Jim Greer, former Florida GOP Chairman, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday for stealing $125,000 from the state party while serving as chairman.
“You certainly in my opinion egregiously violated a position of trust,” Circuit Judge Marc Lubet said at sentencing, SunSentinel reports. “While you do need to go to prison for this, you don’t need to go for 42 or 46 months.”
Greer was charged with four counts of theft and one count of money laundering. State attorneys pushed for more time, but the judge chose to show mercy. Greer’s one and a half year sentence is two years shorter than the three and a half year term the state had pushed for.
Spectators had come to expect an uglier battle. Back in January, Greer told the Miami New Times:
“It’s going to be a Shakespeaean play where everyone dies in the end. It won’t be good for anybody. People need to know what goes on behind the curtain in the Republican Party, and before the Republicans tried to destroy me, they should have thought about what the consequences were going to be.”
Greer, 50, had created a company called Victory Strategies that brought him and an associate $200,000 of party donations. This theft compounded with criticism that Greer was not doing enough to raise funds. The party raised $5.9 million in 2007. By 2009 that number had dwindled down to $1.3 million. Meanwhile the party continued to spend $5 million, far more than it brought in. Greer was forced out of the party in January 2010 and arrested that June.
Greer had previously claimed innocence and asserted that he was not doing anything other members of the party were not aware of. People expected Greer to seek to bring the party down with him, but before the trail began, Greer plead guilty. The trial did not become an exposé on the inner workings of Florida’s Republican Party.
Greer became the Florida Republican Party’s chairman in January of 2007 and served for three years. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Greer was largely unknown before his rise to the top of the party. He was a deputy mayor of Oviedo picked by then-Governor Charlie Crist to lead the party. This reward came after Greer helped Crist raise more than $400,000 for his 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
Greer may have entered into the Florida GOP Chairman position as an unknown name, but he left it as anything but.
[Featured image via ShutterStock]