TAMPA, Fla. - In early 2013, Florida's Republican Party chairman said he was anxious to fight charges of theft and money laundering and, in the process, expose the lies of his accusers. Then suddenly, hours before jury selection, Jim Greer pleaded guilty and quietly went off to prison for 15 months.
Some suspected Greer was somehow paid off to avoid trial, but author Peter Golenbock says he knows the reason he took a plea deal.
"They told him if he was found guilty of one little thing, he'd go to prison for 10 years. He's got three young children. And he didn't want to roll the dice," Golenbock said.
That's one of many revelations in Golenbock's latest book, "The Chairman: The Rise and Betrayal of Jim Greer."
Golenbock, a St. Peterburg-based author of several acclaimed books on sports and entertainment figures said Greer was railroaded by top members of his own party. The chief betrayer in the title -- then governor Charlie Crist, who appointed Greer as chairman.
When asked what Crist might have to answer to when voters start reading the book, Golenback said, "Disloyalty mostly. That he put his political career in front of the well being of his best friend."
The book is expected to embarrass not just Crist, but other powerful Republican leaders, including Sen. Marco Rubio, who has already faced scrutiny for questionable spending of party funds when he was a state representative.
Republican media consultant Adam Goodman doesn't believe this book on Greer will be the bombshell some expect.
"The problem is he's not believable, not credible and not liked," said Goodman.
Greer will be released from custody next month, and if you think he might be backing Crist's opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, Golenbock has a surprise twist.
"Jim Greer makes it very clear that despite everything that happened to him with respect to Charlie Crist, he still believes that Crist is the better candidate," Golenbock said.
We contacted Crist for comment but didn't hear back Tuesday. Greer, once a millionaire, is finishing his sentence in a halfway house working as a furniture salesman during the day.
His release date from the department of corrections is reportedly July 5.