Thirteen months ago, this website reported on allegations that the Sikh Religious Society of South Carolina was stiffing contractors out of thousands of dollars – a story which opened the door to a federal investigation of the temple and its politically-connected leaders (including S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley).
Apparently old habits die hard.
In a lawsuit filed just last month in Richland County, S.C., Sherwin Williams is asking a judge to force the temple to cough up the cash for an unpaid painting bill totaling $11,083.16.
The Sikh Religious Society of South Carolina is run by Ajit S. Randhawa, father of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. The governor – who kept the books for her “family business” – is also alleged to have kept the books for the temple, where she previously served as a member of its board of directors.
Discrepancies in the temple’s finances were first exposed in this exclusive report published by FITS in November 2010. At the time, these problems were presumed to be merely another example of Haley’s shoddy accounting work – not some elaborate conspiracy warranting a federal probe.
Five months later, however, we learned that federal agents were indeed “asking questions” about the temple’s finances based on information provided to them by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), one of Haley’s cabinet agencies.
Earlier this week, FITS learned that former SLED chief Reggie Lloyd – who announced his resignation from the Haley administration last March – forwarded specific temple-related allegations to the FBI in early 2011, and that a North Carolina branch of the agency has sought documents from the temple.
That has reportedly led to an investigation into Haley’s personal finances, which have come under scrutiny since she took office a year ago.
Last March it was revealed that Haley’s job application for a fundraising position at Lexington Medical Center included a 2007 income estimate which vastly exceeded the amount of money that Haley reported to the IRS that year. Specifically, Haley’s application stated that she made $125,000 from her family clothing business in 2007 (a figure that would explain her $300,000 home, Cadillac SUV, fancy jewelry, etc.).
On her federal tax returns, however, Haley reported making only $22,000 from her “family business” that year. Haley claims she never provided the hospital with that figure, although those denials have been thoroughly debunked.
Obviously, stiffing contractors is nothing new for Haley. Her Department of Transportation stiffed contractors this summer when it ran into a cash crunch based in large part on funding for the costly Interstate 73 boondoggle.