Filing shows discrepancies in Midlands councilman's sworn statem - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Filing shows discrepancies in Midlands councilman's sworn statements

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Steve Cain at Monday's hearing. Steve Cain at Monday's hearing.

A Batesburg-Leesville town councilman's bankruptcy filing shows contradictions in his claims that he's been "chronically unemployed" and unable to make child support payments. Records filed with the federal court in September show Steve Cain is working and earns at least $2,000 a month.

Cain is currently $15,796.53 behind in payments. A family court judge ordered Cain to pay the mothers of his children $90 each week, plus an additional $10 to go toward Cain's arrearage. Cain has not made a child support payment since May for one of his children. That payment was $33.

Cain told the judge the reason he's been unable to make his child support payments was because he's been "chronically unemployed." "Your honor, if you look at the record, when I was working I didn't miss a payment," Cain told the judge. The sitting councilman and Batesburg-Leesville mayoral candidate told the judge he's filed for bankruptcy and his home is currently in foreclosure.

In August, Cain filed for bankruptcy. One month later, his case was dismissed after Cain failed to follow through with submitting financial records to the court in support of his case. The bankruptcy filing put a temporary stop to a bank sale of Cain's Pine Street home.

Included in the filing is a form that lists Cain's "Current Income" and shows the councilman is employed with Plumb Right Plumbing, a Manassas, Virginia-based plumbing company. The form shows Cain earns $2,000 a month, working as a manager for the company; based out of South Carolina. "He works with us on some projects from time to time," Plumb Right Plumbing owner Shelby Figaroore told WIS. "He's working in the South Carolina projects and stuff down there," Figaroore said.

Cain works off commission on any job he refers to the plumbing company, according to the company's owner. The plumbing company does not have an office in South Carolina and "hasn't done much lately," Figaroore told WIS. 

Cain never mentioned his employment with the plumbing company during his 15 minute-long hearing Monday. During that hearing, Cain told the judge that he's been unable to find work but that he was starting classes at Midlands Technical College this week and would be starting a new job with American General Finance sometime next week.

Cain said he isn't earning a salary from the plumbing company job, "Jody, there's no money," Cain said. "So, why did you put this on this form?" Barr asked, "Like I said, that's a legal form and I'm not going to comment on the legality of, uh," Cain replied. "Let's go back to yesterday. You told the judge you had no income. This form disputes that. Did you tell the judge the truth yesterday?" Barr asked Cain, "I told the judge the truth yesterday--I have no income," Cain said. "Are you working for this plumbing company?" Barr asked, "I'm not going to answer any more questions about these because those are legal documents," Cain said.

The bankruptcy filing shows Cain's remaining income after he pays his bills is $1,077. His child support payments total $100 each week: $90 in support payments and another $10 goes to pay the $15,796.53 arrearage. Cain told the judge Monday, he cannot make the child support payments because he cannot find work.

The councilman told the judge he does not receive any public assistance or unemployment benefits that could help him pay his obligations. When the judge asked Cain how he can afford to eat without any income, Cain told the judge, "I've been eating at my aunt's house; with family."

The judge sentenced Cain Monday to 45 days behind bars for failing to pay court-ordered child support. This is the second time Steve Cain's served time since April for violating orders to pay child support on two separate children. To get out of serving the 45 day sentence, Cain could pay $3,200 to be freed. By 7 p.m., someone paid the family court clerk's office $3,200 and Cain was released from the Lexington County jail.

When asked how he paid the $3,200, Cain replied, "Jesus. It was the grace of God."

Lexington County deputies arrested Cain at the McDonald's on West Columbia Avenue at around 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to sources there. Cain was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center where he spent the weekend awaiting his hearing Monday morning. Cain, dressed in an orange colored jumpsuit and shackled at the hands and wrists, told Judge Robert Newton, "It's just been a bad; really a bad year for me."

Councilman Cain served several days in April after facing a 30 day sentence for failing to pay more than $15,000 in court-ordered child support payments, according to Family Court filings. The judge sentenced Cain to concurrent 30 day sentences for failing to pay support for his two children. On April 8, the judge told Cain at sentencing, if he could come up with $1,500 toward his support arrearage, he could get out of jail. Records show, the next day Cain paid $1,500 and was released.

Court records show, Cain made one $33 payment in May and had a $399 tax return intercepted and applied toward his child support obligation.

"I know two things: one is within a day you paid—were able to pay the amount the court ordered (in April) and then it appears from the payment history, it was little effort whatsoever as I found the last time," judge Newton told Cain during the hearing Monday. "I found you have the ability to pay. I find you have the ability to seek employment and it appears to be developing a pattern of failure to pay until you find yourself in this situation," Newton said.

The judge reminded Cain that the only objective for the court was to ensure he complies with the court's order that he pay child support for his two children. The judge sentenced Cain to 45 days for each child for a total of 90 days, but allowed Cain to serve his sentence concurrently. Cain could pay $3200 toward his child support arrearage and be freed early.

"Good luck to you, Mr. Cain," Newton told the councilman as two Lexington County deputies escorted Cain out of the courtroom.

Family court has issued a total of 21 orders for Cain to show for court to explain why he's failed to make court-ordered child support payments since 2002.

According to court records filed in April, Cain owed one mother $7,023 and the other $8,457.

Cain had previously made headlines for his actions during a 2010 council meeting. He was escorted out of that meeting by the police after a disagreement with Mayor Jim Wiszowaty about the number of questions he was permitted to ask. As he was leaving that meeting, he accused Wiszowaty of using cocaine. The two had been engaged in a longstanding dispute over a city water contract. Wiszowaty later sued Cain over the drug allegations, but Wiszowaty later dropped his lawsuit, telling WIS he did so "out of the goodness of my heart."

Cain challenged Wiszowaty in the town's 2009 mayoral election, but lost. Cain is currently involved in a three way race for the mayor's seat against two other candidates. Current mayor Jim Wiszowaty did not seek reelection.

Cain's judge would not comment on the bankruptcy filing, citing rules of judicial conduct regarding "ex parte communications outside the presence of the parties concerning a pending or impending proceeding." 

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