Things just don't seem to be going well for Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene. Here he was in West Palm Beach yesterday, hoping his stop at a homeless shelter would be a bit of good press as his campaign for U.S. Senate implodes.
But the shelter Greene picked for his photo op probably wasn't a smart political choice. Greene visited Westgate Tabernacle Church, which is operating an illegal homeless shelter.
In May, Westgate lost a long legal battle against Palm Beach County to keep its 75-person homeless shelter open. It's facing more than $200,000 in fines for violating
county statutes, but Bishop Avis Hill says he never shut down the shelter, despite media reports otherwise.
"I haven't stopped, really," he said. "Unfortunately, the demand is so great, I couldn't do that."
Greene campaign spokesman Luis Vizcaino refused to respond to a question about whether he or Greene knew about the shelter's illegal status.
"Jeff believes we need to come together and help the country," Vizcaino said. Asked for a yes or no, Vizcaino repeated the mantra and then hung up.
During the stop at Westgate, Greene responded to accusations about parties on his yacht that featured celebrities, strippers, and drugs (click here for a slideshow of photos from the yacht). A former stewardess on Greene's yacht published this first-person account on the Juice yesterday morning. Hours later, Greene told the Sunshine State News:
"I don't even know who this is [making accusations], but I can tell you, we have a zero-tolerance policy -- always have, always will. Anything to do with anything illegal... there was never drugs or firearms or anything around me or around my yacht."
The stories about Greene's yacht appear to have derailed his campaign. After pulling even with U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek for the Democratic nomination, he's now trailing.
Today, Greene is in Orlando, where he'll visit a restaurant, appropriately named Oh! Que Bueno.