Saturday, September 9, 2023

Record Ethics Fine?

In an email from today I learned of an article in The State newspaper yesterday about former Richland County Councilwoman Gwendolyn Kennedy. Reporter Bristow Marchant did a great job of reporting on that case.

Kennedy hit rough waters with the S.C. Ethics Commission and got socked with a fine and penalties of $298,544.07 on August 17. She did not appear at her hearing.

That amount might be a record. The Debtors' List at the S.C. Ethics Commission now totals $2,376,862.62, as of August 24, 2023. It contains 29 pages of names of individuals and businesses that are in debt to the State of South Carolina.

Kennedy is on that list for $10,972 for the years 2012 and 2015. The new fines have not yet been added to the List.

The Ethics Commission offered a sweetheart deal to Kennedy. If she pays $25,610 plus $2,644.07 to the Children's Trust Fund, the Ethics Commission will dismiss the balance of fees and penalties. 

While not stated in the article, the Commission usually requires that smaller payment within 90 days. A deal not to be passed up; right?

Plus there is a $48,800 penalty for her P-Card problems. She can settle that debt for $4,800, if paid within 18 months.

Whose debts are the largest?

Gwendolyn Kennedy $358,316.07 ($298,544.07+$48,800+$10,972)

Torlando R. Childress $211,919.07

Richard E.R. Johnson $163,200

Paul M. Rivers $153,800.00

Stanley Pasley $148,514.25

Arnold Karr $104,674.44

Patrick R. Litman $86,033.27

Keith C. Van Winkle $69,800.00

Tony E. Lewis $60,955.00

Amelia McKie $58,035.13

The debt collector for the State is the S.C. Dept. of Revenue. The Governor should fire the DOR. It is doing a terrible job of collecting debts for the Ethics Commission.

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