The apparent corruption and cronyism at the top of the Florida GOP or the Republican Party of Florida runs deep, and it points to one man as being the person ultimately responsible—Chairman Joe Gruters (pictured with Broward Republican officials).
Just this week, The Floridian reported that Gruters has covered up a formal grievance filed against his close friend and current Grievance Committee Chairman Richard DeNapoli, who is the state committeeman in Broward County.
The grievance in question against DeNapoli was filed just as Gruters took office and appointed his friend to head the committee.
The original grievance was filed against DeNapoli and three other Broward Republican Executive Committee members for allegedly breaking their loyalty oath, selling Republican emails for personal gain, and endorsing Democrats over Republicans was filed in September 2018.
Gruters, told several members of the committee to “dismiss” the grievances against DeNapoli and the other two individuals because DeNapoli “didn’t want them to go through,” said a source within the RPOF.
It’s been two years and Gruters has swept the grievance under the rug, refusing to allow the grievance to be heard, while at the same time, quickly pushing through grievances filed against other members of the Republican Party of Florida, including current Broward County Chairman Tom Powers, who has been at odds with DeNapoli.
The grievances filed against Powers come from several of DeNapoli’s close friends and allies, including State Committeewoman Michelle Merrell.
Merrell as you can remember used her official title as state committeewoman to promote a fundraising event with DeNapoli using her recently opened for-profit corporation.
According to a member of the Grievance Committee from Central Florida, who we will protect his or her identity, a Gruters-sanctioned “shit show” of a Zoom hearing was held to hear the complaints filed against the Broward Chairman.
“I don’t understand it, he’s (Powers) seems like such a nice guy,” said the member as he or she questioned why the complaints were being heard. This same member was unaware about the grievance filed against DeNapoli, and questioned why it had not been heard, and also brought up the recent story The Floridian posted about DeNapoli after he allegedly voted twice in two different Florida counties during the 2014 midterm election – an election in which he was a candidate for Florida State Representative, District 74 in Sarasota county.
Interestingly enough, Gruters has been appointed to lead the Republican National Committee’s new Committee on Election Integrity alongside Florida National Committeewoman Kathleen King.
Without divulging too much of the hearing, the RPOF member said that it is now up to Gruters to decide Powers’ fate, and also asked if Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is the leader of the Republican Party of Florida, was aware of Gruter’s apparent ‘corruption’ of refusing to let the complaint filed against his friend be heard while allowing for others to be addressed.
He or she also said they were privy to internal conversations within the RPOF about how Gruters and other top members of the committee were at odds with DeSantis and expressed concern over the apparent Florida GOP corruption taking place.
The relationship between DeSantis and Gruters is said to be a bit rocky, to say the least. The rift between the two men begun back when Gruters first took office. Could the internal strife within the RPOF and the apparent cover-up to protect a friend and committee member by Gruters ultimately serve as a liability for DeSantis's chances for reelection in 2022?