Greer accuses dissidents of treason, slander and libelby Dara Kam | December 21st, 2009
Republican Party of Florida Jim Greer, under fire from GOP discontents trying to oust him from his post, removed the party’s grievance chairman Tony DiMatteo from the committee set to deal with a complaint about the party infighting.
Greer accused dissidents of “treason,” “slander” and “libel” in a letter to party leaders.
In the letter, Greer, handpicked by Gov. Charlie Crist, warns he won’t back down from his leadership spot despite efforts by what he calls Marco Rubio backers to get rid of him.
Greer flexed his political muscles this year when he tried to use a parliamentary procedure to hamper former state House Speaker Marco Rubio’s candidacy to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez. Crist had jumped into the Senate race in May, garnering Greer’s support immediately.
That transformed what had been a whisper campaign against Greer into a petition from some party faithfuls to get Greer to resign.
Not going to happen, Greer said in the letter.
DiMatteo was head of the committee that is set to rule on a complaint about the petition, which DiMatteo – who hails from Crist’s own Pinellas County – signed.
“A grievance has been filed against RPOF Vice Chairman Allen Cox and it is my intention to refer it to the Grievance committee today. As you were a signatory on his recent petition against me I feel as though you cannot be impartial during this meeting and as all RPOF Committee Chairmen serve at the pleasure of the state party Chairman, I am removing you as Chairman of the Grievance Committee and urge you to recuse yourself from the upcoming Grievance Committee meeting. I am appointing Doug Adkins as the new Chairman of the Grievance Committee,” Greer wrote to DiMatteo in an e-mail.
Cox is circulating the petition seeking Greer’s ouster and is accused of leaking information regarding the party’s finances to a newspaper. The complaint, filed by Dixie County GOP chairman and executive committee member John Friskey, alleges that Cox showed ”a blatant disregard for party rules by releasing a misleading document with financial numbers that do not represent the RPOF financial status, and his actions have severely harmed our party’s reputation, the reputation of our Chairman and our chances of winning in 2010.”
DiMatteo, a former Pinellas County GOP chairman, endorsed Rubio earlier this year. Ironically, Greer appointed him to head the grievance committee to purge the party of dissidents who filed a series of complaints against party leaders.
Greer had harsh words for those seeking his removal, including “libel,” “slander” and “treason.”
He said he has the support of the majority of Republicans as evidenced by a 25-2 vote of confidence earlier this month by the executive board. (Palm Beach County state committeeman Peter Feaman was one of the two No votes).
“What I do not enjoy is the support of one of the Republican primary campaigns for the United States Senate,” Greer wrote, meaning Rubio.
“What has transpired in the last week has been nothing short of slander and libel by a group of people bent on the destruction of the Republican Party. A coordinated campaign of misinformation, complete with late night phone calls and e-mails filled with rumors and innuendo, all in attempt to create the appearance of chaos at a time when the party is laser-focused on defeating Democrats,” he went on.
Greer also names some of those he wants to get mum.
“I call upon Allen Cox, Allison DeFoor, Peter Feaman, Bob Starr and the other stakeholders in this primary to end this ridiculous interparty bickering,” he wrote.
DeFoor, a former RPOF vice chairman, wasn’t intimidated by Greer’s harsh words.
“Truth is an absolute defense. Bring it on,” he said.
Many of those dissatisfied with Greer are unhappy about party spending and the lack of reserves which they say were substantial when he took over and now are in the red.
GOP moneyman and former RNC finance chairman Al Hoffman wrote Greer a scathing letter earlier this month demanding he step down and saying he and other donors won’t give to the party until he does.
In the letter, Greer said he’ll meet with any donor and talk about the party’s finances.
Greer finishes up with a threat.
“Finally, I would offer a gentle but firm warning. Several of my opponents have told me that they will continue this attack on my character until I acquiesce to their demands. I would tell them that a person’s reputation is precious, and that I will use every resource in my command to actively protect mine. Hateful lies intended to hurt my family are certainly not part of Reagan’s 11th commandment, I will not stoop to their disgraceful level instead I will stay focused on winning elections,” he wrote.