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White House Boosts Meek for Florida Seat, Greene Berates His Employees

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is hosting a fundraiser today for Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek’s (D) Senate bid. No one has come right out and said it, but the event is clearly meant to counteract criticism that Obama has offered tepid support, at best, for Meek.

Meek is lagging in polls, both for the November election and for his primary race against billionaire and onetime Republican candidate Jeff Greene. Representatives in Florida and members of the Congressional Black Caucus have argued that the White House’s lack of enthusiasm could be taken as a tacit indication to Democrats that it’s okay to support former Republican governor Charlie Crist, who is now running as an independent in Florida’s senate election.

Despite the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in state voter registration, Crist has consistently led in the polls since dropping his GOP label and becoming an independent, while Meek trails in third behind both Crist and Marco Rubio, the presumtive Republican nominee for Senate.

In fact, Meek is even trailing in his bid to run as the Democrats’ pick for Senate, falling behind his upstart primary opponent in recent polls. Down in Florida, The St. Petersburg Times did some digging and came up with more than a few telling anecdotes about Greene and his treatment of a number of former employees. First, there’s the former chef:

The buzz among Greene employees is that if the Asian or European markets have done poorly overnight, it’s going to be a rough morning because Greene, a screamer, is up all hours monitoring his vast portfolio.

James Battles, Greene’s former personal chef, sued him last year. The suit alleges Greene demanded round-the-clock attention and would berate and humiliate Battles when he sought reimbursement for food paid for out of his own pocket.

Battles said Greene fired him after he was hospitalized for exhaustion before one of Greene’s parties. The settlement is confidential and Greene declined to discuss the case.

Then there’s the former captain of his yacht:

Adam Lambert worked as captain of Greene’s 145-foot yacht, Summerwind, earlier this year.

“He has total disregard for anybody else,” chuckled Lambert, who said he was Greene’s 20th and 22nd Summerwind captain (No. 21 quit after a few hours with Greene).

“I don’t think I ever once had an actual conversation with him. It was always, ‘I should just get rid of you, what f—— good are you? You’re just a f—— boat driver. You’re the third-highest paid employee in my corporation and I should just get rid of you,”’ Lambert, 43, recalled by phone from a yacht in Croatia. “It didn’t bother me. I just felt sorry for the man. He doesn’t seem very happy.”

It’s worth reading the whole profile.

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