Fairfield County pays $50,000 to wife of county councilman in unorthodox settlement

Gilbert: Council Was Never Notified of Complaint

WINNSBORO – Fairfield County Council has settled a complaint filed by a former county employee who is the wife of a sitting county councilman.

The county signed an agreement on July 12 to pay $50,000 to Diana Robinson, former Director of the county’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in exchange for her agreeing to not bring further complaints or a lawsuit against the county.

County Council members Douglas Pauley and Clarence Gilbert and other county officials say the negotiations for the settlement, which were not part of a lawsuit, were conducted outside standard county procedures.

“Ms. Robinson resigned on Sept. 16 of last year, and from then until we were asked to vote on a settlement last month, council members were never told about any ongoing complaints made by Ms. Robinson or that there was anything going on about a settlement, an EEOC complaint or anything,” Pauley said.

“We [council] were never, not once, updated or officially informed about anything to do with her resignation or any complaints until June 13, 2022, when we went into an executive session and were told that if we didn’t settle with Ms. Robinson, that she might sue the county,” he continued. “Councilman [Mikel] Trapp was ready with a motion to pay her $50,000.”

“We were provided with no materials, evidence, complaints or anything during executive session related to the issue – why she was given a termination letter, then decided to resign,” Gilbert said. “Mr. Pauley asked [County Administrator] Malik [Whitaker] for her file and any documentation of the circumstances of the issue. He also asked to have Mr. [Brad] Caulder [Human Resources Director] brought in to explain the issues of Ms. Robinson’s resignation, since he was the one who had handled it during the tine he was serving as Interim County Administrator. 

“Mr. Whitaker denied both requests. In fact, Mr. Whitaker said there was nothing in Ms. Robinson’s file, which we now know was not true. I understand now that there was a large file of information available that could have been given to us to review.”

In an email sent by Caulder to council members on June 24, 2022, which was obtained by The Voice through an FOIA request, Caulder made it clear he did not know a settlement was going to be proposed.

“I have recently learned of a council vote offering to settle an employment claim of a former employee against the county that occurred during my time as Interim Administrator,” Caulder wrote. “I have also learned it has been communicated to council there is no documentation available from me regarding this matter. If council has reached the point of making a decision to settle a case involving my decisions during my time as Interim Administrator, I would think council would offer me an opportunity to explain and provide documentation regarding the circumstances before making such an unprecedented decision.”

Caulder stated in the email that he had also not been involved with any mediation between the county and the claimant which, he said, is unusual.

In the almost 200 documents The Voice received through an FOIA request for Ms. Robinson’s file the day before going to press, there is no documentation or ‘right to benefits’ statement from the EEOC.

Only four of the seven councilmembers voted to pay the settlement. Pauley and Gilbert did not vote, but under county rules, failure to vote counts as a ‘yes,’ resulting in a 6-0 vote. Robinson’s husband, County Councilman Neil Robinson, left the room during the vote, but was reported to be present in a subsequent executive session when there was discussion regarding an email from Caulder about the matter.

“It was all a shock to me, new to me, when we were asked to vote for the settlement so the county wouldn’t be sued,” Pauley said. “I didn’t vote because I didn’t have enough information to make an informed decision.

On June 16, Pauley sent an email to Bell asking that a reconsideration of the vote be put on the agenda for the next meeting.

Bell replied on June 22.

“Mr. Whitaker provided all that Mr. Caulder had to offer.  I do not plan to place on the agenda for reconsideration,” he wrote.

According to records obtained by The Voice through an FOI request, Robinson was given the choice of resigning or being terminated for insubordination, attempted retaliation against subordinates and making false statements, among other issues.

Robinson filed a discrimination claim with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission in December, 2021, claiming she was the target of racial, sexual and disability discrimination as well as retaliation.

Last April. Robinson filed an amended charge of discrimination, adding job and salary discrimination.

Robinson did not file a lawsuit against the county, and there is no record that the county ever turned her complaint over to its insurer through the SC Association of Counties to review or handle, which would be the county’s normal practice, according to Caulder’s email to council members on June 24, 2022.

“To my knowledge, normal protocol of filing employment cases with the Association of Counties for liability defense has not been followed which is extremely concerning as this provides protection for employees carrying out their responsibilities on behalf of the county,” Caulder stated. “I recently learned of more EEOC/SAC allegations of which I was not notified; or given the opportunity to provide a response. I am afraid to know what response the county offered on my behalf that I was not aware of.”

