By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
When reached at the Harris campaign office, DeBord denied having any knowledge about Jordan and Crist. "I have no knowledge of anything," she said, obviously perturbed at the questions. "I know nothing about that. It is not my business."
Vass, meanwhile, happens to be a very good friend of state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who was Crist's opponent in the primary. Not only has Vass flown Gallagher on campaign stops, but he has also given the politician flying lessons, and the two men have considered business ventures together.
"I was thinking how to expose this," Vass says frankly. "I told Tom [Gallagher] about it, and he said, 'That's what we all suspected. I don't know what we could do with this information.' I said, 'I don't either Tom. All I can do is tell you what I heard.'"
Vass said he also told Harris of Jordan's claim while the two were at the Pompano Beach Airport. Harris, who has said she dated Crist many years ago, told him she "had no idea" about the relationship, he says.
"She said it was a shock to her, and I honestly believe that," Vass told me. "[Harris] said that she and Charlie dated in the past and that during that time she went home and took a lot of cold showers."
Vass did a background check and discovered that Jordan was a felon who had stolen money from two organizations that employed him, including the Tallahassee-based Florida Funeral Home Directors Association, where Jordan served as executive director.
The pilot took that information to Steve Andrews, a Tallahassee attorney and Gallagher backer. And that ultimately led to Jordan's ouster from the campaign and an August 11 article in the Miami Herald about Jordan's ties to Harris and his friendship with Crist, with no mention of a possible romantic relationship.
Ultimately, a private detective in Tallahassee, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, took the sworn statements of both Vass and Hall. The P.I. indicated that he had been investigating Crist for several months. He wouldn't reveal who hired him for the job.
Rumors abounded that Crist would be outed prior to the September 5 primary, but it never happened. Sources say that Gallagher ultimately decided not to do anything with the information, fearing what it would do to the Republican Party and his own political career.
Sources, however, also say that the Hall videotape was released to a veteran St. Petersburg Times reporter, but the newspaper chose not to publish a story.
I became aware of Jordan two weeks ago when a source revealed that Wetherington, who also worked on the Harris campaign, had identified him as Crist's long-term partner. It was only after that story was published that sources came forward about Dee Dee Hall and Vass.
There is no known tie between those two and Wetherington, who has reportedly left the state until next week's election; the pilot says he never met him and didn't recognize the picture that ran on the New Timeswebsite.
I have been unable to contact Jordan, but his father, Albert Jordan, confirmed to me that his son and Crist were friends. Bruce Jordan was known by many to be friends with Crist. In 2003, Jordan, as executive director of the funeral directors' group, used his friendship with Crist to persuade him to appear at the group's annual conference, when Gov. Jeb Bush canceled on short notice. Last week, however, Crist not only denied to me that he had a sexual relationship with Jordan but also that he has ever had sex with a man in his life. One denial, however, that seems particularly dubious is his contention that he doesn't remember ever meeting Jordan at all, especially considering recent photographic evidence. The two men were definitely at the same function on August 5 at, of all places, the annual Possum Festival in Wassau, a tiny town on the Panhandle.
At the festival were numerous politicians, including Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Rod Smith and Jim Davis and both Harris and Crist. Vass recalls flying Harris and her travel aide, Jordan, to the festival, but the pilot didn't accompany them to the event.
The private investigator, however, says he was there. And he snapped several photographs of Jordan, including one which allegedly shows the two men greeting each other. Crist is grinning at the man alleged to be Jordan, whose back is to the camera. A black backpack he was carrying is visible and his distinctive bald spot is evident, however. At the end of her sworn statement, Dee Dee Hall positively identified the man in the photograph as Jordan.
"Jordan was following Crist everywhere he went at the possum festival," the P.I. told me. The investigator said that it was obvious the two men knew each other. But still there is no proof of a sexual relationship between them, just two witnesses who swear that Jordan told them of the relationship. Similarly, a pair of sources also say Wetherington made claims of a sexual liaison with Crist, though Wetherington has denied it.
Max Linn, the Reform Party candidate who made a splash at Monday's gubernatorial debate, has said repeatedly that Crist has admitted to him on twice that he is at least bisexual [see "Charlie Crist Is NOT Gay," Julia Reischel, October 19]. And Linn is a multimillionaire financial planner who for years was a Republican insider and bankroller.