LIVE VIDEO: WTLV Live Video_1    Watch
 

Truth Test Green Ad 'Choice'

9:10 AM, Aug 23, 2010   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
  • FILED UNDER

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  This is the second in a series of 'Truth Test' stories Donna Deegan is filing on campaign ads this political season.

Truth Test #2
Jeff Greene Ad Entitled "Choice"

Statement:
Kendrick Meek. A typical politician launching typical attacks.

This is opinion. The fact is Greene has launched far more attack ads on Kendrick Meek than Meek has on Greene.

Documentation provided by the Meek Campaign:

Orlando Sentinel's Jane Healy: Jeff Greene "Is a Special Interest all to Himself."

July 25, Orlando Sentinel columnist Jane Healy: "The argument that their self-financed campaigns make them less vulnerable to being controlled by special interests doesn't make much sense in Greene's case, in particular. He resisted disclosing his tax returns, which would detail his possible conflicts. He is a special interest all to himself."

Statement:
Jeff Greene started with nothing and he's the only Democrat for Senate who has created jobs.

The first part of this statement is true. As the son of a textile machine salesman, Greene did not come from money. He is a self made billionaire.

The second part is false. While, it's clear Greene has created some jobs, Meek can also make the same claim. Greene, through his development and construction businesses, Meek through his work in Congress on the economic stimulus package. Neither has been able to provide a hard number in terms of job creation.

Documentation from the Greene Campaign:

St. Petersburg Times, 7/14/10: Jeff Greene Has Created Many Businesses and Jobs: "No question Greene has been an extraordinary success. The son of a struggling textile machinery salesman in Worcester, Mass., he recounts making more money than all his peers shoveling snow at age 8. One summer in Palm Beach County, Greene responded to a newspaper ad for circus ticket sales and quickly blew away his peers. By age 18, Greene was placing ads for sales people to work for him. As a student at Johns Hopkins, he spent summers driving across the country selling tickets and hiring dozens of sales people. ... By the time he graduated from Johns Hopkins, Greene had $100,000 in the bank to pay for Harvard Business School. At Harvard, Greene continued with the circus business and also caught the real estate bug after buying a three-decker apartment building. By the end of his second year, he owned 18 buildings. Greene moved to Los Angeles after graduating from Harvard in 1979 and began acquiring commercial property and thousands of apartment buildings, mostly in California. Other business ventures included investing in a junior sportswear apparel company and starting a company that put on shows around the country."

Documentation from the Meek Campaign:

Tampa Tribune, 9/23/2009: Jeff Greene IS Wall Street: Tampa Tribune: "Greene was a Pioneer in Credit-Default Swaps and Got Out Before the Financial Implosion"

Forbes: Greene the First Person Allowed to Trade Credit Default Swaps, Oct. 6, 2008: "In April 2006, just as the housing market was peaking, Greene convinced Wall Street banks to allow him to trade credit default swaps; he is believed to be the first individual to do so."

Reuters, Warren Buffett: Derivatives a Ticking "Time Bomb" and "Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction," 9/18/2008:  Reuters reported, "Five years ago, billionaire investor Warren Buffett called[derivatives like credit default swaps] a 'time bomb' and 'financial weapons of mass destruction' and directed the insurance arm of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) to exit the business."

Reuters: Credit Default Swaps are Specialized Insurance Designed to Protect Banks from Deadbeat Borrowers That Turned "A Bad Situation Into A Catastrophe," Sept. 18, 2008: "But on Wall Street, specialized insurance known as a credit default swaps are turning a bad situation into a catastrophe. When historians write about the current crisis, much of the blame will go to the slump in the housing and mortgage markets, which triggered the losses, layoffs and liquidations sweeping the financial industry. But credit default swaps -- complex derivatives originally designed to protect banks from deadbeat borrowers -- are adding to the turmoil.

