Lawsuit: Haley Manipulated Agency Hiring Process

DRAMA AT GOVERNOR’S WORKFORCE AGENCY EXPOSED … S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has another cabinet scandal on her hands … this one involving the woman hired to replace arguably the most incompetent appointment of her entire administration. Last May Haley hired New York attorney Cheryl Stanton to lead the S.C. Department…


S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has another cabinet scandal on her hands … this one involving the woman hired to replace arguably the most incompetent appointment of her entire administration.

Last May Haley hired New York attorney Cheryl Stanton to lead the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) after the agency devolved into chaos under the “leadership” of former general Abraham Turner.

By most accounts, Stanton has steadied the ship … however a new lawsuit filed by one of the agency’s former executives threatens to undo all of that, accusing Stanton of participating in a months-long soap opera involving various members of her upper management – one of whom she allegedly framed in an effort to run out of the agency.

That employee – a former SCDEW interim chief of staff – has filed an explosive lawsuit meticulously documenting what she alleges is a conspiracy to frame her with regard to a recent “data breach,” the final chapter in a saga of agency intrigue that reaches all the way to the governor’s office.

Perhaps most disturbingly for Stanton, she stands accused in the lawsuit of “intentionally misleading” S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigators regarding the breach – and regarding her alleged involvement in it.

Haley? Her office is all over the lawsuit … repeatedly diving into the bureaucratic soap opera on one side or the other.

Seriously … anybody who reads this filing is going to think they’re reading a Young and the Restless screenplay.

Most damaging for the governor? Like Stanton, she’s also accused of manipulating the SLED investigation – as well as manipulating the process by which Stanton was hired.

Governors are permitted to hire their own cabinet heads, but they are supposed to present three names to be vetted by a legislative panel.

“The governor had already made the decision to hire (Stanton),” the suit claims, “but (she) had to make it seem like she was following the rules.”

The former interim chief of staff was one of two “nominees” for the post, even though she was expressly told “she would not be hired and that she was expected to remain as an employee at DEW after the hiring of … Stanton was completed.”

Frankly, this whole thing is ridiculous.

Governors in South Carolina wield little true executive power, but they are allowed to appoint cabinet members who – for the most part – are allowed to hire and fire underlings as they see fit.  That’s exactly as it should be … in fact we wish that sort of direct line of accountability was present in the other 80 percent of the executive branch (which governors do not control).

But rather than directly exercising accountability, this lawsuit paints a picture of an administration scheming relentlessly – and convolutedly – for months on end in an effort to finally get is proper personnel in place.

And allegedly breaking the law in the process …

We don’t know whether the more serious allegations contained in this suit are true or not, but this is shaping up to be one helluva dramatic (and costly) bureaucratic courtroom battle.

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

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jimlewisowb January 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Plaintiff will bitch and moan
Defendant will bitch and moan
Lawyers for the plaintiff will bitch and moan
Lawyers for the defendant will bitch and moan
Plaintiff will be given a butt load of taxpayer’s money to go away
Defendant will be given a butt load of taxpayer’s money for doing such a great job
Lawyers will be given a butt load of taxpayer’s money
Taxpayers will take another one up the ass and bitch and moan

Todd January 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm


IVEBEENHACKED January 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Nikki Haley is the most corrupt person in this state right now. She runs her agencies with ruthlessness and cronyism. If people elect her this fall they are nuts.

Deo Vindice SC January 16, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Thats why republicans will loose in 16.

Elfego January 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

You folks if not foolish are downright ignorant to political and the way Columbia is run!

Back Ho January 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Yet, she’ll be reelected even if there’s video footage of payoff money sticking out of her ass.

Pander Bears Anonymous January 16, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Hey, as long as Republicans get the right to carry a gun in a restaurant ,and have Katrina”pander bear” Shealy proposing some silly,never going to pass tax cut plan!

All is well in the state of SC!

This little dustup?

Tsk! Tsk!

Deo Vindice SC January 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm

I love ass, but not the smell of curry, only shit.

Thomas January 17, 2014 at 1:00 am

Nope. Sheheen will be the next Governor. He will be a two term Governor, then Alan Wilson will follow. Word up.

Deo Vindice SC January 17, 2014 at 9:09 pm

A Wilson ! Please don’t say that ! A Curtis Wilson I will vote for !!!

nitrat January 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Those pleadings were something.
If they’re true, Chris Christie and his hoods got nothing on Trikki and hers where ‘abuse of power’ is concerned.
And, I believe Mr. Keel will be the end of SLED.

