Index Journal

September 30, 2014

Index Journal - Greenwood, SC Online Newspaper

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www.indexjournal.com 2 SECTIONS, 16 PAGES TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 DAILY 75¢, SUNDAY $1.50 TODAY: Partly sunny. In the high 70s. FORECAST, 8A Index-Journal is published with pride for the people of the Lake- lands. You are important to us. If you miss your paper, please call 223-1413 (before noon on weekends). Inside today's edition ■ ABBY 5A ■ BUSINESS 8A ■ CALENDAR 2A ■ CLASSIFIEDS 6B-8B ■ COMICS 5B ■ EDITORIALS 6A ■ ENTERTAINMENT 5A ■ LOTTERY 5A ■ MARKETS 4B ■ OBITUARIES 4A ■ SPORTS 1B-3B Index-Journal is committed to editorial excellence. To report an error, contact Executive Editor Richard Whiting at 943-2522 or rwhiting@indexjournal.com. Duffel bag with cash leads to call to SLED What was the "game-changer" that turned an internal accounting of missing reports into a request from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for a full-blown investiga- tion? According to Calhoun Falls Mayor Johnny Waller and Town Adminis- trator Paul Gilbert, it was a bag of cash dropped off by the husband of a former clerk. Waller and Gilbert said previous- ly that the town's investigation into missing funds and accounting prac- tices related to court fine reports had uncovered "nothing that rises to the level of needing an investigation as of yet." But last Friday, a duffel bag with approximately $18,000 in primar- ily cash, but also checks, money orders, and credit card payments was dropped off at the town hall. Of the funds in the bag, approximate- ly $7,800 was in cash, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Index-Journal. According to Gilbert, the duffel bag was dropped off by the husband of former utility and courts clerk Brenda Scott. The bag was left for Clerk/Treasurer Peggy Lee Waters. Upon discovering the cash as well as the tickets, receipts and court fine reports in the bag, Waters took the bag to Waller. "This is why we contacted SLED," Waller said Mon- d a y. " We h a d asked, numerous times, if there was any more tickets. (Scott) had told us there wasn't any more tickets." When asked whether or not any money was missing from the court fine reports, Gilbert and Waller said there had been insufficient time to cross-check the receipts, deposit slips and the money in the bag. "We just received this Friday," Gil- bert said. "We've only catalogued what was there, we have not had time to analyze it." While Gilbert said that no analy- sis had been completed, the fact that more than $18,000 in town money, as well as the attendant receipts, tick- ets and documentation was taken By FRANK BUMB fbumb@indexjournal.com Suspended SC speaker being released on charges COLUMBIA — Suspended South Car- olina House Speaker Bobby Harrell was released on bond Monday, facing misde- meanor charges that he misused his office for personal gain and lied to law enforce- ment about his campaign expenses. The powerful Charleston Republican appeared in court in Columbia, where Circuit Judge John Hayes set an $18,000 personal recognizance bond on the nine charges. That bond does not require Har- rell to post any money, and Hayes said he would allow Harrell to travel to Kentucky for the University of South Carolina's football game this coming weekend. Harrell, 58, suspended himself from office earlier this month, a day after a Richland County grand jury indicted him on nine counts: two counts of misconduct in office, six counts of using campaign money for personal use and one count of falsely reporting campaign disclosures. Each is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine, except the mis- conduct charge, which Solicitor David Pascoe said can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison under the common law. During Monday's brief hearing, Pas- coe also handed Harrell's attorney a flash drive he said contained 32,000 pages of documents pertaining to the case. One count alleges Harrell reimbursed himself $3,875 for flying his family and friends to Florida in March 2009 in his private plane for a high school baseball tournament. His campaign disclosures labeled that trip "legislative travel," court documents allege. The case has been ongoing since early 2013, when Attorney General Alan Wilson accepted an ethics complaint against Harrell from Ashley Landess of the South Carolina Policy Council — a libertarian-leaning, pro-limited-govern- ment think tank — and sent it to the State Law Enforcement Division for investi- gation. Wilson sent the case to the state grand jury, and Harrell asked the court to remove Wilson, saying the prosecutor By MEG KINNARD Associated Press ASSOCIATED PRESS Suspended South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell, right, with his attorney Bart Daniel, walks in the Richland County courthouse Monday in Columbia. See SPEAKER, page 4A About $18,000 returned to Calhoun Falls town hall Duke Energy readies to hand out cash for waterways D u k e E n e r g y r e c e n t l y announced the creation of a $10 million Water Resources Fund, designed to benefit waterways in North Carolina and South Carolina, including waterways downstream from Duke Energy operations that flow into neighboring states. The Saluda-Reedy River Wat e r s h e d , w h i c h f l o w s directly into Lake Greenwood, was one of eight projects selected to serve as key exam- ples as the types of projects the energy giant will be interested in funding. The fund will contribute a total of $1.5 million to a variety of projects and orga- nizations directly related to the Dan River Basin Region, where a stormwater pipe burst beneath an ash basin at Duke's retired Dan River Steam Sta- tion in Eden, North Carolina, in February of this year. The break caused a release of an estimated 30,000 to 39,000 tons of ash into the Dan River, and the energy company continues to pull ash deposits from the river with public drinking water remain- ing safe for consumption, according to Duke Energy. The creation of the fund is unrelated to the incident, but does allow the company to address these issues with the project, according to Duke E n e rg y s p o ke s m an Ry an Mosier. "Since the accident at our By COLIN RIDDLE criddle@indexjournal.com ■ CLEAN WATERS See SLED, page 4A See DUKE, page 4A PAY RAISE: APPROVED VOL. 96, NO.124 Urbanic shines for Greenwood Christian, Sports 1B Johnson now highest-paid public official in county T he eighth time's a charm, it seems. Following his eighth superintendent evaluation after which he received his eighth raise in eight years Greenwood School District 50 superintendent Darrell Johnson is now the highest paid official in Greenwood County. At a two-hour, closed-door meeting also known as an executive session of the District 50 board of trustees Monday evening, the board evaluated Johnson's perfor- mance against board-deter- mined goals laid out in the fall of 2013. Members then voted unanimously to give Johnson a 2 percent raise, as well as adding a year to his contract, and giving Johnson two additional annual leave days. Johnson's base salary is now at $159,624.13, up from $156,494.24, and his contract will run through 2021. According to attorney Ken Childs of Columbia law firm Childs & Halligan who was party to the executive session, Johnson's contract guaran- tees him the same raise that teachers receive, a 2 percent step increase, if he receives at least a satisfactory on the evaluation. Board chairman Shell Dula had positive words about Johnson following his better- than-satisfactory evaluation. "Our board is very satisfied with the effort, the determi- nation he's showing to reach the levels we all wanted to reach," Dula said. "He's a good leader. He cares about the students, he cares about the teachers and he's good for Greenwood. We just feel very positive about his per- formance and about what he's doing to make our district all that we want it be." Johnson's salary now ranks above last year's highest-paid public official in the county, outgoing Lander president Daniel Ball, whose salary has remained at $156,779, according to transparency. sc.org. Last year at this time, John- son also received a 2 percent raise and a two-year contract extension. This raise came on the heels of a somewhat dismal federal accountability rating of a "D," a substantial drop from the district's prior rating of a "B" in 2012. Receiving an overall score of 64.8, District 50 fell to 66th out of South Carolina's 81 public school districts. By KATE HRUBY khruby@indexjournal.com MADDY JONES | INDEX-JOURNAL District 50 Superintendent Darrell Johnson addresses the teachers and staff at the 2014-15 opening of school celebration at Emerald High School on Aug. 15. "He's a good leader. He cares about the students, he cares about the teachers and he's good for Greenwood." SHELL DULA Board chairman See JOHNSON, page 4A JOHNNIE WALLER

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