The Village at River’s Edge – a government-subsidized affordable housing boondoggle featuring Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin as one of its key partners – will be sold at auction next month after being foreclosed upon this week.
The official foreclosure and sale notice – posted to little fanfare in The Columbia (S.C.) Star – is the latest chapter in a costly and as-yet-fully-explained scandal involving Columbia’s corrupt leader.
Back when he was running for mayor of Columbia, S.C. in 2010 (on the buzzword of “transparency”), Benjamin told the press that he had sold his interest in the project. In fact Benjamin bragged to The (Columbia, S.C.) Free Times that he “left seven figures on the table” in selling his piece of the action to developer Jonathan N. Pinson for roughly $500,000.
Really? If Benjamin sold, though, why is he still listed as one of the defendants in the foreclosure notice?
The Village at River’s Edge received at least $7.8 million in federal “stimulus” money and millions more in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (USHUD). Columbia, S.C. taxpayers are also shelling out money for the project thanks to Benjamin’s – who sold the plan to city council back in 2006.