Palm Beach Post, June 1:"Greene Says He's A Democrat; Voter Registration Records Paint a Different Picture:" Despite assertions by Greene that, "My parents raised me on Democratic principles and values," his voter registration history going back to 1977 told a different story:

"Records from Palm Beach County and California going back to 1977 show Greene spent most of that time registered with no party affiliation and was once a Republican before moving back to Florida in 2008 and registering as a Democrat... As a 23-year-old in December 1977, Greene registered to vote with no party affiliation and listed an address in Century Village of West Palm Beach, the retirement community where his mother still lives. In February 1982, Greene registered to vote in Los Angeles County, Calif. Asked on the voter registration form to choose a political party, he bypassed the boxes for Republican, Democrat and other parties and checked "Decline to State." Sometime that year, Greene became a Republican. The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office could not find a record of Greene's switch, but Greene ran unsuccessfully in a 1982 Republican primary for a Los Angeles-area congressional seat.

Miami Herald, July 18: "Television spots feature him [Greene] wearing a hard hat at staged construction sites"

St. Petersburg Times: 'Proving How Many Jobs Greene Created Isn't Easy,' July 14: The St. Petersburg Times reported that, "Billionaire Senate candidate Jeff Greene is spending millions on TV and campaign mailers casting himself as the 'proven job creator,' but proving how many jobs he's created isn't so easy." [St. Petersburg Times, 7/14/2010]

St. Petersburg Times: Jeff Greene "Is best known for having made hundreds of millions of dollars with arcane and controversial investments where he effectively bet on widespread mortgage foreclosures - not exactly a big job generator." [St. Petersburg Times, 7/14/2010]

Johnson City Press, Greene Has A Record of Job Destruction, July 28: Sunshine Energy Bankruptcy Means 12 Stores Close, 9 More Set To. On July 28, 2010 the Johnson City Press reported, "A landlord that has closed 12 APPCO convenience stores got U.S. Bankruptcy Court permission to close another nine last week. 

July 20: Greene's Sunshine Energy Has Laid Off Over 40 Workers to Date. On July 20, 2010 the Johnson City Press reported, "Florida papers are trying to sort out the role of Jeff Greene's "Sunshine Energy" in the recent layoffs of more than 40 APPCO store workers in a landlord-tenant dispute with APPCO's former owner. Greene, who faces Kendrick Meek in the August Democratic Senate primary, created Sunshine Energy and multiple subsidiaries last September when he bought APPCO and a Kansas convenience store chain out of separate but related bankruptcies." [Johnson City Press, 7/20/2010]
Johnson City Press: Greene Misled the Miami Herald About No Longer Holding an Ownership Interest in Sunshine Energy Now Claims Another "Misunderstanding." On July 20, 2010, the Johnson City Press wrote, "Greene has told the Miami Herald he no longer has a financial interest in Sunshine, but paperwork filed in the bankruptcy and a statement in court here Monday by Sunshine's chief financial officer both conflict with Greene's statement to the Herald. Monday evening, a Greene campaign spokesman attributed the discrepancy to a misunderstanding." [Johnson City Press, 7/20/2010]
Johnson City Press: "Jeff Greene certainly appeared to still have an interest in APPCO's fate." On July 20, 2010, the Johnson City Press reported, "According to an affidavit filed in the bankruptcy case, Jeff Greene certainly appeared to still have an interest in APPCO's fate June 7, five days after the store repossessions began. The affidavit by Jeff Benedict, the former CEO of APPCO who still works for MacLean, includes the transcript of a voicemail message Jeff Greene allegedly left for Benedict that day... In his affidavit, Benedict states that in the message, 'Mr. Greene states numerous times that bankruptcy will be filed for the purpose of stopping the evictions and to get a stay.'" [Johnson City Press, 7/20/2010]

Statement:
But Meek? The Times says he should be investigated.

This true, but it's important to point out that the May 24 St. Petersburg Times article the Greene campaign uses as a source is an editorial report. It's not a news report. It refers to Meek's efforts to secure millions of dollars for a developer who gave his mother, former Congresswoman Carrie Meek, tens of thousands of dollars.

We should also point out that this week the St. Pete Times endorsed Meek over Greene in this race. Both articles are attached.

