Three former employees with South Carolina’s transportation agency have been indicted on corruption charges, including two executives.
The state Attorney General’s Office announced Thursday the State Grand Jury returned the series of indictments last month. Those indictments were unsealed Thursday. Those accused included a former field operations manager who maintained a secret ownership stake in a business his office continued awarding contracts, and a Midlands signal shop head who demanded and received bribes from contractors.
“SCDOT has zero tolerance for wrongdoing of any kind and wishes to express its appreciation for the hard work of both the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the SC Attorney General’s Office,” Transportation Secretary Christie Hall said in a statement.
An indictment against former SCDOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems field operations manager Charles Shirley states he conspired with a neighbor in 2009 to create a company that would do contracting work through his department. That neighbor Allen Ray was also indicted by the grand jury. The indictment states Shirley then used his position to make sure that company was awarded work. In exchange, Ray paid the SCDOT manager $360,000 over the course of the scheme.
Shirley was charged with one count criminal conspiracy, one count official misconduct in office, three counts of receiving anything of value to influence the action of a public employee and one count of acceptance of rebates or extra compensation. Ray was charged with one count criminal conspiracy and one count of offering anything of value to influence the actions of a public employee. He left the agency in January.
The former head of SCDOT’s District One signal shop Curtis Singleton was indicted in a separate investigation. District One includes Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Richland and Sumter counties. The grand jury indictment states Singleton on at least three occasions demanded bribes from contractors working on projects in which his shop was involved.
According to prosecutors, Singleton sought and received a $1,200 payment in 2011 from a contractor involved with signal work on a Lexington County intersection. Singleton also demanded another business owner sell him a truck, which the contractor did for $10,000 less than market value. Prosecutors said a third supplier was told to mark up its price by $3,400. The indictment states Singleton received $2,500 of the total.
Singleton was charged with one count of using his official position or office for financial gain, one count of receiving anything of value to influence the actions of a public employee, one count of misconduct in office and one count of acceptance of rebates or extra compensation. He left SCDOT in August 2015.
Finally, a former SCDOT inspector Joe Butler made an arrangement with another contractor where Butler agreed to steal supplies and equipment from his agency and sell it to the contractor. The indictment said in all the Butler received $14,500 for his deals, which included a new traffic signal controller worth $4,000.
Butler charged with four counts of receiving anything of value to influence action of public employee, three counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent and one count of acceptance of rebates or extra compensation. He left the position in November 2014.