Caulder requested the opportunity to answer any questions and explain the circumstances and his concerns surrounding the matter, but there is no answer in the file.


  1. Mike Bell says

    Fairfield County!!!!
    Just another employee of the county being forced out because he was doing what is correct but not what they want. Cauldler is correct in that paying the settlement out of county funds is unorthodox, there is usually a shared split if there is fault on the county. Paying all is something the county wanted to pay because of the personal relationship with council members.

    Whitaker has lied to council or lying for council!!!!!! I believe for Council!!!!!!!!!

  2. Sheniqua Cook says

    Didn’t Teresa Lawson just resign the same as Diana Robinson with NO complaints? Resigned in defense to helping her employees rather harassing them! Or nothing even close to this matter and basically got laughed at? They can provide her 50,000 but can’t give the officers at the Detention Center A raise? What a shame to this county and how they are going by things. The current councilmen that even agreed to this shouldn’t be elected next term. Winnsboro Sc will soon be Titantic SC.

  3. Buck Hackman says

    Sometimes it can be less expensive to settle than to try and defend yourself once your lawyers look at the case. The county has lawyers that I assume advised the council to settle. Another article to push reelection of our fellow officemate ?

  4. Tina Gray says

    Young lady you are absolutely correct! Thank You Brad Caulder thank you for finally speaking up.

  5. Jason Johnson says

    I agree! Moses Bell needs to be voted out and those who agreed to this. I’m sure this Diana lady had write ups leading to this incident and for Whitaker to lie as if he didn’t have any other documents was wrong and he do not to be in office either! He need to resign and be granted .10 cent for dishonesty. PASS THIS SETTLEMENT TOO COUNCILMEN! VOTE WHITAKER AND BELL OUT.

  6. Mike Bell says

    Ms. Cook you are not related to them if you were you would have a raise and a desk job at building maintenance ( trapp wife) or been the director of a department (Robinson wife).

    Fairfield County should be rename Stupid County! We can mess up anything just watch and wait.

  7. Mike Bell says

    Mr. Buck Hackman:

    You are correct! This is what happen with the dominion energy case for the 99 million which they found a way to fund there special project. Do you really believe if there was more money to sue out there Trapp would not have advise his family to sue.

    More money for all!

  8. Mike Bell says

    Mr. Caulder thanks for finally standing up and whistleblowing on this elected mafia and whatever that is as an administrator (looking like Carlton Banks on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air). I believe you got a few more injustices of the past to enlighten us with. Let it all out.

    The Employees of Fairfield County are behind you.

  9. Margie Kincade says

    I watched the last council Meeting with Fairfield County and I must say was a disgrace. They could all settle on granting Robinson Wife 50k when those two officers were asking for a raise. How can they overlook them when all the points that were stated? I’m so glad I removed myself and my kids from that County. The lady that resigned from the Detention Center should get 100knif that’s the case. So sad. I’m so sorry Fairfield

  10. Margie Kincade says

    I watched the last council Meeting with Fairfield County and I must say was a disgrace. They could all settle on granting Robinson Wife 50k when those two officers were asking for a raise. How can they overlook them when all the points that were stated? I’m so glad I removed myself and my kids from that County.

  11. Ronald Harper says

    I watched Moses Bell said that employees come and go but little do he know Councilmen too. He need to be removed from his chair . Immediately.

  12. mike bell says

    Mr. Harper,

    Moses Bell saying that employees come and out, shows how much respect he has for the working staff of the county. Those employees at FCDC should walk out like DJJ did for poor management.

    Brad Caulder asked for two officers but the mafia (council) done differently must want to hire another members wife.

  13. james says


  14. Tracie Adams says

    When Moses Bell said they just lost valuable workers was he talking about Diana? I hope not because the only thing that’s holding value is her marriage certificate. The Councilmen there are related so how was they even allowed to vote? not fair. should be illegal and criminally charged. Fairfield is becoming a scam town. I wonder if any Trapp/Robinson men are single so I can get a FREE 50,000.

  15. Katrina Bass says

    It’s very sad that Malik Whitaker can lie and get away with spending tax payers hard earned money on foolishness. The county has been dealing with too many problems since his leadership and it’s time for council to cut ties with him. He has become more of a liability than an asset. He is clearly not trustworthy or an effective leader. Thank you Brad for shining light on this situation that is going on in the county. I wonder what other issues have Malik lied about.

