Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:55 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:55:24 GMT
Deep in a mine shaft in the California desert, the body of a pregnant wife of a U.S. Marine was discovered after a search of nearly two months.More >>
A former Marine charged Tuesday with murder after the body of his alleged lover was found in an abandoned California mine shaft had been looking into how to dispose of a human body, a sheriff's investigator said.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:46 AM EDT2014-08-19 12:46:09 GMT
Twenty people have been rounded up in a month as part of a crackdown on drugs in Saluda County, according to the sheriff's office.Saluda County Sheriff John Perry said most of those arrested on chargesMore >>
Twenty people have been rounded up in a month as part of a crackdown on drugs in Saluda County, according to the sheriff's office.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:10:07 GMT
The police chief for Gulf Shores along Alabama's coast is weighing-in on the actions of the law enforcement commander in charge of Ferguson, Missouri's in the wake of an escalating crisis brought on byMore >>
Gulf Shores Police Chief Ed Delmore wrote a blistering open letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson, who was given command of law enforcement operations following days of looting and rioting in the city.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:27 AM EDT2014-08-19 14:27:43 GMT
A Maine teenager's mug shot is going viral online after he decided to make a statement with what he wore. Robert Edward Burt, 19, was booked in the Somerset County Jail earlier this month, to performMore >>
Robert Edward Burt, 19, was booked in the Somerset County Jail earlier this month, to perform a sentence from an arrest earlier this year.More >>
WINNSBORO, SC (WIS) -
A WIS investigation and work by a group of Fairfield County taxpayers ended with 21 ethics charges against three members of the Fairfield County Council. Charges include the use of official office for gain on the basis of using tax dollars for vacation and failure to disclose income on ethics forms.
The charges came down Jan. 24 after the state Ethics Commission met and found evidence to support the 21 counts against council Chairman David Ferguson, Councilwoman Mary Lynn Kinley and Councilman Mikel Trapp.
All three face a charge of "Use of Office for Gain" after charges show each used taxpayer dollars to vacation in lodges on Hilton Head Island during the South Carolina Association of Counties' annual conference between 2010 and 2013.
The conference lasted three days, but records show all three booked rooms from Saturday to Saturday. Those rooms, ethics reports show, were paid for using Fairfield County tax dollars.
Trapp and Kinley also face charges of failure to disclose income on their ethics forms from money they took in lieu of using the county's health insurance benefit. Instead of turning down the benefit, they accepted payments from the county that equaled what the insurance coverage would have cost. Ferguson also accepted the payments, but was not charged in connection to it. All three accepted $72,390 under this set up.
We searched Ferguson's statement of economic interest filings and found he specifically reported "insurance" compensation for in 2011, 2013 and 2013. We could not find an insurance compensation specified in his 2010 statement of economic interest filing.
Trapp faces four additional charges after ethics investigators found he voted to send tax dollars to his sister-in-law's employer. The filing lists the company as CIC, Inc. but does not give any further detail about the company. In 2011, Trapp voted to give the company $3,734, the filing shows. In 2012, Trapp voted again to give the company another $3,500, and in 2013, he voted to give the company another $2,500.
Trapp's voting earned his sister-in-law's company a total of $9,734.
"As for the violations that you are reporting on today, they are considered minor violations regardless of what kind of spin is put on them," stated Trapp in a statement emailed to WIS late Tuesday. "Even though procedures was followed, errors was made on my part in not knowing the full spectrum of guidelines and laws of the South Carolina Ethics Commission Handbook."
"I see it as theft," said Beth Jenkins, a member of a group called Saving Fairfield. "I see it as using their power for personal gain. That's the only way you can see it."
Jenkins filed the ethics complaints against Ferguson, Kinley, and Trapp that resulted in the current ethics charges.
Jenkins went before council on multiple occasions, asking council members to repay and explain why taxpayers should pay for their Hilton Head Island trips. She never got a response.
"People in this county can't even go on vacations, and they're getting a taxpayer vacation. When we go to write our checks, thousands of dollars and then to think they're going to go on vacation with this. It just, it doesn't sit well with anyone," Jenkins said.
