Next Monday, S.C. Twelfth Circuit family court judge Timothy Pogue will convene a hearing in the divorce case of S.C. Rep. Andy Patrick (RINO-Beaufort) and his estranged wife, Amee.
The case is noteworthy because its pleadings were improperly sealed last summer – even though Patrick’s attorney, fellow S.C. Rep. Doug Brannon (RINO-Spartanburg) failed to provide a proper motion explaining “why sealing (was) necessary” and “why less drastic alternatives to sealing will not afford adequate protection” to his client.
We would ordinarily have no interest in Patrick’s disastrous personal life, but his father-in-law – Michael Stefonick – has turned it into a political challenge, threatening to run his son-in-law, whom he says abandoned his wife (and stole $170,000 from him).
Yeah … wow.
Astoundingly, despite all of this drama Patrick recently announced himself as a candidate for statewide office – less than a year after being humiliated in a failed bid for the U.S. Congress.
FITS has extensive connections within the judicial branch of government in the Palmetto State, and when we went digging one of our most trusted sources informed us Patrick’s case had been sealed for “national security” reasons.
FITS has previously reported on some of Patrick’s shady business (here and here), but in what universe is a South Carolina lawmaker’s affidavit in a divorce case remotely connected to “national security?”
South Carolina’s foremost open records attorney – Columbia, S.C.’s Jay Bender – wants to know. On behalf of The Beaufort Gazette and The (Hilton Head) Island Packet – two newspapers livid with Patrick’s secrecy – Bender has filed a motion to unseal the case file. Not only that, both of these papers have reportedly submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in search of possible discrepancies on Patrick’s state ethics filing related to money he received from the taxpayers of Beaufort County.
And if all that weren’t enough, a deposition will be held later this month in a civil suit involving Patrick, his father-in-law and the McNair Law Firm over the $170,000 he allegedly stole.
Seriously … where is this guy going to find the time to campaign?
Andy Patrick is clearly neck deep in several major messes in Beaufort County … deep family drama, questionable ethics reporting, a wad of missing cash and whatever this alleged “national security” issue is. He should do the honorable thing and give up his statewide bid – and his House seat.