Documentation provided by the Greene Campaign:

Editorial in St. Petersburg Times, May 24: "Meek's situation goes to the heart of public trust. With taxpayer money, he helped out the guy who was making sure his mother had a big payday and drove a very nice ride. The Miami-Dade police public corruption bureau should investigate if it is not already, and the House ethics committee should open an inquiry. At best, there is an appearance of impropriety in the relationship between Kendrick Meek and Stackhouse. Meek's denials are not credible, and it will take more digging by investigators to get closer to the truth."

Statement:
The Sentinel calls him "corruption tainted"

This is true. Again, this is a commentary by a conservative columnist. It's not a news article. But it does refer to the same developer relationship mentioned in the St. Pete editorial.

Documentation provided by the Greene Campaign:

Sun-Sentinel, "Corruption-tainted Kendrick Meek has no shot in Florida's U.S. Senate race," June 5: "Kendrick Meek got a $72,750 earmark for a project Stackhouse wanted to build in Miami's Liberty City. He tried but failed to get Stackhouse another $4 million after that. He might have tried again but Stackhouse was arrested last year, charged with stealing almost $1 million in project funds. The Miami Herald reported back in 2007 that Stackhouse didn't have the financing, experience or tenants to pull off the deal. All he had were lobbyists and political connections. The development never got off the ground. It all smells like road kill on an August afternoon. Meek claims he didn't know about the financial deals with his mother and the aide. Perhaps I wouldn't be so skeptical if Carrie Meek was not a longtime congresswoman from South Florida, who bequeathed her seat to Kendrick in 2002. At the time, he was a longtime state legislator. These people are neither dumb nor amateurs. This taints the entire Democratic Party, whose campaign theme this year relies on exploiting corruption in the Florida Republican Party."

Documentation provided by the Meek Campaign:

Same Editorial Board - St. Petersburg "Times recommends Kendrick Meek for Democrats for U.S. Senate." On Aug. 1, 2010 the St. Petersburg Times Editorial Board explained, "Based on his clear voting record and his well documented commitment to the state, the Times recommends Meek." They concluded, "Democrats should stick with the politician they know rather than bet blindly on a wealthy investor who bought his way into the race and has no public record. In the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, the Times recommends Kendrick Meek." [St. Petersburg Times Editorial Board, 8/1/2010]
Meek: "For two hours I met with the Herald's editorial board on this matter. Local authorities have investigated this project for three years, but I was not contacted." [Kendrick Meek, Orlando Sentinel, 6/10/2010]
Greene Cites Frequent Critic of Democrats in Orlando Sentinel Without Mentioning Article is an Opinion. In his attack ad on Kendrick Meek, Greene cites "Orlando Sentinel, 6/5/2010" stating that "Corruption-Tainted Meek Has No Shot in Florida's US Senate Race." However, Greene fails to cite the fact that this article represents the merely the view of an opinion columnist, Mike Thomas, which the Sentinel's website in the dateline calls a "Commentary." [Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel, 6/5/2010]
Does Greene Embrace Thomas' Repeated Calls for Off-Shore Oil Drilling in Florida?
April 1, 2010: Thomas Called for More Oil Drilling Florida. [Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel, 4/1/2010]
April 23, 2009: Thomas: Off-Shore Drilling in Florida is a "Golden Opportunity." Thomas added that House Speaker Dean Cannon's ploy to open Florida's coasts to drilling was a great idea. Adding, "The only shameful ploy I see in this drilling debate is opponents using outdated scare stories about oil-coated shorelines destroying our 'pristine' beaches." [Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel, 4/23/2009]
July 30, 2009: Thomas: "Some in Congress now want to bribe Florida into accepting offshore oil and gas rigs. I'm good with that." [Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel, 7/30/2009]
Does Greene Agree That Rubio's Call for Privatizing Social Security "Shows Guts?"

