Former SCDOT commissioner accused of involvement with prostitution

Former SCDOT commissioner accused of involvement with prostitution

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A man who served as the commissioner of the South Carolina Department of Transportation was arrested on prostitution charges on the same day he was handed a sentence in a federal case.

On Thursday, Aug. 8, police arrested John Norton Hardee, 72, charging him with solicitation of prostitution.

Investigators did not provide many details, but Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said he would share more information about the recent Internet Crimes Against Children Operation in a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 13 at noon.

The conference will be held at Richland County Sheriff’s Department Headquarters, multiple jurisdictions will be in attendance.

Also on Thursday, a judge on a federal case sentenced Hardee to 45 days of home confinement and 18 months of probation for deleting emails before the FBI could read them.

A business associate of Hardee’s, who paid him $27,000 in consulting fees, told Hardee the FBI wanted to see his emails.

That’s when Hardee said he panicked and asked the emails to be destroyed.

Because of the lack of evidence, prosecutors could not prove whether or not Hardee received that money to award DOT contracts.

Hardee was a DOT commissioner from 1998 to 2007 and again from 2014 through 2018. He has a section of highway near the Columbia airport named for him.

When WIS reached out to SCDOT about whether that expressway will keep its name, the commission responded with this statement:

“The SCDOT Commission is aware of the guilty plea in federal court and the subsequent arrest. The Commission will take up this subject at its next meeting on September 19, 2019.”
Chairman Robby Robbins

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