SC

Kickback To Cover Mayor’s Ass?

A shady government-subsidized property purchase is allegedly the key to getting Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin off the hook for the money he lost in an equally shady government-subsidized housing development – one which went belly-up earlier this year at a cost of millions of dollars to taxpayers. According to…

A shady government-subsidized property purchase is allegedly the key to getting Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin off the hook for the money he lost in an equally shady government-subsidized housing development – one which went belly-up earlier this year at a cost of millions of dollars to taxpayers.

According to our sources, the city’s highly questionable decision to purchase an abandoned warehouse a few months ago had a little “extra” thrown into the purchase price.

This “extra” money will allegedly go to make good on the bailout Benjamin received from a former business partner. This bailout extricated him from the spectacularly failed “Village at River’s Edge” project, a government-subsidized affordable housing boondoggle.

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 shelled out money for the project thanks to Benjamin– who sold the plan to city council back in 2006.

Now taxpayers are allegedly being deprived of additional money to pay off his bailout.

Multiple sources have confirmed to FITS that the city’s recent decision to purchase the Palmetto Compress Building – located downtown near the Carolina Coliseum – is linked to the River’s Edge deal. Back in March at a specially convened meeting, the city agreed to buy the property for $5.6 million – with another $1.5 million (at least) thrown in for “upgrade” expenses.

The purposes of those “upgrades?” To help “re-purpose” this building for another use.

Well … and to make Benjamin “whole,” according to our sources.

The Palmetto Compress deal makes zero sense for the city. At the time Benjamin and his allies on the council stepped in with their “re-purposing” plan, the building was about to be demolished to make way for a private sector housing development targeting students at the University of South Carolina. So yeah – a totally worthless property which had been on the market for more than a decade and was about to assume a new private sector use is now on its way to becoming a multi-million-dollar boondoggle.

Via the hospitality funds, taxpayers are now on the hook for a massive investment with nothing but a promise from Steve Benjamin justifying the expense. No audit. No appraisal. Nothing. Just one guy’s word that this location will eventually be transformed into some sort of “entertainment space” or “museum.”

And remember, this is the same guy who brought taxpayers the “Village at River’s Edge” debacle in the first place …

Yeah, Columbia taxpayers. Don’t get dizzy watching more of your money go down the drain … oh, and just wait until the hospitality fund has no more money left for city leaders to borrow against. We can hear the tax hike drumbeat already …

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64 comments

Where There's Smoke July 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I’m curious who the unknown buyer of the Rivers Edge property is…

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southmauldin July 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Whoever runs VRE II, LLC.

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southmauldin July 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I saw that – looks like a prime candidate for the Eau Claire Development Committee or some other governmental entity that laps at the milky teat of the taxpayers.
My question is, why didn’t this guy buy the property after it went through foreclosure, for a price much less than what he paid for it pre-foreclosure. And the answer is, to get Benjamin off of the hook.
BTW, Who in the hell would want to live in that area? You have to drive through slums to get there. I wonder if the Rivers Edge HOA requires you to own firearms to live there.

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? July 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

“And the answer is, to get Benjamin off of the hook.”

Appears so, in fact, Barner’s website says the following:

“Our clients include public housing authorities such as the Columbia Housing Authority”

Can you see the money trail clearly now?

These buffoons can clearly do whatever they damn well please. The populace is too concerned with Honey Boo Boo to care, but in fairness to them it’s rational disinterest.

EJB July 24, 2013 at 7:00 am

Probably not but common sense sure would.

You know me July 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

Barner, according to SC Sec. of State, is the registered agent for more than 20 companies. Red flag.

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? July 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Looks like he’s a former gov’t parasite associated with housing welfare recipients:

http://aikenhousing.org/main/index.php/about-us/admin-staff?view=employee&id=1

His linked-in account is hysterical:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/reginal-barner/12/817/86b

I wouldn’t hire him to be my janitor.

Reply
Where There's Smoke July 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I’m curious who the unknown buyer of the Rivers Edge property is…

Reply
southmauldin July 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Whoever runs VRE II, LLC.

Reply
southmauldin July 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I saw that – looks like a prime candidate for the Eau Claire Development Committee or some other governmental entity that laps at the milky teat of the taxpayers.
My question is, why didn’t this guy buy the property after it went through foreclosure, for a price much less than what he paid for it pre-foreclosure. And the answer is, to get Benjamin off of the hook.
BTW, Who in the hell would want to live in that area? You have to drive through slums to get there. I wonder if the Rivers Edge HOA requires you to own firearms to live there.

Reply
? July 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

“And the answer is, to get Benjamin off of the hook.”

Appears so, in fact, Barner’s website says the following:

“Our clients include public housing authorities such as the Columbia Housing Authority”

Can you see the money trail clearly now?

These buffoons can clearly do whatever they damn well please. The populace is too concerned with Honey Boo Boo to care, but in fairness to them it’s rational disinterest.

EJB July 24, 2013 at 7:00 am

Probably not but common sense sure would.

You know me July 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

Barner, according to SC Sec. of State, is the registered agent for more than 20 companies. Red flag.

