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I Never Met That Guy!

Charlie Crist has tried his best to distance himself from the scandal surrounding Jim Greer, the former Chairman of the RPOF. “I didn’t know anything about this Victory Strategies thing,” Crist told a St. Petersburg Times reporter a day after saying “I do not feel complicit,” despite his close ties to Greer.

Greer’s shell company, Victory Strategies, INC., was being used to siphon money from the Party coffers. Coincidentally, Victory Strategies, LLC was incorporated in such a way as to hide from view the person or persons who are officers of the corporation. To do this, Greer used a law firm to file the necessary paperwork with the state of Florida.

The law firm used was GrayRobinson, P.A. An office manager with the firm, Marie-Anne Luber, is listed on the corporation filings as the contact person at the address of the principal office listed on the filing, which is the office of GrayRobinson, P.A. This seems to be a rather routine procedure on the surface, except it appears that most of work the law firm does is lobbying, not lawyer-ing.

GrayRobinson P.A. is registered as one of the largest lobbying organization in the State of Florida and is the only law firm listed among the top lobbying firms. What ties does this law firm have with Charlie Crist? Prestigious appointments…lots of them. Here’s a brief list:

Marlene Quintana, a shareholder in GrayRobinson’s Miami office, appointed by Crist to the Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, which covers Miami-Dade County.

Edwin A. Scales, III, to the Sixteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, which covers Monroe County. Scales is resident in GrayRobinson’s Key West office.

Jason Unger, shareholder in the Tallahassee office, Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission

R. Lee Bennett, shareholder in the Orlando office, Fifth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Pete Antonacci, shareholder in the Tallahassee office, First District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Kim Vance, 49, of Tampa, attorney with Gray Robinson P.A., reappointed to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council for a term beginning April 9, 2010.

And saving the best for last…….

Lori Rowe, Judge, First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee. Ms. Rowe’s judicial qualifications for the position are, well, none. Although an attorney holding a law degree, she never tried a case prior to her appointment. She was also a member of GrayRobinson P.A.

Kim Vance, 49, of Tampa, attorney, Gray Robinson P.A., reappointed for a term beginning April 9, 2010, and ending October 1, 2012.

Keeping company in these circles, I am having a difficult time believing Charlie Crist, at some social function, wasn’t told about his buddy, his friend, his confidant’s new business venture, Victory Strategies, LLC. It seems plausible that it would have come up in conversation with the management of the firm that filed the paperwork. After all, there appears to be some pretty cozy relationships there.

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