Council Members Face New Ethics Fines

WINNSBORO – Four more County Council members have been hit with fines by the S.C. State Ethics Commission after irregularities were found on their Statements of Economic Interests (SEI) forms, dating as far back as 2010. A hearing has been scheduled for July 16 at 12:30 p.m. for Council members David Brown, Kamau Marcharia, Dwayne Perry and Carolyn Robinson, but three out of the four told The Voice that they would forgo the hearing and pay their respective fines.

According to documents obtained from the Ethics Commission, Brown misstated the gross income he received from Fairfield County on his SEI forms in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The Ethics Commission alleges that Brown received a gross income in 2009 from Fairfield County of $22,359.98, but on his 2010 SEI, Brown disclosed only $15,000. On his 2011 SEI, Brown disclosed $14,999.92, while the Ethics Commission alleges that he received $25,409.92. Brown disclosed $19,839.54 on his 2012 SEI, while the Ethics Commission alleges an actual income of $20,814.54 from the County. On his 2013 SEI, Brown disclosed $20,000, but received $20,487.20 from the County in 2012, the Ethics Commission claims.

Brown said the misstatements were a mistake and were statements of his base County salary, without taking into account various disbursements from the County for office supplies and other expenses.

“I had used that figure for some time and nobody ever said anything, so I didn’t know it was wrong,” Brown said. “Now I know better.”

Brown said he intended to pay the $500 fine levied against him.

Marcharia said he would also pay his fine of $125. On his 2013 SEI, Marcharia disclosed a County salary of $16,000, while the Ethics Commission documents state his 2012 income was actually $18,643.04.

“I put the wrong information on the wrong line,” Marcharia said. “They asked me to clean it up and I did.”

Robinson faces a $375 fine, which she also said she would pay to the Ethics Commission.

“I’m not fighting them,” Robinson said. “I just wish they would have caught it earlier so I wouldn’t have kept making the same mistake over and over.”

Robinson’s biggest misstep was not disclosing any Fairfield County income on her 2010 SEI. The Ethics Commission states she received a gross income of $13,142.92 from the County in the previous year.

“I had just filed something for running (for election in 2008), and I thought that took care of that,” Robinson said. “That was a mistake on my part. I amended it and sent it in. That’s what the (Ethics Commission) investigator recommended.”

Robinson also misstated her County income on her 2011 and 2013 SEI forms, disclosing $20,822 in 2011 and $19,481.72 in 2013. The Ethics Commission states that Robinson actually drew $21,736.18 in 2010 and $20,996.48 in 2012.

The exact amount of Perry’s fine was not available at press time, but Cathy Hazelwood, General Counsel and Deputy Director of the Ethics Commission said Perry faces the maximum of $2,000 per violation. However, she said, a consent order was being negotiated between the two parties, which would reduce the fine significantly.

Perry misstated his County income on his 2011, 2012 and 2013 SEI forms, according to the Ethics Commission. In 2010, Perry received $24,649.92 from the County, but disclosed only $23,382 on his 2011 SEI. In 2011, Perry received $27,467.92 from the County, while disclosing only $26,492.92 on his 2012 SEI. In 2012, Perry was paid $27,583.92 by the County, yet disclosed $25,910.82 on his 2013 SEI.

Perry could not be reached by phone at press time. The Ethics Commission sent the Notices of Hearing to the Council members on March 21.

Comments

  1. Connie Shackelford says

    I have lived in Fairfield County since 2008 and to be honest mistakes are made in all governments including the Federal Government. I am so ready to move on from all the bad press and start doing the business of the County and stop going after our commissioners. We need so much here in the county especially the municipalities. They’re quality of life issues to be addressed, housing in deplorable conditions, infrastructure that needs repairing, jobs should be brought back into this county (more job kudos to Tiffany Harrison for the two new companies). Taxes to homeowners should be lowered and with all the money that the school system is receiving we should be the best in the state (why not keep after them). The county and cities should start working together to showcase what we have to offer to the outside world beginning with our history and following with what we offer now i.e. train museum, Pine-tree players etc…

    I understand that we should hold our elected officials accountable but when are we going to stop beating them down and start working together to move this county and the municipalities within it into the 21th Century!!

    We all have a vision for this community when can we start making it a reality.

    Connie Shackelford (citizen)

  2. Mark Polk says

    Wow! One Councilman “misstated” approximately $18000 in County income over 3 years and “received” a $500 fine. Yeah, that seems fair!

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