These Text Messages Pointed the Feds to Matt Gaetz

Jose PaglieryFri, 2 April 2021, 2:25 pm


In late January 2020, U.S. Secret Service agents received information that Rep. Matt Gaetz had accompanied a Florida county tax official they were already investigating on an unusual nighttime visit to a government office—where the local official was allegedly making fake IDs, a source close to the investigation told The Daily Beast.

That tip to the feds came in a text message conversation that Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg had with an employee explaining why they were both in the office one weekend two years earlier, according to this person.

A timestamp visible in the text message thread indicated the conversation took place on Monday, April 16, 2018.

The Creepy, Disturbing Case That Ensnared Matt Gaetz

According to three people with direct knowledge of the incident: Greenberg visited the Lake Mary, Florida branch of his tax collection agency that weekend. Grainy surveillance footage captured Greenberg standing near a manager’s desk with another man. Greenberg forgot to set the alarm on the way out, which concerned the assistant branch manager when she walked into the office Monday morning. That employee was surprised to find that driver licenses—which are normally turned in when expired at the tax office for shredding—were scattered all over the desk instead of in the appropriate disposal basket. She reviewed the camera footage and alerted her boss, who in turn contacted Greenberg via text.

“Did you happen to visit the Lake Mary Office on the weekend?” the text message read.

The image obtained by The Daily Beast shows that Greenberg allegedly responded: “Yes I was showing congressman Gaetz what our operation looked like. Did I leave something on?”

<img src="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTUzOS44OTc0MzU4OTc0MzU5/–~B/aD02NTg7dz0xMTcwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/; alt="<div class="inline-image__credit"> handout

The Daily Beast obtained images of additional text messages that purport to show Greenberg helping Gaetz get duplicate IDs—outside of proper channels on a Sunday afternoon. On Sept. 2, 2018, Greenberg directly asked an employee to quickly create a new card that complies with the heightened security standards of “REAL ID,” a process that would normally require providing additional documentation, according to the images.

“Amy- is there anyway to assist one of our Congressmen in getting an emergency replacement ID or DL by Tuesday 2pm? His was lost yesterday and he’s got a flight Tuesday. Doesn’t have any other form of ID currently on him. Sorry to bother you on Sunday,” Greenberg wrote.

Greenberg then confirmed that the favor was for “Matthew Louis Gaetz II,” born on May 7, 1982.

<img src="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTUzOS44OTc0MzU4OTc0MzU5/–~B/aD02NTg7dz0xMTcwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/; alt="<div class="inline-image__credit"> handout