The “no snitching” rule may rule the streets, but it’s definitely not in play in politics. Delmar Johnson, former highly paid fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida, father of former party chairman Jim Greer’s godson, partner with Greer in the shell company, Victory Strategies, to which Greer steered the party’s fundraising, enriching himself and Johnson, chief witness for the prosecution, and now, a free man. The story reads like a mob tale, with the RPOF operating like little more than a criminal enterprise operating a chain of cheap casinos in Vegas. The SP Times has the taped phone conversation, and it’s … well … you just need to listen for yourself …From The Buzz:
Delmar Johnson, the inside source who provided information that led to the indictment of former Florida GOP boss Jim Greer, will not face criminal charges after agreeing to testify.
Johnson, the party’s former executive director, agreed to testify “concerning the extent of his compensation or remuneration … attributable to his involvement in the scheme to obtain monies from the Republican Party of Florida,” according to the four-page agreement obtained by the Times/Herald.
The deferred prosecution agreement released Tuesday outlines his sweet deal which comes with immunity. “Johnson voluntarily came forward and self-reported his involvement to the Republican Party of Florida and state and federal law enforcement,” statewide prosecutor Bill Shepherd wrote.
Johnson agreed to repay $65,093 to the Florida GOP and also agreed to make controlled phone calls as a part of the investigation. Asked about the deal, Johnson’s attorney Bob Levinthal said it was fair. “What would the state party auditors and state law enforcement know if not for Delmar Johnson,” he said. “Maybe you could equate him with a whistleblower … who gets rewarded for his cooperation.”
Listen to the audio of the nervous Greer-Johnson phonecall, which Johnson made at the behest of the fuzz as part of his immunity deal, here. BTW, when the authorities raided Jim Greer’s house, they found a box of American Express card bills, including those of in-coming House Speaker Dean Cannon. More from the Herald/Tribune:
The records reveal that the day the investigation was announced, Greer’s wife, Lisa, called Johnson to chastise him for snitching.
“The only way they would have gotten the information was from you,” she said in an angry voice mail message. “I’m shocked … I can’t believe you came in to my home … you’re the godfather of my child and acted like everything was fine.”
Two days later, Greer sent Johnson another message, trying to reassure him that they had “done nothing wrong” by setting up Victory Strategies “but I do think you should retain a lawyer.” Then, he added: “Aidan says hi.”
Okay, I revise that “no snitching” comment from the top of the post. One more clip:
Despite the rumors, Greer’s tone throughout was defiant, according to the documents. Dozens of witnesses interviewed by investigators portrayed Greer as a power-grabbing leader who needed money to cover bad real estate investments. One major party donor, Harry Sargeant, gave him $10,000 a month “so he did not have to continue hearing Greer complain about his financial problems.”
… Greer is also shown in the records trying to capitalize on his influence through a contract with Mardi Gras Racetrack and Gaming Center in Hallandale during the 2008 legislative session to help generate support for a tax break the company sought on its slot machines. Greer was to be paid $7,500 a month to head up a petition campaign to put an amendment on the ballot to lower the tax rate for the state’s dog tracks, said Dan Adkins, head of Mardi Gras.
Among the other revelations:
• John Harris, a government consultant for the GrayRobinson law firm, told FDLE he helped Greer set up Victory Strategies and intentionally hid — at Greer’s urging — the fact that his name was listed as an owner. Harris said he “has personally known Greer for many years,” dating back to when Harris led a state regulatory division that oversaw a hospitality business Greer owned.
• Dorworth, listed as a top priority witness for prosecutors, told Greer legislative leaders such as Speaker-designate Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos wouldn’t criticize Greer about party finances if he kept quiet about the secret severance agreement they signed to pay him $124,000.
• Johnson will pay $65,093 in restitution to the Republican Party and testify truthfully, if called, before a federal grand jury. Federal authorities are also investigating GOP finances and improper spending on party credit cards.
• Susan Wright, the party’s office manager, said she believed the party was paying the rent for Johnson’s Tallahassee residence and rental car. She told investigators that “many of the charges incurred by Greer and Johnson were charges for personal items and not charges that could be legitimately made.”
Meanwhile, from Gary Fineout, more on the secrets being spilled from deep inside the bowels of the Florida Republican Party, including the fact that Gov. Charlie Crist is on the witness list:
Among the details:
Crist gave investigators a written affidavit saying he knew nothing about Greer’s involvement in Victory Strategies, the company that Greer set up and received money from the party.
A 56-minute phone call between Greer and former executive director Delmar Johnson where Greer says he Crist and Greer talked about Crist’s independent bid for U.S. Senate days before Crist went on Fox News and said he staying with the Republican Party.
Greer says on that same phone call that he and House speaker in waiting Rep. Chris Dorworth talked about whether the party intended to use Victory Strategies – the company that Greer used to get payment from the party – as a “blackmail mechanism” to get out of paying Greer a severance agreement.
Johnson – who in May signed a deal that keeps him out of prison for helping investigators – repeatedly reassures Greer on the phone call that he’s not turning on him. “You never have to worry about me,” Johnson lies to Greer at one point.
Greer talks about how that “idiot Thrasher,” a reference to party chairman John Thrasher, will “try to use that anybody as a scape goat.” He calls Thrasher, Attorney General Bill McCollum, and incoming Senate president Mike Haridopolos and incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon the “four horsemen.”
Johnson on the call says that McCollum “played a much role behind the scenes than we realize.”
While some party officials say they knew nothing about Greer’s involvement with Victory Strategies, one party employee says she told to “keep quiet” about the arrangement.
UPDATE: Charlie Crist says he’s not worried about the Greer probe, and neither are most Floridians driving by him on the road.