Jim Greer’s Much Awaited Book Filled With Salacious Tidbits
By Brandon Larrabee & Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida // June 15, 2014
'manuscript cuts both ways'
ABOVE VIDEO: “The Chairman: The Rise and Betrayal of Jim Greer,” by Peter Golenbock, came out last week.
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – For months, many in the Tallahassee political and media circles have waited to see just what would be in the book chronicling the fall of disgraced former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer.
But when “The Chairman: The Rise and Betrayal of Jim Greer,” by Peter Golenbock, came out this week, there was a question that faced the media and perhaps some campaigns: What do we do with this?
After all, the book is written largely from the perspective of a felon who pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft and one count of money laundering last year.
Like many tell-alls, it is the story of a disgruntled former employee with axes to grind against former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist — who’s now running as a Democrat to get his old job back — and the RPOF.
It’s filled with salacious tidbits about both.
Prominent party officials are caught in unguarded and sometimes vulgar moments. Greer says the party had become “a money-laundering operation.”
Crist is portrayed as a vacillating persona, agreeing to endorse former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, then deciding to stay neutral, then going with U.S. Sen. John McCain.
Crist gravitates towards naming former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney to fill an unexpired Senate term, then has Greer all but offer the job to Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, then gives it to former Crist aide George LeMieux.
And the book zeroes in on the relationship between Crist and his wife, Carole, whom Greer comes to see as “a female Rasputin.”
Several of Crist’s allies were concerned about Carole when the governor began dating her, Greer says, and she’s blamed for engineering the exit of Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac, among other actions.
“Carole’s influence was always lurking in the background, Greer saw; Crist was turning into a Democrat,” the book says.
But there are also obvious issues about the book beyond Greer’s own credibility. It’s rife with inaccuracies, misspelled names and confused timelines.
It asserts of Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and former Attorney General Bill McCollum: “Both Thrasher and McCollum were members of the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party.”
Thrasher has been involved in the GOP establishment for decades, and McCollum’s defeat at the hands of Rick Scott in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary was fueled by tea party support for Scott.
Given that, most observers have treated the book warily. Those news organizations that have covered it have stayed away from the most explosive allegations.
And both the Crist campaign and the RPOF have stayed away from promoting any of the charges in the book, in part because of Greer’s reputation and in part because the manuscript cuts both ways.