Pinellas County Republican Party of Florida official Tony DiMatteo has been appointed the chairman of the RPOF “grievance committee,” the body appointed by state party boss Jim Greer to “purge the party of the dissidents.” as Greer stated in a Palm Beach Post article (State GOP “impotent,” former chairman says) posted today.
The “party purge” began two weeks ago when Florida’s top African-American GOP leader, Winter Park attorney Deon Long, was abruptly removed from his position on the Orange County Republican Executive Committee and according to a letter from Greer “banned for life” from the Republican Party.
Long’s sin: challenging current Greer ally Lew Oliver for Chairman and then challenging the election result (Oliver ran the election, counted the ballots and declared himself the winner by one vote 122-121-2 after “disqualifying” 19 Long supporters the night of the vote.)
The purge continued yesterday with a “hearing” against Orange County GOP committeeman Nick Egoroff, a prominent Ron Paul meetup organizer and member of the Republican Liberty Caucus and Ax the Tax Chairman Doug Guetzloe, an elected member of the Orange county REC for 29 years.
The meeting began with DiMatteo literally “throwing out their own rules on evidence and witnesses,” stated Guetzloe. “When we showed up we found out that Lew Oliver was allowed to bring 10 witnesses with him and reams of ‘evidence’ to be submitted at that moment without any prior disclosure as required by the RPOF rules. The rules required that Oliver submit to us all evidence; witnesses and statements five (5) days prior to the hearing – not only did we not receive any of this in advance – but we were never told we could bring any evidence or witnesses with us.”
Egoroff and Guetzloe have retained First Amendment Attorney Fred O’Neal to represent them in this effort. It was quickly shown to be an uneven playing field when Mr. O’Neal’s court reporter was thrown out of the room before the “hearing” got underway, with RPOF legal counsel stating that there would be “no recording or transcript of the meeting,” thus violating the Florida Rules of Evidence that allow transcripts of any quasi-legal proceeding to preserve the right to appeal with a complete record. “Apparently RPOF wants no record of the meeting and RPOF also banned any of us from recording the meeting,” Guetzloe stated.
“Not being allowed to bring any evidence or witnesses was one thing, but then allowing Mr. Oliver to bring witnesses and present evidence instantly showed us that without a doubt, this is a party purge and it was a rigged operation,” Guetzloe stated.
Currently Greer has up to forty “grievances” against outspoken party leaders of which the common denominators are: Marco Rubio supporters; Draft Dockery for Governor supporters (Guetzloe and Egoroff are Co-Chairmen for that effort); open primary supporters; Republican Liberty Caucus members and Ron Paul supporters, thirty of these have not yet been submitted to the star chamber.
Brevard County REC Chairman Jason Steele was singled out for simply opposing Greer’s efforts to invoke RPOF Rule 11 that would have forced local REC’s to endorse his choices for the US Senate and Governor in advance of the 2010 GOP Primary. The grievance committee will consider another seven (7) removals this weekend.
“The grievances against me included: using my radio show, The Guetzloe Report, to oppose the party purge; speaking out against Lew Oliver and supporting Deon Long for party positions – all clearly my rights under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights,” Guetzloe stated.
“We have since learned that Mr. DiMatteo has a record of opposing party inclusion as shown by this video and statement where he threatened other party leaders with personal violence:”
Daily Paul reports
Tony DiMatteo threatens bodily harm to Ron Paul supporter
December 1, 2007
She called Tony DeMatteo on Thursday to take issue with the unethical way the straw poll was conducted and the fact that she purchased a block of tickets only because of the information the REC provided her, to learn that the information was false. Tony DiMatteo then told Sophie ” it is too bad for you and if you start any trouble you will be hurt”.
Sophie, shocked, upset and concerned from being threatened called Clearwater Meetup Organizer Paul Bourgeois. Paul had previously talked to Tony about all of the rule changes. Tony made it clear that Paul BETTER not take it any further or it would make us (Ron Paul Supporters) look real bad.
Physically intimidating and threatening people are completely unacceptable behaviors. Tony DeMatteo’s actions needs to be addressed by the Republican leadership and the Pinellas county REC members.
Tony DeMatteo is the Chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Party.
UPDATE: More here.
“After the verbal presentations by Egoroff, Guetzloe and O’Neal, the committee went into “Executive Session” and removed everyone from the room and then voted to ban both of us from the Republican Party for allegedly supporting “special meetings” of the REC so that business could be conducted. To date, Lew Oliver has not had one meeting since his election in that a quorum was present. We used existing GOP party rules to have a special meeting by petition, a meeting that Lew Oliver called, wrote and threatened individuals to ‘not attend,’” Guetzloe stated.
“We understand from sources that were present during the closed meeting of the committee that the vote was unanimous to remove Mr. Egoroff and myself from the Republican Party, a move that will be challenged in court,” Guetzloe stated. “This is just the beginning of this battle, the first shot.”
Lew Oliver is currently facing several criminal complaints filed against him by Orange County Republican Executive Committee member Keith Recine with various law enforcement entities for allegedly “co-mingling” contributions to the party and for writing $14,000 in checks to himself without any documentation.
Additionally, according to court filings, Oliver is pursuing the taking the “jewelry and antiques” from the wife’s of two fellow Republican leaders – State RPOF member Jim Stelling and State Representative Chris Dorworth, all three were involved in the collapse of a multi-million dollar land deal recently.