March 30, 2010: Thomas: "Rubio Shows Guts by Taking on Social Security." [Central Florida Political Pulse, 3/30/2010]
Greene's Company Charged With Defrauding Disabled and Needy. On July 13, 2010, the St. Petersburg Times reported:
Greene's company, California All-Star Productions, was supposed to share money raised with local charities, such as the Jaycees and Kiwanis clubs. But it ran afoul of some attorney generals who accused California All-Stars of doing little for the charities it invoked to sell tickets. The attorney general's office in Wisconsin fined Greene's company $23,000 for allegedly failing to provide tickets to disabled and needy people, as promised. The Maine attorney general filed suit against the company for only giving 4 percent of money collected to charities. [St. Petersburg Times, 7/13/2010

Statement:
An independent ethics watchdog called him one of the eleven most "crooked" candidates in America.

This is true. Meek did make the list. But you can make that an even dozen. As of this week, Green made it onto the list as well.
In fact in all, five candidates running for office in Florida are on the list. We've attached it here.

This is true. Meek did make the list. But you can make that an even dozen. As of this week, Green made it onto the list as well. In fact in all, five candidates running for office in Florida are on the list. We've attached it here.

Documentation provided by the Greene Campaign:

Kendrick Meek One of Top Eleven "Most Corrupt." In July 2010, the independent "Concerned Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington" released a list of the top eleven most corrupt federal candidates. Kendrick Meek was one of only two Democrats who made their list. They highlighted his lobbying for indicted donor Dennis Stackhouse's biopark that never was built, his numerous conflicts of interest due to his ties to Wackenhut security, and even how he skipped the democratic process to inherit his Congressional seat in the first place.

 
Documentation provided by the Meek Campaign:

Jeff Greene Named To Same CREW List He Assails Meek About. On July 30, 2010, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) stated, "Today, CREW announces that Jeff Greene, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Florida, has been added to the [CREW's Crooked Candidates 2010] list."
CREW was already aware of many of Mr. Greene's shortcomings, but after receiving multiple tips on his candidacy, we decided to take a closer look. Mr. Greene's campaign appears to be violating campaign finance laws by not giving complete information about vendors he is using to run his campaign.
...In 2005, a multimillion dollar yacht owned by Mr. Greene dropped anchor on an environmentally sensitive coral reef off the coast of Belize causing major damage. While the case remains open in the country, a government official said that Mr. Greene and the boat's captain could be liable for up to $1.87 million in fines if they ever return to Belize. Mr. Greene claims the incident did not happen, but the St. Petersburg Times unearthed significant evidence that it did. [CREW Press Release, 7/30/2010; CREW Crooked Candidates List, 7/30/2010]
Jeff Greene Paid a DNC Member for "Consulting Services" Days Before Getting His Endorsement. On July 21, 2010, the Associated Press reported:
DNC member Jon Ausman of Tallahassee sent out a blast e-mail June 13 asking people to take a survey on the Senate race saying it "will guide me in making my endorsement choice." The next day, Greene, who's running against Rep. Kendrick Meek for the Democratic nomination, wrote Ausman a $4,000 check for political consultation and strategy. Six days later, Ausman announced his endorsement in another e-mail: Greene. He signed the endorsement e-mail as a DNC member but didn't mention that he was being paid by Greene. [AP, 7/21/2010] 

Statement: The choice?
A corrupt insider denounced by our leading papers
Or a democratic outsider who'll fight for Florida.

This is opinion. Again, Meek has not been charged with anything in relation to the case Greene mentions in the ad, and editorial commentary doesn't count in my book as fact based news reporting.

Documentation provided by the Greene Campaign:

Miami Herald"U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek tied to failed Poinciana Park project fraud case" "As U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek championed a proposed biopharmaceutical complex for Liberty City in 2003, his Miami chief of staff received $13,000 from the project's developer to help the aide buy a house, newly released police records show. The developer, Dennis Stackhouse, is now awaiting trial, accused of stealing nearly $1 million from the failed Poinciana Park project that was supposed to revitalize the blighted Liberty City community. Nothing was ever built. The police records show that Stackhouse engaged in an elaborate campaign to curry favor with Meek as the builder sought the congressman's help in obtaining federal funding for the project. In addition to helping the aide's house purchase, Stackhouse hired Meek's mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, paying her $90,000 in consulting fees and paying for a Cadillac Escalade for her to drive.Meek twice sought congressional earmarks to benefit the project but has insisted that was unrelated to his mother's work for the developer." [Miami Herald, 5/15/10]

Editorial "Meek's Denials Not Credible" "Meek's situation goes to the heart of public trust. With taxpayer money, he helped out the guy who was making sure his mother had a big payday and drove a very nice ride. The Miami-Dade police public corruption bureau should investigate if it is not already, and the House ethics committee should open an inquiry. At best, there is an appearance of impropriety in the relationship between Kendrick Meek and Stackhouse. Meek's denials are not credible, and it will take more digging by investigators to get closer to the truth."

