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Greer lawsuit threatens to further erode Rubio's credibility

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Can the RPOF do anything in accordance with the rules? Today, RPOF attorney’s were chided by a Circuit Judge for improperly scheduling a hearing to try and dismiss the case against the party. Meanwhile, the Orlando Sentinel examined the players in former Chairman Jim Greer’s lawsuit which could particularly impact Tea Party darling Sen. Marco Rubio and threaten any remnants that remain of his credibility.
 
Key Point: “Chase also last week sent the party's attorneys a request for thousands of documents, including all written communication between the party and: Rubio, Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and McCollum.

“He's also asked for seven years worth of party payments for meals, travel, hotels and entertainment for any elected official, seven years worth of the party's American Express records and seven years worth of party payments to political action committees and committees of continued existence.”

 
Florida GOP will ask judge to dismiss Jim Greer lawsuit
 
By Rene Stutzman, Orlando Sentinel
 
SANFORD – At a hearing tomorrow morning, attorneys for the Republican Party of Florida will ask a judge to throw out Jim Greer's revived lawsuit against them.

Greer, 49 of Oviedo, was forced out as party chairman last year amid a credit card spending scandal. He filed suit last month in state circuit court in Sanford, alleging the party cheated him out of a $123,000 severance package.

Party attorneys, though, say in court pleadings that Greer is playing games. He sued over the same thing last year then refused to sit down for a deposition, saying he couldn't answer questions under oath while awaiting trial on charges he defrauded the party and siphoned $125,000 into personal bank accounts.

Greer's attorney Cheney Mason said at an earlier criminal hearing that what Greer did may have been unethical but it wasn't illegal. Those charges, including four for grand theft, are still pending.
 
Greer insists he was the victim of ultra-conservative Republicans who favored Marco Rubio in his U.S. Senate race against Charlie Crist, Greer's candidate.

Circuit Judge Alan Dickey dismissed Greer's first civil suit in January, saying Greer couldn't file suit then refuse to answer questions.

But Greer last month signed an affidavit, saying he's now willing to talk.

"I will make myself available anytime as I am anxious to tell the court about the inner workings of the Republican Party of Florida," says the affidavit.

Tomorrow's hearing is scheduled to last just five minutes, so it's not clear that anything substantive will happen.

Florida GOP attorneys won't have time to present their arguments on two other major requests: That Greer be forced to pay their attorney fees and that the suit be transferred from Sanford to Tallahassee.

"… It would appear that the entire exercise was a charade brought forth by the plaintiff in an effort to delay the disposition of these claims and/or to exact upon the defendants increased litigation costs," they wrote. "One must conclude that the defendant is engaging in gamesmanship by refiling the exact cause of action. …"

Damon Chase, one of Greer's attorney, has sent party attorneys a list of 50 people he says he wants to depose. It includes former Gov. Charlie Crist, former Attorney General Bill McCollum, former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, and former U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney.

Chase also last week sent the party's attorneys a request for thousands of documents, including all written communication between the party and: Rubio, Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and McCollum.

He's also asked for seven years worth of party payments for meals, travel, hotels and entertainment for any elected official, seven years worth of the party's American Express records and seven years worth of party payments to political action committees and committees of continued existence.

In the criminal case, Greer's attorneys are set to depose at least five party insiders next week in Tallahassee, according to court records. On Thursday, they're to question Haridopolos; Pat Bainter, a pollster and political consultant; Meredith O'Rourke, a highly-paid party fundraiser who resigned under pressure from Greer; and Brian Ballard, a lobbyist.

On Friday, they're to depose Marc Reichelderfer, a lobbyist.

rstutzman@tribune.com or 407-650-6394.
 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/crime/os-greer-civil-suit-challenge-20111109,0,6330656.story