In order to facilitate your ability to track the story, we’ve pulled out key individuals related to the story, both elements of the apparent federal investigation into Gaetz and the investigation and activities of Greenberg, from which the Gaetz probe apparently originated. Names underlined below are themselves described elsewhere in the glossary.
Alford, Stephen. Alford is part of a group of men hoping to free former FBI agent Robert Levinson from captivity in Iran. As part of that effort, the group approached Matt Gaetz’s father Don Gaetz for funding, a request that the younger Gaetz later alleged was part of an extortion attempt. Alford had twice previously been convicted of fraud.
Ball, Luke. Ball was Matt Gaetz’s spokesman until his resignation last week.
Beshears, Halsey. Beshears is a former Republican state legislator and member of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-Fla.) administration until his resignation in January for health reasons.
According to the New York Times, he was reportedly on a plane that flew from the Bahamas to Florida following a trip funded by Jason Pirozzolo and that also reportedly included Matt Gaetz and female escorts.
Beute, Brian. Beute is a teacher at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, Fla.
In October 2019, he filed to run for tax collector of Seminole County, the position then held by Joel Greenberg. Shortly afterward, the school’s headmaster asked him about anonymous complaints alleging that he was a White supremacist and had acted inappropriately with a student.
An investigation later allegedly identified Greenburg’s fingerprints on the envelopes in which the anonymous notes had arrived. This formed the basis of the first federal indictment against Greenberg.
Brodeur, Jason. Brodeur is an associate of Matt Gaetz’s who last year won election to the Florida state Senate as a Republican. The New York Times reported on Thursday that Gaetz and lobbyist Chris Dorworth had discussed finding a third-party candidate to run as well, potentially splitting the vote and facilitating Brodeur’s victory. A third-party candidate, Jestine Iannotti, did run.
Dorworth, Chris. A former member of the state legislature, Dorworth now works as a lobbyist with Ballard Partners. The New York Times reports that he and Matt Gaetz discussed finding a third-party candidate to run for the Florida state Senate, potentially boosting the chances of their ally Jason Brodeur. A third-party candidate, Jestine Iannotti ran and was supported by mailers sent to Democratic voters in the district.
Elmore, Erin. Elmore is a former contestant on “The Apprentice” and surrogate for Donald Trump who now works for the consulting firm Logan Circle Group, which is representing Matt Gaetz. On Thursday, Politico reported that she had threatened to sue their reporters for their coverage of Gaetz.
Eskamani, Anna. Eskamani is a Democratic member of the Florida state House. Earlier this month, she shared an odd voice mail that Matt Gaetz and Joel Greenberg had left her on July 4, 2019.
In it, Greenberg says that he and Gaetz were “just chatting about you and your lovely qualities,” at which point Gaetz chimes in: “We think you’re the future of the Democratic Party in Florida!”
Gaetz, Don. Don Gaetz is a former Republican elected official in Florida and the father of Matt Gaetz. He made millions of dollars selling a chain of hospice facilities.
Gaetz, Matt. Gaetz, a Republican, was elected to represent Florida’s First Congressional District in 2016 and reelected in 2018 and 2020. Before serving in Congress, he served in the Florida legislature as his father, Don Gaetz, had previously.
Gaetz and Joel Greenberg have been friends for several years.
Greenberg, Joel. Greenberg was elected as tax collector in Seminole County, Fla. in 2016, defeating the incumbent, Ray Valdes. Greenberg ran on an anti-corruption platform. He served in the position until June of last year, when he resigned following his arrest on charges related to his allegedly attempting to smear Brian Beute, a potential political opponent.
Other indictments followed, alleging that Greenberg had abused his office, falsified driver’s licenses, fraud, bribery, theft and, most seriously, engaged in sex trafficking of minors.
Hawkins, Barbara. Hawkins was pulled over for speeding in December 2017 by an SUV with white lights. A man emerged with a badge around his neck and chastised her for driving too fast.
The man was Joel Greenberg and the badge one that was issued to him as county tax assessor. The state attorney in the district declined to press charges against Greenberg for impersonating a police officer.
Hill, Harlan. Hill is a well-known personality in conservative media, former surrogate for Donald Trump and the director of a D.C.-based consulting firm called Logan Circle Group. That firm is representing Matt Gaetz during the current scandal.
Last year, Hill was booted from Fox News after disparaging Vice President Harris.
Iannotti, Jestine. Ianotti sought election to the Florida state Senate in 2020, running as an independent against a Democrat and Republican Jason Brodeur. Brodeur is an ally of Matt Gaetz, and the New York Times reported that Gaetz and lobbyist Chris Dorworth had discussed finding a third-party candidate to boost his candidacy.
Iannoti does not appear to have done much campaigning. Democrats in the district, however, received mail advocating for her election. One of the few donors to Iannoti’s campaign told the Orlando Sentinel that he was not aware of the contribution.
Kent, Bob. Kent is a former Air Force intelligence officer and one of the men that Matt Gaetz alleges was trying to extort him over the federal investigation into Gaetz. In an interview on CNN, Kent claimed that he had sought funding from Gaetz’s father Don Gaetz for an operation intended to free a former FBI officer being held in Iran, Robert Levinson. To encourage Gaetz to provide money for that effort, Kent admits that he told the elder Gaetz that he might be able to help deal with Matt Gaetz’s investigation.
