Gov. Nikki Haley declares Kelvin Washington's Richland Co. Council seat vacant

Gov. Nikki Haley declares Kelvin Washington's Richland Co. Council seat vacant

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Gov. Nikki Haley will has signed an executive order vacating the seat held by Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington.

In an executive order obtained by The Associated Press, Haley vacated Washington's seat due to Washington's charges in a tax case. He was charged in January with failing to report almost $427,000 in income over three years.

State law says the governor can declare public positions vacant if officeholders are convicted of crimes involving "moral turpitude." Prosecutors say in an attorney general's opinion that Washington's tax crimes meet that standard.

Washington has been in hot water as of late following his DUI arrest and three counts of tax charges. Washington's family initially said he would not be resigning.

The councilman was booked on that DUI back on Feb. 27.Washington, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, rear-ended the vehicle driving in front of him on Bluff Road when the vehicle slowed down. Troopers say that the driver of the other vehicle was a 22-year-old man and he was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. He is in the hospital in the intensive care unit. The passenger in that vehicle was also transported to the hospital but with minor injuries, troopers say.

RELATED: See photos of Kelvin Washington's DUI crash.

Washington was arrested, booked, and charged the next day. It was his second time being in trouble with the law in the span of a month. Washington, along with former Columbia City Council member Brian Newman, was hit with tax-related charges as a result of a Department of Revenue investigation into the Richland County Penny Transportation Tax.

Richland County Council chairman Torrey Rush released a statement on the matter, saying he respects the decision Haley made and wanted to ensure that the vacancy is being taken seriously.

Washington's resignation leaves the District 10 seat open. Two challengers, former Councilwoman Bernice Scott and Helen Taylor-Bradley, have filed to run for the seat.

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