Prison Visit: The Boys in Charlie's Band
Around the State
You've got to love the Democrats' tone-deaf hypocrisy. Neither the Party nor the media can hear the felonious, money-honey band that helped rock Charlie Crist to the top of the charts in his last gubernatorial election. But they sure did pick up on the squeaky little voice of James Batmasian singing "Havin' a Party."
In one of his campaign emails, Democrats' spokesman Joshua Karp called Batmasian, who had just sent out invitations to a Gov. Rick Scott fundraising party, "an ex-felon tax cheat" -- "Birds of a feather ... Rick Scott to fundraise with ex-felon tax cheat" is what Karp said.
Certainly somebody from Scott's campaign should have checked Batmasian out -- just as Marc Caputo wrote in Sunday's Miami Herald. Scott was left to do the only thing he could at that point. Within three hours of liberal website Mother Jones outing Batmasian, Scott cancelled the fundraiser.
Amazing, though, don't you think?
Amazing that Karp & Co. at Democratic headquarters -- the whole bunch of them managing Charlie Crist's campaign -- managed to find James Batmasian, yet have a mental block the size of New Jersey when it comes to their own candidate's felonious friends (FF's).
Three things about Charlie's FF's you should know: 1) All of them were friends in Charlie's mind, real ones, bro types not mere acquaintances. 2) All but one of them had something to do with fundraising for Charlie that got them convicted. And 3) the biggest mind-blower ... there are so freaking many of them. Charlie's slammer pals could make a whole basketball team plus a sub on the bench. Ask yourself, how many people do you know serving time behind bars anywhere? How many people do you know even remotely who have six -- count 'em, six -- friends in a federal slammer (OK, two are waiting to begin serving their time), five because of laws they broke raising money for you?
If that doesn't help Karp and the Dems unblock, maybe a prison visit will.
Let's step inside those cold, gray walls. Allow me to introduce some real "birds of a feather" -- the boys in Charlie's band:
-- Scott Rothstein. Disbarred lawyer, former managing shareholder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the now-defunct Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm. He was accused of funding his philanthropy, political contributions, law firm salaries, and an extravagant lifestyle with a massive $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Before the scheme imploded in 2009, Rothstein and Charlie Crist were in regular and close contact, including the birthday party Rothstein gave for the governor, gifting him with $52,000 -- $1,000 for every candle he blew out. Rothstein was sentenced to 50 years in 2010 and moved from the Federal Detention Center in Miami to an undisclosed location. His inmate number has been removed from the federal prisoner-locater Web page. In every deposition he has given -- including one earlier this year -- he has consistently said he and Charlie had a "quid pro quo arrangement" -- judgeships for favors and donations.
-- Jim Greer. Charlie Crist's close friend and hand-picked chairman of the Republican Party of Florida from 2006 to 2010. Greer was facing a possible 75 years in prison for fraud, money laundering and theft -- including a scheme to take $100,000 from the party for his personal expenses through a fundraising company he created, Victory Strategies LLC. While much evidence supported Greer's claim that Charlie and other top party and political leaders had known of his fundraising contract, Greer chose to end the trial and surprised many by pleading guilty in 2013. His guilty plea saved the Republican Party and many top political leaders -- inadvertently Charlie -- the embarrassment of a trial. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering charges on Feb. 11, 2013, and was sentenced March 27, 2013, to 18 months in prison, in which he would serve 15 of them. Greer said "he (took the guilty plea) for his wife Lisa and five kids and to put the matter behind him."
-- Alan Mendelsohn. Former Hollywood ophthalmologist, GOP fundraiser, lobbyist and adviser to former Gov. Charlie Crist -- was sentenced to four years in prison in 2011 after he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge alleging he was scheming to bilk the U.S. government -- trying to hide $82,000 in political donations. At his peak, Mendelsohn directed hundreds of thousands of dollars into political campaigns. Charlie put him on his gubernatorial transition team in 2006 and he was chief fundraiser for the Florida Medical Association's political action committee.
-- Greg Eagle. The Lee County real estate broker, 63, father of Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, started serving a six-year prison sentence Feb. 8 after pleading guilty to six counts of bank fraud for tricking the First National Bank of Pennsylvania into loaning him $17 million. In 2006, Eagle put $1 million into a third-party political group, Floridians for a Better and Brighter Florida, before the September primary. The money later was transferred to another group that helped Crist secure the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Basically, the story boils down to this: To get himself out of a $19 million hole, Greg mortgaged trust property without the knowledge of the other beneficiaries. He was so much more than a Charlie Crist donor. He and the former governor were tight, especially while Charlie was gunning for the governor's office. Charlie would sometimes stay at Greg's Useppa Island home, and he even hired son Dane to serve as his travel aide.
-- Russell Adler. Another Charlie Crist friend and Scott Rothstein former law partner filed a guilty plea on March 7. Prosecutors said Adler funneled $283,000 in donations to Crist, as well as to the campaigns of former presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin. Prosecutors have painted a picture of the law firm seeking to buy influence with the McCain campaign and the U.S. Senate campaign of Crist, through bundling employee donations -- then unlawfully reimbursing those employees. Adler faces a maximum five years in prison at a June 27 sentencing hearing.
-- Stu Rosenfeldt. Crist buddy and Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein’s second-in-command at the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm was charged in May 2014 by federal prosecutors with conspiracy to commit campaign fraud, bank fraud, and violate human rights. He stands accused of conspiring with Rothstein to have two Broward sheriff's office deputies run a prostitute out of town after her boyfriend threatened to expose the married Rosenfeldt's sexual relationship with her. Also part of the conspiracy was an allegation of bank fraud involving more than $10 million in false checks and a loss of nearly half a million dollars by two area banks. The government also alleges that Rosenfeldt committed campaign finance fraud by making more than $150,000 in contributions to the campaigns of John McCain and Charlie Crist that were illegally reimbursed by Rothstein. Rosenfeldt is cooperating with the government and is expected to plead guilty to the single campaign conspiracy charge for which he faces a maximum of five years in prison.
I have Democrats telling me, well, none of this is our problem, Charlie was a Republican when he attracted so many friends with dirty hands. True, but he's not anymore. Which makes it a little difficult for the Dems to claim the holy ground now. When they accepted Charlie as their headliner, they consented to the whole package, lock, stock and barrel full of felonious friends.
The Florida Democratic Party needs to clean its ears out. Unblock fast. Greer has a book scheduled to come out before the election. Who knows, before all this is over, Charlie's Jailhouse Brigade Band could grow into an orchestra.
Kind of puts Batmasian's fundraiser in perspective, don't you think?
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423.