“If the allegations are true, he’s in need of some goodwill from the government,” Kent said.
Levinson, Robert. Levinson is a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and whose family has declared dead. Two former government employees, Bob Kent and David McGee, working with Stephen Alford, developed a plan to rescue Levinson, who they believe may still be alive. To fund that effort, they sought money from Don Gaetz, which Matt Gaetz has presented as an extortion effort.
McGee, David. McGee is a former Justice Department official who now is in private legal practice. During an interview with Tucker Carlson last month, Matt Gaetz alleged that McGee was involved in a plot to extort money. McGee, Bob Kent and Stephen Alford were reportedly trying to develop a plan to rescue a former FBI agent being held in Iran, Robert Levinson, and approached Gaetz’s father Don Gaetz for funding.
Murphy, Devin. Murphy was Matt Gaetz’s legislative director until he resigned last Friday. According to the New York Times, he told colleagues that he left because he “was interested in writing bills, not working at TMZ.”
Pirozzolo, Jason. Pirozzolo is a doctor and a well-connected donor in Republican politics. He has in the past hosted Matt Gaetz at events related to his work promoting medical marijuana and donated to both the congressman and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). At an event at Pirozzolo’s house in support of DeSantis in 2018, both Gaetz and Joel Greenberg spoke, according to the New York Times.
CBS News reported this week that federal investigators were probing a trip to the Bahamas in 2018 or 2019 that Pirozzolo funded and which reportedly included both Gaetz, Halsey Beshears and female escorts.
Also in 2019, Gaetz recommended to DeSantis that Pirozzolo be nominated to either serve as state surgeon general or to serve on the Orlando airport oversight authority. Pirozzolo was appointed to that latter position.
Sabatini, Anthony. Sabatini is a Republican member of the Florida state House who had been contracted by Joel Greenberg’s office in September 2019 to provide legal services at a rate of $3,000 a month. After receiving payments of $7,500, the contracts were canceled.
A county audit was unable to determine what services were provided for the money. Sabatini told the Orlando Sentinel that he’d been defending Greenberg in wrongful termination lawsuits.
Scheller, Fritz. Scheller is Joel Greenberg’s current attorney. On Thursday, he attracted national attention after being asked if his client’s reported decision to cooperate with federal investigators was bad news for Matt Gaetz.
“I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today, all right?” he replied.
Stone, Roger. Stone is a longtime Republican Party activist, notorious for his no-holds-barred approach to winning elections. He was a close adviser to Donald Trump for years.
He has also been linked to both Matt Gaetz and Joel Greenberg, in social media posts from both politicians and joining them at fundraisers. He also joined Gaetz at a 2017 medical marijuana conference in Florida run by Jason Pirozzolo.
Trump, Donald. Trump is the former president of the United States and, in that position, had repeatedly championed Matt Gaetz. After the New York Times reported that Gaetz had been trying to obtain a blanket pardon from Trump, Trump released a brief statement denying that Gaetz had asked him directly.
Unidentified employee of Seminole County assessor’s office. An employee of Joel Greenberg’s office told the Orlando Sentinel that security footage recorded several years ago showed Greenberg and Matt Gaetz entering the office after hours on a weekend.
“The person said the footage showed Greenberg and Gaetz walking into the Tax Collector’s Lake Mary office on Primera Drive,” the Sentinel reported. “Greenberg was seen going through baskets where driver’s licenses, turned in by residents for disposal, were stored and later went into a backroom, the person said.”
This is significant because one of the charges that Greenberg faces is that he took driver’s licenses meant to be destroyed and used them to create alternate identities. When he was arrested in June 2020, authorities reportedly found fake IDs he’d created.
Unidentified Small Business Administration employee. A federal indictment alleges that Joel Greenberg bribed an employee of the Small Business Administration with $3,000 to facilitate the receipt of more than $400,000 in loans meant to aid small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. The businesses that received the money were ones that had gone dormant several years prior — but which Greenberg allegedly resurrected less than a week after his initial June 2020 arrest. The loan applications allegedly falsely claimed that his businesses had employed 12 people.
Unidentified teenager. On Thursday, the Daily Beast reported that Matt Gaetz had sent Joel Greenberg $900 hours before Greenberg paid three young women $900 using the cash payment app Venmo. The payments from Greenberg were identified as being for “tuition” and “school.” The implication of the report is that, at a minimum, the young women were receiving payment through “sugar daddy” relationships in which Gaetz and Greenberg are alleged to have participated. One of the unidentified young women had turned 18 only months earlier and now works in the porn industry.
The Daily Beast also reported that both Gaetz and Greenberg are connected on Venmo with a woman who Greenberg had sent money using a taxpayer-funded credit card.
Valdes, Ray. Valdes was the incumbent Republican tax assessor in Seminole County, Fla. who Joel Greenberg opposed in 2016. Valdes’s bid for reelection was tarnished by reports that he’d unethically profited from his position.
“It’s disgusting because he’s using his position to get rich,” Greenberg complained at the time.