In tweet storm, Joel Greenberg goes after critics with threats, insults
Joel Greenberg.

Joel Greenberg

In a late-night tweet storm Monday, controversial Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg threatened and insulted critics who were taking issue with an Islamaphobic comment he made in a social media post over the weekend.

Specifically, Greenberg, a Republican, went after Florida House District 47 Democratic candidate Anna Eskamani, who is an Iranian-American, and Ben Friedman, the director of community relations for the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, among others.

Greenberg declined Tuesday morning to comment about the tweets.

Meanwhile, the chorus of people — Democrats so far — calling for Greenberg to resign continues to increase, with Democratic gubernatorial candidates Chris King of Winter Park and Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee adding their calls Tuesday to those of the Seminole and Orange County Democratic parties and others.

Eskamani called for Greenberg to resign after his posts over the weekend.

Friedman criticized Greenberg in an op-ed he wrote for the Orlando Sentinel, published over the weekend online and Tuesday morning in the newspaper.

“When are you going to resign?” Eskamani asked Greenberg Monday evening in a tweet.

“Never. As a matter of fact, I will be donating $200,000 to your opponent. #maga @FloridaGOP #sayfie,” Greenberg replied

Then Eskamani asked, “Is that before or after you resign?”

“You truly are a novice,” Greenberg tweeted back. “You mistake excitement for intelligence. Now it’s $250,000. Each time you talk it goes up another $25,000.”

“The only person who made a mistake here is you, Joel & you can’t bully anyone into silence, especially not me. I have a lot of empathy, even for folks I disagree with. I have to hope that there is “some” reason you feel the way you do, & maybe w/time we can figure that out,” Eskamani replied.

“Welcome to the jungle,” Greenberg tweeted back. “You swung and missed. There are political ramifications for that. You realize I’m sitting on $50,000,000. Big mistake.”

That was an apparent reference to his or his family’s wealth through the family company’s chain of dental clinics, Greenberg Dental.

Those exchanges were among many that went into a long thread of tweets last night, during which Greenberg also told another critic, “Bite me.”

When Friedman weighed in, about Greenberg’s claim to be “sitting on” $50 million, and asked, in a tweet, “You made a chair out of money?”, Greenberg replied:

“You know exactly what the deal is, you traitor. You are a slob and I’ll get to you eventually.”

Friedman’s reply in a statement to Florida Politics: “Maybe he feels entitled to our support because he’s from a wealthy Jewish family, but our values are not for sale.”

It all began Saturday when Greenberg put on Facebook: “Very simple question … name just ONE society in the civilized world that has benefitted in any way from the introduction of more Muslims. Just one. Asking for a friend.”

That post was taken down. Monday night someone said Greenberg took it down and he replied:

“I didn’t delete it, moron. FB took it down.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


5 comments

  • Scooter

    August 21, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I guess I missed the part about threats also this man has every right to speak his mind even if it’s something you do not like

  • AO

    August 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Greenberg is a disgrace of a human being. He should resign without delay. Seminole County citizens should demand it!

  • That guy

    August 21, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Seminole county- the hot seat of American politics.

  • Shirlene

    August 21, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    He does have the right to spew hatred & bigotry all he wants, but it is extremely unprofessional, and just not wise. As an elected official, he is committed to serve ALL his constituents, and such rash ramblings hint at the possibility that he would not hesitate to discriminate against a segment of those he is elected to serve. As such, the community would better served if he steps aside and practices his bigotry in the family dental practice. Finally, while he does, indeed, have first amendment rights, so do all the people he has offended.

    • AKT

      August 22, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Thank you! My thoughts exactly. His behavior is extremely unprofessional. I would be fired in a heartbeat for being that unprofessional at work. He is an elected official, and a disgraceful one at that.

Comments are closed.


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