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Nancy Smith

FAU, Steer Clear of George LeMieux

January 7, 2014 - 6:00pm

Why would anybody want to reward George LeMieux's bad behavior with a university presidency?

This is the same George LeMieux who misled Charlie Crist when he was governor, wrung a Senate appointment out of him -- some say "extorted" it out of him -- then turned on Crist to back his rival, Marco Rubio.

Now, before you jump all over me, I'll give LeMieux the credit he's due. Certainly he is a man of formidable talent and intellect, acknowledged by friend and foe alike as an excellent lawyer, public speaker and debater -- except in the case of one incident I remember well. I'm sorry, talent and oratory are not enough.

LeMieux is also profoundly sleazy -- a side to the man that would never serve an institution of higher learning well.

A university like FAU, one with such potential, such a proud alumni but still needy for money, for community connection and for a leader who can interact with divergent constituent groups, would, I believe, come to regret George LeMieux.

There's just so much evidence of his really bad character. It's piled up like a garbage tip around the Jim Greer scandal. And the felonious former Republican Party of Florida chairman's final silence in court didn't make anybody feel easier about LeMieux.

Note that Jim Greer explicitly stated LeMieux was intimately involved in the possible criminal misuse of party funds. In fact, Greer claims LeMieux was the guy who came up with the scheme to allow Greer and Delmar Johnson to set up their political consulting firm in order to siphon off RPOF money and get around campaign finance law in order to support Crists run for U.S. Senate.

LeMieux, by the way, insists he was a simple private citizen at the time, but does anybody buy that? Of course not, and here's why:

LeMieux, who recommended Greer for the RPOF chairmanship, was getting $10,000 a month -- that's 10 grand -- in consultation fees from the RPOF, starting in 2008. You have to ask yourself -- isn't that a heck of a payday for a part-time job in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression? Greer and Crist approved and made possible LeMieux's tidy arrangement. And all kinds of people knew.

Both LeMieux and Crist use the same words when addressing the charges by Greer. Click here to see how LeMieux addresses Greers charges. And click here to see howCrist denied Greers accusations. They're both so very "sad."

If LeMieux gets the job, he'll be dragging more chains around the FAU campus than the ghost of Jacob Marley. Too many folks are unhappy the Gunster lawyer skated through the last 40 months and never got his due.

Even now, a biting commentary in the latest edition of the South Florida Post, "George LeMieux for FAU? No Way, Jose, Atwater Right Choice," refers to "the little Frenchman" as an "ethical stain."

Says the Post -- among much more -- "Seminole money has flowed to LeMieux's Fort Lauderdale law firm Gunster Yoakley after the awarding of a sweetheart compact to the Seminoles -- a vivid example of 'pay-for-play.' Does FAU want this ethical stain on their institution?"

Do you think the South Florida Post, in FAU's backyard, is going away if LeMieux wins the FAU job? I don't either. Watch for the Post and a truckload of reporters in green eyeshades to be watching his every step.

George LeMieux was armpit deep in a scandal that maybe should have put him behind bars right beside Greer. It didn't. But that certainly doesn't mean he should be distinguished with a top university appointment. Not here, not anywhere.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423.

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