Lexington-Richland Five Vice Chair facing ethics hearing in district construction project
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A member of the Lexington-Richland Five Board of Trustees is facing an ethics inquiry into a district construction project.
In a Notice of Hearing from the State Ethic Commission, Vice Chair Kenneth Loveless is alleged to have failed to recuse himself from a district construction project. The hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16, 2023.
A complaint filed to the commission on Feb. 17, 2021, details alleged violations of Loveless in undertaking subcontracting work for the district through his business Loveless Commercial Contracting. The complaint says Loveless’ involvement came through working with Contract Construction on the Piney Woods Elementary School.
It alleges he was elected to a seat on the District 5 Board of Trustees and didn’t disclose a separate prior $1,000,000 contract he had with Contract Construction to other trustees and didn’t recuse himself from the decision making process involving the company for the district, creating a conflict of interest.
Another point of question in the document is Loveless’ public complaints about Contract Construction during this process while continuing to work with them. The complaint says Loveless’ actions to discredit the company have been, “without merit.”
Loveless’ legal team issued a reply to the complaint on Feb. 28, 2022. The reply says in part,
“Mr. Loveless was obligated to the citizenry to bring matters to which he was alerted by citizens and that he personally observed regarding construction at Piney Woods Elementary to the attention of the school administration.”
The letter also states,
“Mr. Loveless has no reason to believe that his status as a member of the school board influenced a decision by a private contractor who was performing a construction project for a public entity to choose Loveless Commercial Contracting as a sub-contractor.”
It also says,
“Once Mr. Loveless was elected, Mr. Loveless did not have any individual authority to decide anything regarding Piney Woods Elementary school, or its construction.”
Loveless was elected to the position in 2018, his current term ends in 2022.
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