Orlando, Florida -- There is a cloud hanging over the Republican Party of Florida as the GOP gets ready to hold its national convention here in Tampa in August.
It involves former Party Chairman Jim Greer, who was arrested because party leaders allege he secretly paid himself a commission to raise money for the Republican Party. Now a judge has told the Republican Party it must release secret documents so Greer can defend himself... and those documents could have embarrassing information.
Greer was forced out of office to ensure that Marco Rubio would be elected to the Senate instead of former Governor Charlie Crist. Greer maintains there's a smoking gun in the information the party is being forced to release that will exonerate him.
Campaign finance records show the party is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees for some of its top leaders who have been deposed in the case and who will surely be called as witnesses.
Greer is suing the Party for failing to honor a severance agreement and pushing the statewide prosecutor on public corruption to prosecute the former Party Chairman. Greer's attorney maintains the party is fabricating a story that there are plea negotiations under way. Greer's lawyers say that just not true.
State Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine), who succeeded Greer as party chairman, was among the party leaders who signed Greer's severance agreement. Then he, along with the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, lied about ever signing it. Thrasher admitted he signed the agreement, but says he never intended to honor it.
Greer's attorney says although Thrasher is an attorney, he needs to look up the word "fraud."
Some of the documents the court has ordered to be released could show reckless spending by GOP leaders and might have an impact on this November's election.
We contacted the Republican Party and they told us they don't comment on pending ligation. Senator Thrasher's office never called us back.