Former lawmaker Chris Dorworth sues Joel Greenberg for alleging ties to sex trafficking scandal

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The Matt Gaetz associate also said Greenberg wrongly tied him to recruitment of a 'ghost candidate.'

Former lawmaker Chris Dorworth says he’s one of many Florida leaders whose reputation remains tarnished for associating with Joel Greenberg. Now he’s suing the disgraced Seminole County Tax Collector, as well as his family for those damages.

The lawsuit lists Greenberg as a defendant, as well as Greenberg’s parents Andrew and Sue Greenberg, his ex-wife, Abby Greenberg, a porn star identified in the lawsuit only as “A.B.,” and several businesses connected to the Greenberg family.

In a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court, Dorworth in his suit labels Greenberg “one of the most corrupt politicians in Florida history.” Dorworth also denied any connection to a porn star who Greenberg ultimately admitted to paying for sex when she was still underage.

A trail of crimes ultimately landed Greenberg in federal prison. He was sentenced in December to 11 years after pleading guilty to a half dozen federal crimes, including sex trafficking of a minor.

“Joel Greenberg is a predator, not just of women, as his conviction for human trafficking reflects, and not just for alleging that his political opponent was a child molester,” reads a complaint. Greenberg also preyed on former friends and associates trying to tie them to his wrongdoing, the lawsuit states.

The suit was filed in Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit by Mike Beltran, Dorworth’s attorney and a current state Representative.

In interviews with prosecutors, Greenberg leveled accusations against others in his political orbit, alleging many participated in the same sex crimes that cost him his freedom. That apparent cooperation delayed his sentencing for more than a year after he entered a guilty plea for his crimes.

Most notably, Greenberg made allegations against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who was the target of a federal investigation for more than two years but was told in February he will face no charges.

Investigations around Greenberg also embroiled Dorworth, who resigned his position at lobbying firm Ballard Partners shortly after allegations against Gaetz publicly surfaced. Dorworth now alleges Greenberg made accusations up and directly tried to extort Dorworth in hopes he could obtain a criminal pardon from former President Donald Trump.

Ballard Partners was widely seen as one of the lobbying firms most closely connected to Trump’s administration. Gaetz had been one of Trump’s closest congressional allies during his presidency and a close friend of Dorworth. The lawsuit said these facts led Greenberg, when facing federal prosecution himself, to identify Dorworth as a path to a pardon.

Dorworth’s lawsuit states: “When Joel Greenberg’s illegal behavior was finally exposed, he then turned his predatory power on former ‘friends,’ including Plaintiff Dorworth, when Dorworth was unwilling to participate in a scheme to obtain a preemptive pardon to avoid facing future charges, and later when Dorworth refused to participate in having the Assistant United States Attorney that was investigating Greenberg fired.”

A complaint alludes to matters that publicly fed the scandal around Gaetz, including public Venmo transactions between the Congressman and Tax Collector.

It also suggests Greenberg made up accusations against Dorworth whole cloth. He also sent texts to Dorworth about the “sugar daddy” website and an account Vintage99, who was A.B.

Dorworth said he never met A.B., a woman Greenberg ultimately pleaded guilty to having sex with when she was under the age of 18. The lawsuit alleges Greenberg at one point confided to Dorworth that he was covering A.B.’s lawyer costs and did not believe she would implicate him in a crime.

“She’s already proven she will do literally anything for money,” Greenberg told Dorworth, the lawsuit alleges.

But later Greenberg suggested he would allege a connection between Dorworth and A.B., and “they may say they partied at your house or something.” Dorworth denied having ever met the woman.

Dorworth’s lawsuit asserts Greenberg evaded consequences for crimes for years thanks to his wealthy family, referred to frequently in the complaint as the “Greenberg Racketeering Enterprise.” That suggestion justifies listing a number of business interests as defendants, including Greenberg Dental Associates, Greenberg Dental & Orthodontics, Greenberg Dental Specialty Group and AWG, Inc.

The complaint also said many messages intended to extort Dorworth came through members of Greenberg’s family.

Of note, Dorworth downplays his own relationship to Greenberg significantly, saying the men only met in 2016 at a Trump fundraiser. Dorworth never contributed to Greenberg’s campaign for Tax Collector. While Ballard Partners represented the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office, that relationship pre-dated Greenberg’s election.

The lawsuit also notes accusations from Greenberg implicating Dorworth in a “ghost candidate” scandal involving the entry of a no-party candidate in a Central Florida state Senate campaign. That ultimately led to charges against Ben Paris and Eric Foglesong, individuals close to Dorworth and state Sen. Jason Brodeur.

Dorworth in the lawsuit denies any involvement in a scheme to recruit a candidate to siphon votes, and says Greenberg lied to prosecutors when he testified on details of such a conversation.

“At no point was Joel Greenberg privy to any conversation with Ben Paris, Foglesong, Dorworth and Jason Brodeur because no conversation with those people ever took place about the Florida Senate District 9 race,” the lawsuit says.

Read the lawsuit here:

FILE-0279 by Jacob Ogles on Scribd

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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