Matt Gaetz & Other Creatures of the Florida Swamp (with Gal Suburban)
Darkness in the Sunshine State.
Whether he’s cavorting with fellow traitor Marjorie Taylor Greene, campaigning against Liz Cheney in Wyoming, breaching a SCIF, wearing a gas mask to work, adopting a Nestor, making Tucker Carlson uncomfortable, or getting Luckey in love, Matt Gaetz sure knows how to attract attention. But for all of these national-news hijinks, it’s his local behavior in his home state of Florida that will likely be his downfall.
Last March, we learned that Gaetz is under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking. “I only know that it has to do with women,” he said at the time. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to re-categorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
This week, we learned that “that someone” may be one of his ex-girlfriends. As CBS News reported:
Multiple sources told CBS News that the ex-girlfriend and the other woman traveled to the Bahamas with Gaetz in 2018, along with a third woman with whom Gaetz was in a sexual relationship. That third woman was 18 at the time of the Bahamas trip, but investigators are also looking into whether she was 17 when the sexual relationship began.
Investigators are trying to determine if any of the women were paid and were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of sex with the congressman.
Two sources familiar with the matter told CBS News it was Joel Greenberg, a former Florida county tax collector and associate of Gaetz's, who introduced Gaetz to that woman when she was 17 years old. Greenberg pleaded guilty in May 2021 to six federal charges, including trafficking of a minor.
Clearly, whatever happened in the Bahamas is not staying in the Bahamas.
In Florida, the Gaetz family is “royalty,” as ace researcher Gal Suburban explains to me on today’s PREVAIL podcast. Don Gaetz, Matt’s old man, was for ten years the President of the Florida Senate, and continues to wield enormous influence over the local political landscape. Before getting into politics, Don was an owner of VITAS Healthcare, the leading provider of hospice care in the country. (He sold his stake for half a billion dollars in 2004.) Now it’s Matt’s political career that may be in need of end-of-life services.
Matt Gaetz is like a younger version of Donald Trump. He’s arrogant, he’s spoiled, his father was a self-made millionaire who was always around to bail him out when he took things too far, he usually avoids any serious consequences for his rotten actions, he enjoys what used to be euphemistically known as the “playboy lifestyle,” and his friends are gross.
One of those friends—his “wingman,” according to Gal Suburban—was Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector for Seminole County who pleaded guilty in the spring to trafficking of a minor and five other federal charges. Once the owner of electronic billboard company, Greenberg, like Gaetz, grew up rich—he is the son of the owner of a chain of Florida dental offices—and appears to have enjoyed a debauched lifestyle. His term as tax collector was marked by controversy. But what set the entire federal investigation in motion was when he wrote a letter to the school where his political opponent, Brian Beute, worked, falsely accusing Beute of sexual impropriety with his students. Officials in Florida did jack shit about his. As Beute later wrote in the Orlando Sentinel:
During Greenberg’s tenure, two governors, two attorneys general, the chief financial officer and the local State Attorney — all Republicans — stood apathetically mute (with the exception of State Attorney Phil Archer’s failure to prosecute and attorney general Pam Bondi’s non-binding “Informal Legal Opinion”).
Those same elected representatives oversaw state agencies that held direct responsibility for government services throughout the state of Florida, including those under Greenberg’s supervision. The Florida Department of Revenue, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Seminole County Commission (with the exception of Brenda Carey) also largely stood silent.
From 2017 to 2020, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement fielded consistent and multiple complaints about Greenberg. Repeatedly, Greenberg gave the state oversight apparatus and the Republican Party innumerable cause for scrutiny, censure and removal from office. Because of inaction, several individuals and the citizens of Seminole County were victimized by Greenberg and, likely, other associates.
Because Greenberg sent his defamatory letter about Beute to the school in the mail, however, federal law enforcement got involved. Because he licked the stamp, he’s in a world of shit.
The Gaetz-Greenberg saga is a Florida Man story writ large. It involves sleazy local politicians, Ron DeSantis and Roger Stone, hand-surgeon pilots, sex workers, sex trafficking, strange adoptions, bricks of cash, the push to legalize smokable marijuana, an informal ambassador to Belarus, third-party ghost candidates, Hawaiian shirts, Venmo and CashApp, pay for play, Facebook money, oil spills, cryptocurrency named like a Whole Foods competitor, and, because it’s Florida, real estate development deals. And that’s just the stuff we know about. The details yet to emerge may prove even more audacious. Stay tuned.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
S2 E20: Matt Gaetz & Other Creatures of the Florida Swamp (with Gal Suburban)
Florida has been notorious for its colorful characters and its corruption since the first real estate developer set foot there in 1565. Greg Olear talks to the Sunshine State’s own Gal Suburban about Matt Gaetz, Roger Stone, Ron DeSantis, Joel Greenberg, and the other creatures of the Florida swamp. Plus: how can the GRU help YOU?
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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore. U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz speaking with attendees at the 2020 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Great stuff, Thank you, Greg. EO13848 is interesting, but chock full of gobble-de-gook
For the life of me, I do not understand why ANY woman would think this sleazy excuse for a human being is worth a look, much less anything else.