Deo Vindice SC January 16, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Keel shoud be a inmate

Iftheyonlyknew January 16, 2014 at 7:12 pm

I’m just waiting for a similar situation to arise from DHEC. It’s only a matter of time, and that MO wouldn’t be beneath them.
Miss Catherine and crew are doing everything they can to divvy up the agency. Rumor has it that SCDHHS’ Tony Keck thinks he already runs public health in this state. Catherine is working just as hard as she can to get DHEC ready to be split. If the Legislature is smart they’ll say “Hell no!”, at least until Keck and Templeton are both gone. They and their crews have made wrecks of their respective agencies.
Sic, you should really look into some of the financial and personnel shenanigans at both #SCDHEC and #SCDHHS. Either your moles have been silenced, or you’re making nice for some reason?

nitrat January 16, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Despite these and the other examples of the failure of the cabinet system found at DOR, DSS, DOT, etc., we march inexorably toward ‘reorganization’.
Has there ever been so many examples of a failed system that the politicians are so anxious to expand?

Inciteful January 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Both Templeton and Stanton came from the Ogletree law firm. That firm is listed as a major contributor to the Haley $98,000 travel fund. Hmmmm..

Centrist View January 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm

8. Plaintiff is the Human Resources Director of DEW…
(The last person you want filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against you is an HR Director.)

18. Plaintiff has been certified as a Professional in Human Resources since 2006 ….
(The last person you want filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against you is a certified HR Director.)

30. Plaintiff was told the Governor wanted to hire Defendant Stanton because Stanton was a friend of Catherine Templeton’s.
(What would you call this reality TV show?)

Suggested reading
The Tyranny of the Queen Bee
Women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who
followed—but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood.

Deo Vindice SC January 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I have to state to all of you, that I did not vote for her ! AKA, I have a brain that works, now eat your shit !!! LOL LOL LOL !!!

Centrist View January 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

From lawsuit FACTS (related to SLED obtaining a search warrant for Kerry Paul’s home)

101. The search is irregular on its face as it is issued pursuant to S.C. Code 16-15-405, a criminal statute addressing second degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

nitrat January 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm

FITSNEWS is woefully confused. They think this is about hiring process rather than a state’s chief executive conspiring with law enforcement to come up with phony criminal charges…to make a cabinet appointee happy?
It’s banana republic, or Indian sub-continent, time in the Palmetto State.

BrigidBernadette January 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm

He must not have read the filing–to call this ‘soap opera’ is ridiculous. SLED served a warrant with no just cause, and even put exploitation of a minor on it? FITS, you should be paying closer attention on this one, you could be next. Stanton is a hog. May she burn in hell for her lies.

notagain January 16, 2014 at 11:13 pm

That’s so racially insensitive. I can only imagine how you would describe our President’s cultural background. I suppose you would refer to him as sub-Saharan African. Leave her color out of this.

nitrat January 17, 2014 at 6:12 pm

You obviously don’t keep up with the corruption in the Indian “democracy’, suitcases full of cash in the nation’s legislative chambers and such
THAT is the kind of government her parents grew up with…and, apparently they told her that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Centrist View January 16, 2014 at 8:45 pm

From the lawsuit

140. Plaintiff received a call recently about a birthday party her daughter had been invited
to from the birthday child’s parent. The parent asked Plaintiff not to attend the birthday party with her daughter because it would jeopardize her job. Plaintiff’s daughter is 4 and the party was a Chucky Cheese.

Is this South Carolina state government or Myrtle Manor?

Deo Vindice SC January 16, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Nikki manor, I would say, point ?

Walter-White January 17, 2014 at 8:30 am

I got something she can manipulate. Then she can make me a sammich.

Town Crier January 17, 2014 at 8:57 am

“County of Richmond” ??? Off to a bad start when your coversheet has a non-existent SC county at the top.

riker nc January 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Which article are you reading? I did a search of the entire document. Even had the computer search it. The only mention of Richmond or even “Rich” is you comment. I guess schools down in SC are like they are here in NC. Not much on teaching anyone anything. Just graduate them to get them out of the public schools.

BrigidBernadette January 19, 2014 at 12:14 pm

First page. top left, second line.

