trust," Circuit Judge Marc Lubet said at sentencing, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

"While you do need to go to prison for this, you don't need to go for 42 or 46 months."

Greer, 50, will also serve one year of probation.

The guilty plea avoided a potentially embarrassing trial for the Republican party in Florida. Greer was hand selected by then-Governor Charlie Crist to lead the state GOP after raising funds for Crist's gubernatorial campaign in 2006.

Greer said that Crist knew about the arrangement to siphon off funds but Reuters reports that Crist denied that in an affidavit.

Greer also paid $65,000 in restitution to the Republican party via wire transfer before his sentence was handed down.

Greer was well known in Tallahassee for his flamboyant displays of power. According to the Tampa Bay Tribune, Greer hung pictures of himself in the hallways of Republican party offices, insisted on being called 'Chairman' and would "drink bourbon poured only from bottles with specially ordered labels: 'Maker's Mark, Private Edition: James A. Greer.'"

Defense attorney Damon Chase said Greer was being singled out for punishment because of his political position.

"Really, the reason why we're here… is because it's Jim Greer," Chase said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130327/ex-florida-gop-chair-jim-greer-sentenced-18-mont