Richland Co. Rec. Commission denies corruption allegations in re - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Richland Co. Rec. Commission denies corruption allegations in report

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

Three state Legislators who represent Richland County want an investigation of the county Recreation Commission. 

Sen. Joel Lourie, Rep. James Smith and Rep. Beth Bernstein want Sheriff Leon Lott to coordinate a special investigation of the commission, its director, and members of the governing commission. The demand for an investigation comes after an article was posted by the political watchdog site, The Nerve, regarding improper activity among the commission. The Nerve is funded by the South Carolina Policy Council. 

“We have asked Sheriff Lott to coordinate with State and Federal authorities and pursue a thorough investigation of all actions of the director and any commission members that may have violated the law,” said Lourie via a news release issued Wednesday.

According to the release, Lourie, Smith and Bernstein plan to file legislation to turn oversight of the Recreation Commission to the Richland County Council. 

“It only makes sense that the body that funds the Richland County Recreation Commission should also be its governing authority. Accountability and transparency are clearly lacking,” said Smith.

The group says the decision was made after receiving letters, emails and phone calls from concerned citizens.

“The people of Richland County deserve to know what is going on with their recreation department and it is incumbent among us as public officials to restore the public trust,” said Bernstein.

Meanwhile, fellow representative Nathan Ballentine has also issued a statement of his own asking Lott to not only investigate the Recreation Commission, but the whole of Richland County Government.

"Frankly, I am fed up and disgusted with the behavior and actions of Richland County Government these days," Ballentine said. "First, we had the election debacle of 2012, then the scandals surrounding the penny tax contracts, then the secret $2 million land deals at Lake Murray and now all of this corruption with the County Rec Commission."

We asked Richland County officials for a response to this request for an investigation. A statement was sent shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

"Some of the allegations are in current litigation, which we are not going to comment on -- all of which will be tried in the court of law," the statement said. "We deny these and any other allegations that have been published. However, we will cooperate with any investigation by law enforcement or authorities and are confident they will prove to be unfounded."

Attorney Jay Babb currently has three lawsuits filed against the organization. Babb said all were brought by current and former employees with their legal complaints accusing director James Brown III of sexual harassment and abuse of his power, Babb said. 

"The common thread through those lawsuits has been that if they challenge the authority at RCRC, they've been at risk," Babb said. 

Babb said now that the light is shining on the situation, his clients are relieved.

Copyright 2016 WIS. All rights reserved. 

  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • Hundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas

    Hundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas

    Sunday, June 17 2018 3:40 PM EDT2018-06-17 19:40:11 GMT
    Sunday, June 17 2018 9:42 PM EDT2018-06-18 01:42:38 GMT
    Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy. (Source: CNN)Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy. (Source: CNN)

    Hundreds of children are waiting away from their parents inside a Border Patrol holding facility in South Texas, with groups of 20 or more children to a single cage.

    More >>

    Hundreds of children are waiting away from their parents inside a Border Patrol holding facility in South Texas, with groups of 20 or more children to a single cage.

    More >>
  • Tough course or easy, Brooks Koepka repeats as US Open champ

    Tough course or easy, Brooks Koepka repeats as US Open champ

    Sunday, June 17 2018 8:59 AM EDT2018-06-17 12:59:32 GMT
    Sunday, June 17 2018 9:41 PM EDT2018-06-18 01:41:36 GMT
    (AP Photo/Julio Cortez). Dustin Johnson misses a putt on the 18th green during the third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Saturday, June 16, 2018, in Southampton, N.Y.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez). Dustin Johnson misses a putt on the 18th green during the third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Saturday, June 16, 2018, in Southampton, N.Y.
    The toughest test at US Open is getting Shinnecock Hills in the right condition for a memorable final round.More >>
    The toughest test at US Open is getting Shinnecock Hills in the right condition for a memorable final round.More >>
  • Trump adviser says 'nobody likes' family separation policy

    Trump adviser says 'nobody likes' family separation policy

    Sunday, June 17 2018 10:49 AM EDT2018-06-17 14:49:42 GMT
    Sunday, June 17 2018 9:41 PM EDT2018-06-18 01:41:12 GMT
    (Butch Comegys/The Times-Tribune via AP). U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on immigration policy and law enforcement actions at Lackawanna College in downtown Scranton, Pa., on Friday, June 15, 2018.(Butch Comegys/The Times-Tribune via AP). U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on immigration policy and law enforcement actions at Lackawanna College in downtown Scranton, Pa., on Friday, June 15, 2018.

    A White House adviser is distancing the Trump administration from responsibility for a jump in the number of migrant children being separated from their parents by authorities at the U.S.-Mexico border.

    More >>

    A White House adviser is distancing the Trump administration from responsibility for a jump in the number of migrant children being separated from their parents by authorities at the U.S.-Mexico border.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly