Florida's ex-GOP chairman Greer facing criminal investigation

Gov. Charlie Crist's handpicked former GOP chairman is the subject of a criminal probe concerning a secret contract that funneled party money to a consulting company he owned, the party and the state's top law enforcement agency disclosed Wednesday.

But the investigation of Jim Greer is complicated by the disclosure that Republican Party officials offered him a severance package at the time of his January departure to absolve him from any financial wrongdoing and pay him $124,000 to remain as a consultant for a year.

The previously undisclosed severance documents, obtained first by the Herald/Times, were signed by top party officials, including current party Chairman John Thrasher and leading lawmakers who helped oust Greer amid intense concerns that he had been using the party coffers as a personal slush fund.

"All RPOF expenditures made during Chairman Greer's term as RPOF Chairman were proper, lawful, appropriate," the Jan. 4 severance document states. It also specifically clears Greer for any questionable purchases put on the party's credit card.

Jason Gonzalez, the Republican Party's lawyer, said Greer never signed the agreement, so it is invalid, though the document obtained by the news bureau includes his signature.

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