Sources tell WIS state ethics investigators opened new cases dealing with other members of county council not yet named. Ethics cases are required by state law to be kept secret until a finding of probable cause, which has kept us from learning the details surrounding the new investigations. Ethics Commission Executive Director Herb Hayden told WIS, "I can only talk about what's currently public."
We've sent messages to Ferguson, Kinley and Trapp, but as of this report those messages were not returned. All three have hearings before the Ethics Commission set for May 21, 2014.
Ferguson, Kinley, and Trapp were expected at Tuesday night's council meeting, but only Kinley showed up to the meeting.
Kinley would not offer a comment when asked about the ruling.
Ferguson's wife said he was out of the country.
Trapp was also a no show at the meeting, but he offered a statement on the ruling.
"They are considered minor violations regardless of what kind of spin is put on them," said Trapp. "Even though procedures was (sic) followed, errors was (sic) made on my part in not knowing the full spectrum of guidelines and laws of the South Carolina Ethics Commission Handbook."
The ethics charges against the council members carry either a criminal or civil penalty. The Ethics Commission chose not to prosecute the cases criminally.
Monday, August 18 2014 4:58 PM EDT2014-08-18 20:58:47 GMT
One lane of the interstate has been reopened after it was shut down due to a deadly crash early Monday morning. The South Carolina Highway Patrol reports the collision happened around 3:21 a.m. on theMore >>
One person is dead and five others were injured when a tire blew on the vehicle they were riding in early Monday morning on Interstate 26.
Monday, August 18 2014 4:39 PM EDT2014-08-18 20:39:10 GMT
A home was badly damaged in a fire on Quail Rd Sunday. (Source: Beth Baldauf)
A home is likely a total loss after a fire swept through most of the structure Sunday afternoon. Crews were called to a home on Quail Lane near Trenholm Rd and found the home engulfed in flames. No injuriesMore >>
A home is likely a total loss after a fire swept through most of the structure Sunday afternoon. More >>
Sunday, August 17 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-18 00:10:48 GMT
Forrest Wood Cup weigh-in Sunday. (Source: Tom Round)
It was a big pay day for Anthony Gagliardi Sunday. The Prosperity native took home the $500,000 grand prize in the Forrest Wood Cup held in Columbia. Anglers from across the nation headed to Lake MurrayMore >>
It was a big pay day for Anthony Gagliardi Sunday.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-08-20 03:55:40 GMT
You may not have heard of Morgan Reeves or seen any of his election ads on television. That's because the state gubernatorial candidate doesn't have any and he doesn't have any campaign contributions.More >>
Independent candidate Morgan Reeves is looking to level the playing field when it comes to campaigning for elections. More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:53 PM EDT2014-08-20 03:53:16 GMT
For many businesspeople like real estate Jennifer Harding, Fort Jackson is worth fighting for. A loss of jobs on the Army post would have an especially drastic impact on her business."It means a loss ofMore >>
The loss of 3,100 Fort Jackson personnel could have a heavy affect on businesses around the Army post. More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:30:17 GMT
A slow speed chase in Kershaw County by a 92-year-old man raised a question of how old is too old to drive. The call came in near dusk in Kershaw County. "A reckless driver headed east on I-20 towardsMore >>
A slow speed chase in Kershaw County by a 92-year-old man raised a question of how old is too old to drive. More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:52 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:52:08 GMT
The suspect wanted for shooting into an occupied Sumter home has turned himself in. Terrance D. Haynesworth, 32, was wanted by the Sumter Police for a shooting that took place on Sampson Street on MondayMore >>
Terrance D. Haynesworth turned himself after being wanted for a shooting on Sampson Street. More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:29:29 GMT
The Columbia City Council approved a $2.2 million contract with a Kansas City, Missouri firm to design the ballbark at the Bull Street development.Council member Moe Baddourah was the lone "no" vote. CouncilMore >>
The Columbia City Council approved a $2.2 million contract with a Kansas City, Missouri firm to design the ballbark at the Bull Street development.More >>