Editorial, St. Petersburg Times, 5/24/10
With Meek as chairman, an economic task force approved two loans to Stackhouse companies totaling more than $5 million. Two years after local leaders unveiled plans for a massive biotech park in Liberty City, Miami-Dade County killed the deal, severed ties with the developer and vowed to recover public money spent on the troubled project. With Meek as chairman, an economic task force approved two loans to Stackhouse companies totaling more than $5 million. Those companies later owed more than $200,000 in late payments. [Miami Herald, 6/26/07]

Miami Herald, 5/14/10
Stackhouse is accused of stealing $1 million from the Poinciana Park where nothing was built. Miami Herald: "The developer, Dennis Stackhouse, is now awaiting trial, accused of stealing nearly $1 million from the failed Poinciana Park project that was supposed to revitalize the blighted Liberty City community. Nothing was ever built.

Documentation provided by the Meek Campaign:

Jeff Greene is a Wall Street Insider and Good Friends with John Paulson Whose Fund Made Billions Off Credit Defaults Swaps.

In his 2009 book, "The Greatest Trade Ever," Wall Street Journal columnist Gregory Zuckerman revealed that "Greene served as an usher at [John] Paulson's wedding." [Zuckerman, The Greatest Trade Ever, 2009, p.132]

CNBC Called Greene "The Man Who Shorted Subprime." On Sept. 24, 2009, the Miami Herald reported: "When [Greene] appeared on CNBC, the printed caption under his image was 'The Man Who Shorted Subprime.'" [Miami Herald, 9/25/2009]

Buffett: Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction I Was Talking Include Credit Default Swaps, a Derivative That Helped Destroyed AIG, Bear Stearns & Lehman. Appearing on The Charlie Rose Show on Oct. 1, 2008, Warren Buffett said that derivatives, which include credit default swaps helped destroy AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. The transcript reads as follows:

CHARLIE ROSE: You have talked about derivatives. Derivatives are, in part, at the core of this problem. Yes?

WARREN BUFFETT: AIG would be doing fine today. It was one of the ten largest companies of the United States in terms of market value, over $200 billion, the most respected insurer in the world. If they never heard of the word derivatives, they would be doing fine. Everybody would be going to work in the morning and they would have no troubles. But they - it was very easy to do, because very tempting to write numbers on little pieces of paper, and you can kind of report the profits you want to, and there`s no limit on it. I mean, there`s no capital requirements to it or anything of the sort. And basically I said they were possibly financial weapons of mass destruction and they have been. I mean, they destroyed AIG. They certainly contributed to the destruction of Bear Stearns and Lehman, although Lehman had other problems too." [The Charlie Rose Show, 10/1/2008]

Greene Stole Shorting Scheme from his Friend Hedge-Fund Manager John Paulson Who Made $15 Billion on the Economic Meltdown.
On Jan. 15, 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported that Paulson gave Greene a peek at his plan in the spring of 2006. However, Greene did not wait for the fund to open and "beat his friend to the punch by doing the same complex mortgage-market trade on his own." The Journal said, "If Mr. Paulson is the pensive, low-key mastermind of the lucrative bearish bet, 53-year-old Mr. Greene is the strategy's most flamboyant exemplar." The Los Angeles Times noted in 2010, Paulson's firm, Paulson & Co. made $15 billion betting that Americans would default on their home mortgages. [Wall Street Journal, 1/15/2008; LA Times, 4/17/2010]

 

 

First Coast News

Most Watched Videos