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Dorworth took polygraph test after Joel Greenberg allegations

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 1/24/2023 Annie Martin, Orlando Sentinel
Chris Dorworth, when he was a Florida state representative, at a meeting at UCF. © George Skene/Orlando Sentinel/TNS Chris Dorworth, when he was a Florida state representative, at a meeting at UCF.

Developer and former lawmaker Chris Dorworth voluntarily took a polygraph exam last September, seeking to refute allegations made by former Seminole Tax Collector Joel Greenberg in a jailhouse interview over the summer.

Dorworth answered three questions during the exam, conducted by a former FBI special agent and polygraph examiner, about allegations that Greenberg made to investigators in the interview spanning three hours at the Orange County Jail.

The topics Dorworth addressed during the exam included whether he ever gave money to consultant Eric Foglesong to aid “third-party candidates” or paid money to former Seminole County GOP Chair Ben Paris to run for office. Dorworth answered no to both questions. The examiner found no indication of deception.

A copy of the polygraph exam and a redacted transcript of Greenberg’s interview have been entered as evidence in the criminal cases against Foglesong and former state Senate candidate Jestine Iannotti, who have pleaded not guilty to charges that they submitted falsified campaign contribution reports to the state and are awaiting trial.

The transcript of Greenberg’s interview became public during the process known as discovery, while Dorworth provided a copy of his exam to the Orlando Sentinel at the paper’s request.

During the June 23 interview, Greenberg told investigators from the 18th Circuit State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that he was present when Dorworth, Foglesong and Sen. Jason Brodeur discussed recruiting a spoiler candidate for Brodeur’s 2020 Florida Senate race. Brodeur, who won the race, has denied knowing about any plan to recruit such a candidate.

Greenberg also told investigators that his wife overheard someone say at Seminole County Republican Executive Committee meeting that a person whose name is redacted from the transcript gave $25,000 to Paris, who was a candidate for the Seminole County Commission in 2020, to run for office. Dorworth told the Sentinel he has not seen an unredacted copy of the transcript, but he believes the name redacted is his.

Dorworth said this week that Greenberg’s allegations are “garbage.”

“He basically just made the entire thing up,” Dorworth said.

Curtis Holleman, a former FBI agent and polygraph examiner, found that Dorworth exhibited “no significant reactions” when answering narrowly worded questions about whether he had provided money to Foglesong for a third-party candidate’s campaign and paid Paris to run for office.

The accusations were among many made by Greenberg against several prominent people during the June interview, which reads like a who’s who of Central Florida elected officials and their allies.

Dorworth said Greenberg exaggerated the closeness of their relationship as he recounted gatherings at a Lake Mary bar and at the home of the person whose name is redacted from the transcript.

“The meetings never took place in the first place and there certainly wasn’t a Joel Greenberg there,” Dorworth said.

While he is not facing charges and is not, to his knowledge, the target of the investigation by the Seminole-Brevard State Attorney’s Office, Dorworth said he volunteered to submit a polygraph test in an attempt to clear his name.

Foglesong and Iannotti are facing felony charges in connection with Central Florida’s 2020 “ghost” candidate scandal. Iannotti, who had no political experience, entered the competitive election to represent Florida Senate District 9, which at the time included all of Seminole County and part of Volusia. They are accused with falsifying Iannotti’s campaign contribution reports, which include the names of people who say they did not give money to her candidacy.

Though Iannotti did not actively campaign for the seat or fundraise, she and independent candidates in two other state senate races in 2020 were promoted as progressives in a mail advertising blitz. Those advertisements were paid for a nonprofit run by political operatives working closely with Florida Power & Light. The utility has denied knowledge of the scheme.

Paris, who was accused of arranging to put his cousin’s name on the reports, was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge in September. He was working for Brodeur at the Seminole County Chamber at the time of the 2020 election. Both have since resigned from their positions at the Chamber.

©2023 Orlando Sentinel. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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