April 23, 2014

Court hearing in Harrell-Wilson scheduled for next week? Sides disagree

The next round of the fight between one of South Carolina’s most powerful politicians and its chief prosecutor will be held in a Columbia courtroom next week.

SC Attorney Gen. Alan Wilson (File)

SC Attorney Gen. Alan Wilson (File)

At least, according to one of the attorneys in the case. Problem is, the other parties involved are not confirming it.

House Speaker Bobby Harrell (File)

House Speaker Bobby Harrell (File)

It’s the latest chapter in the unusual public fight between House Speaker Bobby Harrell and the man who sent his ethics case to the State Grand Jury — Attorney General Alan Wilson. Harrell’s attorneys are asking a judge to remove Wilson from the case, claiming a conflict of interest due to Wilson’s previous lobbying the House for a new ethics reform law. One of Harrell’s staffers testified last month that Wilson had offered to drop the ethics case in exchange for Harrell’s support of a new Public Integrity Unit, an accusation Wilson denies.

The Charleston Post & Courier first reported a court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30 at 10 a.m., quoting Harrell’s attorney Gedney Howe. However, a clerk of court for the State Grand Jury would not confirm the date to reporters, saying they would be notified when a date is set. Wilson’s spokesman said the Attorney General has not been notified of any hearing.

A complaint filed against Harrell last year by the South Carolina Policy Council claimed the Speaker misused campaign funds and used his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives to benefit a pharmaceutical business he owns. Harrell denies the charges, calling them politically motivated.

Circuit Judge Casey Manning is hearing Harrell’s motion to remove Wilson.

Simpsonville mayor arrested on misconduct charges

Mayor Perry Eichor (Image: Simpsonville.com)

Mayor Perry Eichor (Image: Simpsonville.com)

Simpsonville Mayor Perry Eichor was arrested Tuesday and charged with Misconduct in Office and other charges, according to state police.

The State Law Enforcement Division said it filed the charges against Eichor following an investigation. SLED warrants state that the 78-year-old mayor is charged with Intimidation of Court Officials, Jurors, or Witnesses, as well as Misconduct and Obstruction of Justice.

The warrants are vague on the specifics of accusations against Eichor, but they state he made an “implied threat” to a municipal court employee and attempted to “intimidate the Municipal Judge in the discharge of his duty.” A third warrant states Eichor gave the threat in an effort to “influence the employee’s official actions.”

He was released after posting bond. When reached by phone afterwards, Eichor said he did nothing wrong, but would not give any further comment. He said he will not resign.

The Simpsonville City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday evening.

Eichor has been involved in a public dispute with the town’s police chief Keith Grounsell, firing the chief last year before the council eventually rehired Grounsell later in the year. Grounsell told FOX Carolina that he was not involved in Eichor’s investigation.

 

Ex-coroner avoids jail time after pleading guilty in embezzlement case

A former Orangeburg County coroner will avoid jail time, but must spend six months in home confinement and repay over $53,000 after pleading guilty to embezzling from a funeral home.

Jim Adcock pleaded guilty Friday to breach of trust involving more than $10,000, according to the Orangeburg Times & Democrat.

Judge Clifton Newman sentenced Adcock to 10 years in prison, suspended in favor of six months home confinement and two years probation. He must also repay $53,366 to the owners of Dukes-Harley Funeral Home. Newman said he gave Adcock a lighter sentence due to a heart attack the former coroner suffered in February

According to the report, Adcock apologized to the Hutto family in court Friday for his actions while serving as director of the funeral home they owned.

Adcock and the funeral home’s former bookkeeper Joan Sanders were charged last year for their roles in embezzling an estimated $200,000 over the previous 10 years. Sanders entered a guilty plea last December and was given a similar sentence, suspended in favor of 30 days in prison and five years’ probation.

Adcock served as Orangeburg County Coroner as a Democrat from 1984 to 1988 and again from 1990-1992.

Latta police chief firing stirs gay rights debate (AUDIO)

Moore

Moore appeared exclusively on MSNBC.

The firing of the Latta police chief has become a civil rights issue and the focus of national attention.

Former police chief  Chrystal Moore,  openly gay and an officer for more than 20 years, was fired by a new mayor who outspokenly disapproves of her sexuality. She was issued seven reprimands in one day and was fired, she said, when she asked for her attorney to review the reprimands.

Moore appeared on MSNBC , interviewed by South Carolina native Craig Melvin .

Latta Mayor Earl Bullard did not comment for the story, but said he wanted to when he has his lawyers permission.

The firing has brought to the forefront that South Carolina and many other states do not have laws that protect gays and transgendered citizens from discrimination in the workplace.

SC Equality said that they are trying to remedy that with a bill in the state Legislature.

“Many people in South Carolina are surprised to learn that our laws do not protect gay and transgender South Carolinians from unfair treatment and discrimination at work. This situation unfolding in Latta and others like it give us clear examples of why we need to update our state’s Human Affairs law as is proposed by H.4025 – The Workplace Fairness Act – so that all people are treated fairly,” the group’s executive director said in a public statement.

The group is riled by a recording that they secured from WBTW in which Bullard allegedly voices his dislike of homosexual behaviors:

http://www.wbtw.com/story/25266895/folks-question-why-latta-mayor-fired-the-towns-first-female-police-chief

Former Chesterfield County sheriff sent to jail

Former sheriff of Chesterfield County, Sam Parker, will spend two years in prison after being convicted on eight public corruption charges Thursday.

Thursday night, a jury found Parker guilty of five counts of misconduct in office, two counts of furnishing contraband to inmates, and one count of embezzlement.  (More details)

State prosecutors said Parker gave away weapons and uniforms to friends.  Parker also allowed convicted Department of Corrections inmates to sleep and live outside Chesterfield jail without supervision, as well as being allowed to attend special events, in exchange for performing work on Parker’s house, personal property and within the sheriff’s office.  One of the privileged inmates turned on Parker and reported this behavior.

Gov. Nikki Haley removed Parker from office shortly after his March 2013 arraignment. He served as sheriff for about 10 years.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office also indicted former county jail director Ritchie Rollings and Harold Hainey of the county’s Emergency Management Department. Both were charged with misconduct in office. They have not been tried yet.