Senate candidate accused of illegal yacht trip to Cuba

Published online: Aug 04, 2010 News Trade Only Today

Billionaire Jeff Greene, the leading Democratic candidate in the race for U.S. Senate in Florida, is accused of taking his yacht on an illegal trip to Cuba in 2007.

It is illegal for Americans with no family in Cuba to visit the island.

During a debate Monday night, Greene was asked about the alleged 2007 visit to the communist island aboard his megayacht, Summer Wind. Greene denied that he visited Cuba on what his opponent, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, called a "party trip," WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Fla., reports

"No. I went to Cuba years ago on a Jewish mission to the Jewish community," Greene said.

A little later during the exchange, Greene said, "I was not on the yacht on the trip you're talking about. I was there another time, when I held a visa to go there to visit the Jewish community and what I saw there was sad."

On Tuesday, while speaking to a reporter in Tallahassee, Fla., Greene acknowledged that he was, in fact, on the yacht, but he said the Cuba visit was an emergency stop during a trip from Honduras to the Bahamas.

"Actually, what happened was we had a hydraulics problem, and the captain said, 'Can we stop at Hemingway Marina and fix it?' And I said, 'Is it legal?' And he said, 'As long as we don't spend any money, it's legal to stop there. Otherwise, it could be dangerous,' " Greene said.

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