Former S.C. Treasurer Thomas Ravenel will be in court later this week in East Hampton Village, New York, after he was arrested and charged with suspicion of driving while impaired (DWI) early Monday morning.
The dashing reality TV star – who was reportedly accompanied at the time of his arrest by prominent Palmetto socialite Kathryn Dennis – initially declined a breathalyzer exam following his traffic stop, which means his right to drive in the Empire State will be revoked for a year. Ravenel is in New York playing polo, according to The East Hampton Star – the local media outlet which broke the story.
At the time he was pulled over, Ravenel and Dennis were returning to a Long Island home from the Stephen Talkhouse – a club in the Hamptons. Ravenel acknowledged having a beer at the club and a glass of wine hours before during dinner – but maintains he was not inebriated.
“There are some mitigating factors I look forward to discussing regarding this situation when the time is right,” Ravenel said in a statement. “For now, though I am going to refer any requests for comment to my attorneys as we consider our options.”
South Carolina and New York have very different laws for driving while impaired – although both states have adopted .08 as their legal blood alcohol limit. Ravenel may have initially declined the breathalyzer without knowing New York imposes a far greater penalty for doing so.
Ravenel later attempted to take the breathalyzer exam, but was not permitted to do so.
Speculation regarding Ravenel’s arrest quickly centered around the Bravo reality show he will be starring in later this year – “Southern Charm.”
“I think it’s all for ratings,” one Lowcountry political strategist told FITS.”It’s all free advertising for his show.”
If so … mission accomplished.
Ravenel has been mulling a political comeback in recent weeks. In fact earlier this month he told Charleston, S.C. radio host Tara Servatius that he was considering pumping as much as $5 million of his own fortune into a bid for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by liberal “Republican” Lindsey Graham.