Controversial Batesburg-Leesville councilman Cain removed from s - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Controversial Batesburg-Leesville councilman Cain removed from seat

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, SC (WIS) -

Monday's Batesburg-Leesville town council meeting wasn't typical by any stretch of the imagination.

Councilman Steve Cain sat and faced the rest of his colleagues, a court reporter and two private investigators.

After a citizens' complaint was filed months ago alerting the council that Cain might not be living in his district or even the state, a private investigation was launched.

Weeks later, Cain was in the hot seat after investigators unveiled their discoveries.

They said documents proved Cain cut power on at his old Pine Street home as the bank forced him out last November. They also said Cain's aunt signed an affidavit saying he wasn't living at another address on Oak Street. Plus, they told council that Cain's voter registration card was updated with another address just this week.

“When I got to the store, I intend to come back home on Oak Street,” Cain said. “If I go around the world and spend a month, I intend to come back home to my residence on Oak Street.”

Cain contested that his aunt was confused when she signed the affidavit, blamed laziness for not having an up-to-date voter registration card, and said evidence found by investigators was paper thin.

“I don't think any evidence was presented here today that I'm domiciled or lived other than where I say I live,” Cain argued.

However, hard evidence wasn't the only thing considered during the meeting.

Council was allowed to consider so-called “hearsay” that Cain might have recently applied for a North Carolina license using a Washington, D.C., address.

“I think we should have been looking at the evidence, and there was no evidence,” Batesburg-Leesville councilwoman Kathy Mingo said. “The P.I., as I said before, stated that he could not prove it. We should have just left this alone.”

Although Mingo and two other council members didn't vote to disqualify Cain from his council seat, four other members did.

“I do think it was predetermined, because, obviously, they came completely unequipped,” Mingo said. “Investigators had absolutely no evidence whatsoever, and they outed Mr. Cain anyway.”

Mayor Rita Crapps didn't vote to disqualify Cain since there was no tie, but she does believe there was evidence.

“To say it's overwhelming, no. I'm not going to say it was overwhelming, but to me there is evidence,” Mayor Crapps said. “I still go back to the fact that he has not attended meetings. In our ordinance, it says if you're not going to attend a meeting, you are to notify the town manager or the mayor. He's not made any attempt to notify anyone. E-mails do not establish someone's residency. Telephone calls or texts do not establish anyone's residency. No one has seen him here in at least six months. There's conjecture about where he's been, but when you're accustomed to seeing someone on the street, in the grocery store, or something like that, and you all of a sudden don't see him, you can only assume that they're not living here anymore.”

With Cain out, there will be a new election for the former councilman's seat during the November election.

Cain left without giving comment tonight.

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