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Dear Editor,

Hope you had a good vacation at Pawley’s.

Former Columbia, S.C. mayor Bob Coble and the Nexsen Pruet law firm are hosting a fundraiser for Lexington County Councilman Bill Banning on Thursday June 19 at 5:30 p.m. at their offices in downtown Columbia. Nexsen Pruet is the firm where Lexington County administrator Joe Mergo’s wife (S.C. Sen. Nikki Setzler’s daughter) is a partner.

Nexsen Pruet already contributed $1,000 to Banning. Since this event is inside the 10-day window for the runoff election, Banning’s contributors from it won’t be disclosed until AFTER the runoff election. You’re invited!

Banning filed his pre-election campaign report AFTER the primary election. Let’s see if he gets fined for that. This report showed that almost all his contributions have been from Richland County individuals and businesses, and particularly the Mungo home construction empire, allies of the S.C. Realtors association, John Roof and the S.C. Homebuilders Association – all of whom are in the local real estate/ development cabal.

All of them would benefit from the “Penny for Progress” sales tax which Banning and disgraced former Lexington mayor Randy Halfacre are pushing.

Banning’s expenditures show he had polling done by Conquest Communications – a Virginia-based company that also did polling for the “Penny for Progress” effort. He also spent $1,000 on “seeds” from former county councilman Smokey Davis.

How can you spend $1,000 on seeds?

Banning also has an expenditure of under $1,000 for signs – although he has at least two hundred signs out. This implies he is not reporting all his contributions/ contributors.

“Dollar Bill” Banning is in runoff with Ned Tolar who is a true fiscal conservative. We hear that Tolar submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the county for information on a $450,000 contract awarded to Alliance Engineering – a York and Richland County entity – and after almost two months Lexington County still won’t release details of the contract or produce the RFP.

As you now live in Lexington County (you’re welcome!) you may want to report on the insider and fishy dealings going on here.

-Concerned Lexington Resident

SIC SEZ

sic speaking

You know I moved out of downtown Columbia, S.C. (in part) to get away from stuff like this … guess when it comes to corrupt politicians ripping off gullible taxpayers to benefit themselves and their allies, there’s nothing new under the sun no matter where you go in the Palmetto State. Anyway … thanks for passing this information along.