  16. Marcus Polk says

    We know how many “pieces of silver” were needed to buy Neil Robinson’s vote. Now he makes them the Group of Five.

  17. JEFF SCHAFFER says

    Oh boy… What a great move! If the council wants to settle things out of court without a legal requirement. Settle my lawsuit with the county. it is only going on for 7 years. Been thru mediation and now we are in a stall position. I was hoping you could make me a settlement without a discussion, I will be happy to take the county’s money. Except I will win when I do get to court. And the payment won’t be from innocent Tax paying citizens. It will be from the INSURANCE company. Who should have been involved with this $50,000.00 free bonus made to Mrs. Robinson courtesy of her kin and friends of the rubber stamp club.
    What will it take to wake the people up? How much Stealing and Spending do you want them to do? VOTE THESE PEOPLE OUT. They don’t deserve the honor of calling themselves Council Members.
    Jeff Schaffer
    Lake Monticello

  18. Mike Bell (NO RELATON TO MOSES) says

    You are correct! but he is the chairman that sits the agenda of wrong and stealing. You are correct it takes 4 votes to pass a motion. Maybe, The Governor would remove the 5 for this kind of stealing.

    Jeff Schaffer, I hate to say it be YOU ARE correct! Vote these people out or remove them for stealing.
    We need to start an online petition to THE Governor’s Office

  19. Mike Bell (NO RELATON TO MOSES) says

    Katrina Bass! You are correct!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I hope Whitaker is not kin to PINOCCHIO because he would have to remove his windshield in his county car to drive home to Columbia with our tax $$$$$$.

    Still not living in Fairfield per contract, but what is a contract among lairs.

  20. I tried to refuse to think that could happen; but reading all I am today and the more to come; I weep for the county we (California/TN) natives have grown to love. Keep your eyes open to local revelations and Thank God for FIOA! Surely it is time for the State of SC to look into such misuse of funds !

  21. Wanda says

    Jeff, there may be more than come!

  22. Jeff Schaffer says

    Damn Girl, that was beautiful! or as we used to say…Right on!
    The answer to your question…” but, what is a contract among liars?” is the Golden Rule: ‘‘I have always believed there is honor among thieves. You respect the next thief.’’ –New York Times
    And that my friend is how they got Robinson to be the 5th rubber stamp.
    Jeff Schaffer

  23. Scarlett Johansson says

    It’s really sad to be an employee and resident of this county and have to witness such foolishness and recklessness. So it’s ok for a thief to be rewarded for wrongdoing? Since when? Tell me how ethical that is. I appreciate Brad’s honesty and transparency, he was only doing his job. But what about the other employees, the honest, hardworking employees, that are risking their lives every day, with Covid numbers continuously rising, the price of gas and food increasing, when are the employees going to get a pay increase? The council members taxed the $4000 bonus checks and the bonus we received in July was a slap in the face. Don’t get me wrong we should all be thankful for what we get but, spending unnecessary money and giving it away to thieves is exactly why so many people are leaving the county because of Whitaker and the council members poor decision making. And the nerve of council and Whitaker trying to hire someone for a position at the detention center(probably someone they know) when you can’t even give a pay increase the the current employees.

  24. Dot Rogers says

    Now we KNOW some of why the FOUR became FIVE when voting irresponsibly and wasting taxpayers money !!
    But wait- – – is there more ?? Another lesson for today :
    Therefore a man shall abandon his constituents and hold fast to his council chairman and others who will corruptly pass riches upon him and themselves ; and the five shall become one flesh, vote together, abuse power together, fill all their purses with gems and gold, and joyfully feast on the loins of the taxpayers until they become loathed and their voices negligible in the land upon which they dwell. Dotism

  25. Mike Bell (NO RELATON TO MOSES) says

    Dot Rogers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Amen brother! Preach the words of corruption and conspiracy!
    Now, the Mafia is in Hilton Head living the life of the rich and famous, when most Fairfield County citizens don’t go the myrtle bleach for the summer. This is done in the name of TRAINING, I guess you need to be trained how to get 50000 for your family members and believe you are doing the people work.

    This course in named unethically 101!

  26. John Jones says

    My God!! What a complete Moron! James, your grammer and punctuation says it all. First, it;s anything not anythink, Second, it;s we’re not were, and third, it;s forget not foget you dimwit

  27. Greydon Maechtle says

    I have been reading the comments and what comes to mind is what I have long believed are 3 common characteristics of all politicians: Self-Interest, Corruption, and Incompetence.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]