Reply
? July 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Looks like he’s a former gov’t parasite associated with housing welfare recipients:

http://aikenhousing.org/main/index.php/about-us/admin-staff?view=employee&id=1

His linked-in account is hysterical:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/reginal-barner/12/817/86b

I wouldn’t hire him to be my janitor.

Reply
Smirks July 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Don’t worry, nothing will ever happen to Benjamin and the “good” people of Columbia will continue to reelect him. Maybe in 20 years he’ll retire and another clod will take his place, probably even worse than him.

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Jay Ellington July 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

We traded the witch (Coble) for the devil (Benjamin), a miniature warlock (Scott), a succubus (Wilson), a hantu demon (Santiago), a hobgoblin (Johnson), and a whole mess of zombies (Benjamin supporters).

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Smirks July 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Don’t worry, nothing will ever happen to Benjamin and the “good” people of Columbia will continue to reelect him. Maybe in 20 years he’ll retire and another clod will take his place, probably even worse than him.

Reply
The Ghost of Fat Greg Dulli July 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

We traded the witch (Coble) for the devil (Benjamin), a miniature warlock (Scott), a succubus (Wilson), a hantu demon (Santiago), a hobgoblin (Johnson), and a whole mess of zombies (Benjamin supporters).

Reply
Jeff July 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Columbia is trying to rival Chicago as the most corrupt city in the US. We still have a way to go, but Mayor Benjamin is going to keep on keepin’ on!

Ever since the “Good Mayor” ran into that 70 year old lady at 3 in the morning, and he is more or less indirectly responsible for her death; and no charges were brought and that incident was swept under the rug, I have been waiting for Columbia to royally F up.

The current CPD scandal that goes back to at least Randy Scott (who was horrible).

The Richland County Election in 2012 that was so bungled it made elections in Sudan look good.

The allegations that Steve took federal money for personal use, while an elected official.

This new allegation.

And the list goes on and on.

Columbia is a dump, get out while you can. Let the Liberals destroy it.

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Jeff July 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Columbia is trying to rival Chicago as the most corrupt city in the US. We still have a way to go, but Mayor Benjamin is going to keep on keepin’ on!

Ever since the “Good Mayor” ran into that 70 year old lady at 3 in the morning, and he is more or less indirectly responsible for her death; and no charges were brought and that incident was swept under the rug, I have been waiting for Columbia to royally F up.

The current CPD scandal that goes back to at least Randy Scott (who was horrible).

The Richland County Election in 2012 that was so bungled it made elections in Sudan look good.

The allegations that Steve took federal money for personal use, while an elected official.

This new allegation.

And the list goes on and on.

Columbia is a dump, get out while you can. Let the Liberals destroy it.

Reply
Aloha Steve July 23, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I am confused about how Benjamin gets his share of that money…directly or indirectly. Perhaps I wasn’t following the Rivers Edge story long enough. Or damn, maybe the article is too confusing. Any help?

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Finius Nullis July 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Yes – somebody help with an explanation.

Reply
? July 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm

See who Barner’s “client” list includes above.

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Peter O. July 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm

It’s not so much that he’s getting rich, just that he’s avoiding defaulting on a loan worth millions of dollars in his name.

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Aloha Steve July 23, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I am confused about how Benjamin gets his share of that money…directly or indirectly. Perhaps I wasn’t following the Rivers Edge story long enough. Or damn, maybe the article is too confusing. Any help?

Reply
Finius Nullis July 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Yes – somebody help with an explanation.

Reply
? July 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm

See who Barner’s “client” list includes above.

Reply
Peter O. July 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm

It’s not so much that he’s getting rich, just that he’s avoiding defaulting on a loan worth millions of dollars in his name.

Reply
southmauldin July 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm

This will be a bigger clusterfuck than the Bull Street property. Sloping floors, no parking, large rehab costs. Its highest and best use is what it was doing – storing illegal poker machines.

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southmauldin July 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm

This will be a bigger clusterfuck than the Bull Street property. Sloping floors, no parking, large rehab costs. Its highest and best use is what it was doing – storing illegal poker machines.

Reply
Mafia July 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm

The village money made benjamin a weathy man. He lives in the same neighborhood as Steve Spurrier, thanks to the City of Columbia’s taxpayers.

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? July 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm

It’s no coincidence that pols if not already rich when elected end up rich by the end of their “service” or within the 1st year of being out of office…and it’s not due to their “brains” or superior business skills.

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Mafia July 23, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Amen!!

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Mafia July 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm

The village money made benjamin a weathy man. He lives in the same neighborhood as Steve Spurrier, thanks to the City of Columbia’s taxpayers.

Reply
? July 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm

It’s no coincidence that pols if not already rich when elected end up rich by the end of their “service” or within the 1st year of being out of office…and it’s not due to their “brains” or superior business skills.

Reply
Mafia July 23, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Amen!!

Reply
Soft Sigh from Hell July 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Just move to a community run by decent honest conservative Republican white officials, say Lexington County.

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Soft Sigh from Hell July 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Just move to a community run by decent honest conservative Republican white officials, say Lexington County.

