Earlier this week we ran an item on a pending S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigation into $300,000 worth of missing money at the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Department.
Now, why SLED would investigate $300,000 in missing cash at the local level – and not $4 million in missing cash at the state level – is a mystery to us, but whatever. Selective enforcement seems to be the name of the game under SLED chief Mark Keel, so it’s not surprising at all to us that he’s picking winners and losers when it comes to enforcing our state’s anti-corruption laws.
Anyway … in digging into this story further we’ve uncovered a February 2013 report in The (Greenwood, S.C.) Index Journal which references the SLED investigation and names former Sheriff’s office employee Sandi Owens (a.k.a. Sandi McAlister) as having been terminated from her position with the agency as of six months ago.
So … is there a connection between the investigation and Owens’ termination? Multiple sources in Greenwood say “yes,” although they have warned us to “tread carefully” in covering this particular probe.
How come? Because Owens has reportedly lawyered up and is preparing “the mother of all wrongful termination suits” against the county – which is one reason her name hasn’t been directly tied to the SLED probe in any media reports.
Still, our sources have described in detail inappropriate expenses allegedly initiated by Owens, including “a borderline bizarre amount of candy each month.” More substantively, SLED investigators are reportedly probing irregularities in the Greenwood Sheriff’s 9-1-1 surcharge fund and “seized funds” account.
We’re also told Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis is “neck deep” in these irregularities, and more specifically that he “removed protocols” protecting each of these accounts from misuse.
FITS has been on the leading edge of several Sheriff’s scandals in recent months. Back in January we reported on the pending indictment of Chesterfield County (S.C.) Sheriff Sam Parker as part of the state’s latest inmate labor scandal. We’ve also been chronicling every step of the video poker scandal that’s swirling around Lexington County, S.C. Sheriff Jimmy Metts.
Also, FITS will continue to gather information regarding this agency whether Owens or Davis like it or not. In fact being told to “tread carefully” only makes us want to dig deeper in an effort to uncover the truth.