Town Crier January 19, 2014 at 4:44 pm


happytobeme January 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Let me say that karma is only a bitch if you are and Kerry Paul got what she deserved. Why does she wait until after all the bullying to file suit? Kerry Paul was one of the biggest bullies at DEW. I have first hand experience with the corrupt agency. When Cheryl Stanton came in she found a way to get rid of anyone who she didn’t like (aka worked closely to Turner) and Kerry Paul stood behind her with full support. As far as the USB stick situation, if you have one for work purposes, it is supposed to be encrypted with a password. I know they don’t do that because I requested such while I worked there. Of course, I never did receive. The agency keeps people who they want to and who they can brain wash. Kerry Paul might be a PHR or a Certified Public Manager, but I have zero respect for her or any other of the so called upper management at DEW who find reasons to fire good people, however keep people on the payroll who are shacking up together in state paid hotels and management is fully aware. Oh these people are married to and are both DEW employees. Another great day in SC. I thank God every day that I am no longer employed by such a shit to agency.

mary January 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Amen. I was so glad to leave. She was the biggest bully there. It’s funny how they allegedly treated her like she treated everyone else. Karma took her down. Wonder which one of her “friends” will be next.

Elfego January 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

I do not know if this is true or not but it goes on in state government all the time. Jobs and promotions are traded quite often and most if not all of the legislature is involved init. Please do not be so naive!

Cherie Abee Mabrey January 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I’m just counting the days until we get a new governor — Vincent Sheheen. We should’ve elected him to begin with.

KarmaAlwaysAnswers January 19, 2014 at 8:09 am

As a former employee that worked closely with the executives and upper management, I must say that karma has come through the front door in full force. Do I believe that Kerry Paul was senseless enough to involve herself in a security breach of the such? No. However, she has obviously been given a dose of her own medicine with how she treats other people. For that, bravo! Now the other incompetent fools need to be relieved of their duties, if they haven’t already…. specifically the promotions that Paul gave to individuals based solely on “friendships”. DEW is a joke and we as taxpayers are outraged.

Inciteful January 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Agencies run by Nikky’s Ogletree team of female lawyers with no technical exerience (in either public health or workforce development) are quick to hire their buddies and equally quick to fire those without the requisite blind loyalty. If you’ve got something to hide, loyalty is important.
Rumor has it that Kerry recorded several “encounters” with Stanton. As a savy HR person, this would make some sense. Could make for some interesting news between now and the next election. If you think Christie fired his aids quickly, just watch the speed with which Madame Gubna cuts her losses.

Inciteful January 20, 2014 at 7:50 am

What makes anyone think that folks trained in the adversarial arts-NOT in management of complex organizations and NOT trained in the technical aspects of cabinet departments-are able to motivate and lead anything? They are experts at conflict not cohesion. Why are we surprised when bad things suround them whether a tuberculosis crisis or bad (possibly illegal) HR practices? Lawyers consistantly make for bad managers. South Carolina has two great examples.

Karmacreator January 20, 2014 at 10:47 am

As another former employee, never have I been so happy to not be associated with these idiots any longer. Finan/Turner and their band of misfits, began making this agency the laughing stock of the state. The Governor really shit the bed when she brought these clowns in. Finan was a lame duck. Out of site and out of mind. He did nothing for the agency. Turner could not even speak the English language correctly. They laid off all the people with working knowledge and hired people like King and Speed. Everyone would laugh at them during and after meetings. Idiots at their finest. It was actually a very bad representation of what our military considers a good leader. The military should be embarrassed. As far as this lawsuit, it sounds to me that Paul did not get a promotion that she thought she deserved and then tried to take on the boss with a sour attitude. Looks like mutiny on the bounty to me. My guess is that she attempted to download personnel information in attempt to stock up on ammo to take on the boss and got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. So sorry for her and really stupid. Now it’s time for her to go. “You are fired! Later! Buh Bye! File your UI claim!” (Do that online because there is nobody left in the local offices to help you). She laid off so many employees with no sign of remorse and means of justification, I find it funny that she mentions in her lawsuit that she was not given a reason. She is an “at will” employee. No reason has to be given, but if she must have one, here’s the reason: she is not very good at your job, she pouted like a little baby when she did not get her way, she tried to challenge the person in control then attempted to steal personnel information (a major ethical violation in her profession) to blackmail the people in charge. (By the way, on her next job, someone should tell her to put on some clothes. Most of the time she walked around in mini-skirts that were extremely short and blouses open way too low. People got tired of her flashing them when she sat down. She didn’t have anything any of us wanted to see. A beastly woman that came off as trashy). Thank God I don’t work there any longer. It’s really fun sitting on the outside looking in at the group of misfits try to run an agency and the mess they keep getting themselves into.

Former employee as well January 26, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Yes but now she has your information stored somewhere, so she is holding all former and current employees information hostage!!


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