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Invisible Hired Help July 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm

To make matters worse, Jean Toal has guaranteed Steve Benjamin that he will not be prosecuted for any of the above. T-bone’s wife is a Toalite to the inth degree. One of her go-to judges. Yes, she can do that. She owns Dan Johnson, btw. She has traded Darryl Jackson’s and several other senate votes for that guarantee. She has even got Bob “I;m a Toal Whore” Coble praising Benjamin. And his clone, moron son Daniel or whatever his name is. It’s going to get worse in Columbia, fans. Just wait. IHH. ps. I would not even have a glass of wine – not a single one – because the black cops at CPD are ordered to arrest as many white folks for DUI as possible this next week. Got to get those stats up.

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Invisible Hired Help July 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm

To make matters worse, Jean Toal has guaranteed Steve Benjamin that he will not be prosecuted for any of the above. T-bone’s wife is a Toalite to the inth degree. One of her go-to judges. Yes, she can do that. She owns Dan Johnson, btw. She has traded Darryl Jackson’s and several other senate votes for that guarantee. She has even got Bob “I;m a Toal Whore” Coble praising Benjamin. And his clone, moron son Daniel or whatever his name is. It’s going to get worse in Columbia, fans. Just wait. IHH. ps. I would not even have a glass of wine – not a single one – because the black cops at CPD are ordered to arrest as many white folks for DUI as possible this next week. Got to get those stats up.

Reply
Jay Ellington July 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

Everything that Peter Rowe (former HUD director) uncovered about the way this guy conducts himself as a real estate “developer” should have been enough to oust him as mayor and/or land him in prison. Alas, he’s as slippery and slimy an individual as they come, protected by other slippery and slimy individuals.

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junior justice July 24, 2013 at 10:20 am

“Slicker than whale shit” – are you saying he is THAT slippery?

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Jay Ellington July 24, 2013 at 10:25 am

Dipped in baby oil and double coated in vaseline…

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junior justice July 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Damn!

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The Ghost of Fat Greg Dulli July 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

Everything that Peter Rowe (former HUD director) uncovered about the way this guy conducts himself as a real estate “developer” should have been enough to oust him as mayor and/or land him in prison. Alas, he’s as slippery and slimy an individual as they come, protected by other slippery and slimy individuals.

Reply
junior justice July 24, 2013 at 10:20 am

“Slicker than whale shit” – are you saying he is THAT slippery?

Reply
The Ghost of Fat Greg Dulli July 24, 2013 at 10:25 am

Dipped in baby oil and double coated in vaseline…

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junior justice July 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Damn!

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thereallizardman July 24, 2013 at 10:05 am

It’s all about the Benjamins. Always was and always will be. Steve is not a public servant. It’s the other way around: he uses the public to serve his own interests. And it’s apparent in everything he chooses to do – from hiring an unproven City Manager to fast-tracking the Bull Street deal. But the City Manager hiring should be his undoing. That could be the only platform an opponent runs on. It speaks volumes about his priorities.

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junior justice July 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

It’s time for the citizens to “kick” HIS “back” — for good! Humiliate him, his wife, and each of his cronies and supporters.

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bill December 7, 2013 at 1:02 am

someone just murdered his wife’s brother.

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thereallizardman July 24, 2013 at 10:05 am

It’s all about the Benjamins. Always was and always will be. Steve is not a public servant. It’s the other way around: he uses the public to serve his own interests. And it’s apparent in everything he chooses to do – from hiring an unproven City Manager to fast-tracking the Bull Street deal. But the City Manager hiring should be his undoing. That could be the only platform an opponent runs on. It speaks volumes about his priorities.

Reply
junior justice July 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

It’s time for the citizens to “kick” HIS “back” — for good! Humiliate him, his wife, and each of his cronies and supporters.

Reply
RHood2 July 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I can’t see any connection between the projects. Spell it out clearly.

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RHood2 July 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I can’t see any connection between the projects. Spell it out clearly.

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Richard July 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Columbia-the Detroit of the South. Thank God I live in Lexington County and don’t pay for any of this crap.

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Scooter July 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm

And you think we are better off?

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Richard July 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Columbia-the Detroit of the South. Thank God I live in Lexington County and don’t pay for any of this crap.

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Scooter July 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm

And you think we are better off?

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Cola-native July 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Here is the connection…the money is not part of the extra 1.5 mi of “maintenance cost”. The money is the difference of $650,000 that the city paid over what the original buyer was going to pay. It may be that the owners of the Compress building is the same group that bought the Rivers Edge property from the bank that took it after it foreclosed. That would explain why the hell the city would arbitrarily pay $650k more that they should.

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Cola-native July 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Here is the connection…the money is not part of the extra 1.5 mi of “maintenance cost”. The money is the difference of $650,000 that the city paid over what the original buyer was going to pay. It may be that the owners of the Compress building is the same group that bought the Rivers Edge property from the bank that took it after it foreclosed. That would explain why the hell the city would arbitrarily pay $650k more that they should.

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Kaye June 26, 2014 at 11:07 am

The mayor said he would speak publicly after Pinson’s trial. Don’t fall for whatever he has to say.

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