Embattled solicitor says adultery is the root of state rep's attacks

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Michael O'Shea, the forensic accountant who has been hired to examine questionable expenses by Solicitor Dan Johnson and his staff, says the much-awaited audit should be complete by July.

O'Shea, whose office is in Mauldin, said the report hasn't even been drafted as he continues to "plow through" tens of thousands of documents, some of which seem to show that public funds were spent on exotic travel and lavish parties.

However, as SLED and the FBI also investigate the spending, O'Shea did mention that he's already identified expenses that were personal in nature by "several employees." He referred to some of what he found as "sloppiness." Months ago, a watchdog group known as PAPR released documents that seem to show Johnson and his staff spent public funds on foreign travel and lavish parties, including a party where Johnson's brother was flown from Arizona to DJ.

This comes as House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D-Richland) demands the solicitor to release findings of the audit by Friday, just days before the Democratic primary between Johnson and his opponent, attorney Byron Gipson.

"I demand that Solicitor Johnson, by Friday, tell the public how he does not understand and need someone else to tell him how he misspent public money," Rutherford said in the news conference.

Meanwhile, Solicitor Johnson has said he has no control over the independent audit. It's being paid for by the office itself, not Johnson directly. O'Shea estimates that the work will cost about $15,000.

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Additionally, he believes the attack launched by Rutherford is "clearly personal," because of their personal history.

He said Rutherford is only attacking him because "he was sleeping with my ex-wife while I was serving in Iraq back in 2005-2006." Rutherford called that a lie.

"That assertion by Solicitor Johnson is a bold face lie. Dan's ex-wife is a good friend and a well-respected attorney who simply does not deserve to be defamed or denigrated by her ex-husband conjuring up salacious lies to try to curry favor with the voting public. Given the other women that have already come forward with their evidence of harassment, it is no surprise that the continued abuse of his ex-wife would surface in his desperation. I look forward to seeing not only what the voters think but also what a jury thinks as I prepare my lawsuit for slander," Rep. Rutherford wrote in a statement.?

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