Goins fearless of JWC threat

WINNSBORO – Bertha Goins has until Friday to apologize.

That’s the day Jenkinsville Water Company lawyers set for the Fairfield County Councilwoman to apologize and retract her criticisms of Jenkinsville water quality.

Bertha Goins

If she refuses, the bubbling controversy is threatening to spill into the courtroom.

In a letter obtained by The Voice, attorneys for the JWC say Goins will face litigation if she doesn’t reverse course and keeps making “defamatory” statements about Jenksinville water.

The letter also demands that Goins publicly acknowledge that she has no evidence the water or piping are substandard. Lawyers gave her 10 days from the June 4 letter to comply or they said they would sue.

“The JWC has been very patient in refraining from taking legal action to stop her from telling lies, making unsubstantiated disparaging comments, and spreading misinformation about JWC and that patience has run out,” the letter states.

Goins isn’t backing down.

County attorney Tommy Morgan, who’s representing Goins in a private capacity, responded with a letter of his own that chides the JWC for threatening legal action.

“The mischaracterization of statements are being made by JWC against Ms. Goins as shown by its repeated, meritless legal demands,” Morgan wrote. “Ms. Goins will not be silenced by JWC’s threats of legal action and will not respond to the demands made in the June 4, 2019 [letter].”

Morgan said the JWC’s actions are fiscally irresponsible as well.

“Ms. Goins is saddened and troubled by the thought that JWC continues to use funds collected by its customers to continue its legal vendetta against her,” the letter continues. “It is hoped that JWC would turn its attention away from harassing its customers to more pressing needs such as ensuring it complies with all testing and reporting requirements under state and federal laws.”

In its June 4 letter, attorneys for the JWC suggest Goins has a chip on her shoulder because water company members voted her off the board, which lawyers state is why she criticizes the JWC.

“Since that time, Ms. Goins has consistently criticized the board members that took the other side of this issue, and JWC as a whole, in her efforts to retaliate,” the letter states.

The letter also calls Jenkinsville water “award winning.” Referencing a 2018 DHEC report, the letter says no water quality violations have been found again on JWC, and asserts that no contaminants above DHEC levels have been detected in seven years.

Morgan’s response cites a report that stated a different viewpoint.

“As JWC’s own 2018 Water Quality Report shows, ‘We failed to complete all the required testing of our drinking water for the contaminant and period indicated,’” Morgan’s letter states. “Devoting resources to such tasks would demonstrate JWC’s commitment to providing clean and safe drinking water to its customers.”

Publicly and through her attorney, Tommy Morgan, Goins has said that threats from the JWC and its lawyers are attempts to silence and intimidate her.

On April 10, in another letter, Morgan warned the JWC not to threaten his client for exercising her right to free speech.

“Ms. Goins will not be silenced by Jenkinsville Water Company’s threats of legal action and damages to be sought against her for merely speaking out about the water she receives from Jenkinsville Water Company,” Morgan’s letter states.

“Despite your meritless legal demand, Ms. Goins will continue to shed light on the matter that Jenkinsville Water Company seems so intent on keeping in the dark,” the letter continues.