Letter: Lexington County Shenanigans

Dear Editor, Hope you had a good vacation at Pawley’s. Former Columbia, S.C. mayor Bob Coble and the Nexsen Pruet law firm are hosting a fundraiser for Lexington County Councilman Bill Banning on Thursday June 19 at 5:30 p.m. at their offices in downtown Columbia. Nexsen Pruet is the firm…

Dear Editor,

Hope you had a good vacation at Pawley’s.

Former Columbia, S.C. mayor Bob Coble and the Nexsen Pruet law firm are hosting a fundraiser for Lexington County Councilman Bill Banning on Thursday June 19 at 5:30 p.m. at their offices in downtown Columbia. Nexsen Pruet is the firm where Lexington County administrator Joe Mergo’s wife (S.C. Sen. Nikki Setzler’s daughter) is a partner.

Nexsen Pruet already contributed $1,000 to Banning. Since this event is inside the 10-day window for the runoff election, Banning’s contributors from it won’t be disclosed until AFTER the runoff election. You’re invited!

Banning filed his pre-election campaign report AFTER the primary election. Let’s see if he gets fined for that. This report showed that almost all his contributions have been from Richland County individuals and businesses, and particularly the Mungo home construction empire, allies of the S.C. Realtors association, John Roof and the S.C. Homebuilders Association – all of whom are in the local real estate/ development cabal.

All of them would benefit from the “Penny for Progress” sales tax which Banning and disgraced former Lexington mayor Randy Halfacre are pushing.

Banning’s expenditures show he had polling done by Conquest Communications – a Virginia-based company that also did polling for the “Penny for Progress” effort. He also spent $1,000 on “seeds” from former county councilman Smokey Davis.

How can you spend $1,000 on seeds?

Banning also has an expenditure of under $1,000 for signs – although he has at least two hundred signs out. This implies he is not reporting all his contributions/ contributors.

“Dollar Bill” Banning is in runoff with Ned Tolar who is a true fiscal conservative. We hear that Tolar submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the county for information on a $450,000 contract awarded to Alliance Engineering – a York and Richland County entity – and after almost two months Lexington County still won’t release details of the contract or produce the RFP.

As you now live in Lexington County (you’re welcome!) you may want to report on the insider and fishy dealings going on here.

-Concerned Lexington Resident


sic speaking

You know I moved out of downtown Columbia, S.C. (in part) to get away from stuff like this … guess when it comes to corrupt politicians ripping off gullible taxpayers to benefit themselves and their allies, there’s nothing new under the sun no matter where you go in the Palmetto State. Anyway … thanks for passing this information along.

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Political Intrigue June 16, 2014 at 8:38 am

“You know I moved out of downtown Columbia, S.C. (in part) to get away from stuff like this……”

Just where, pray tell, do you think you can move to avoid politics and its related intrigue? Are you that naive, that foolish, or that dumb?

EJB June 16, 2014 at 12:05 pm

He was just flapping his gums, he needed to live somewhere where there were teenagers he could trust to babysit his young ‘uns.

Political Intrigue June 16, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Or public schools his “growing brood” can attend.

Beartrkkr June 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Public school choice at its finest…move to where the good ones are.

jimlewisowb June 16, 2014 at 9:10 am

For some time I have thought of going someplace where rocks, leaves and trees did not harbor Fuckin Cockroaches

A couple of weeks ago I found such a place but it lacked sufficient oxygen to survive so I had to leave in a hurry

However if anyone is interested, I can provide directions to the spot where I fell off the bank into a pond – the water is not deep but deep enough to kill off fucking cockroaches if that is your objective

Bob's My Name June 16, 2014 at 11:26 am

This is a good start to the long list of “Experience You Can Trust” from Banning. The bottom line: Bill Banning will take care of Bill Banning and his list of cronies. Ask anyone how many times Banning showed up to his “office” at the Lexington Chamber for his “job” for the Good to Great Foundation that was underwritten by …. wait for it … YES, the Lexington County Council!!!!

You can’t make this sh!t up!

CorruptionInColumbia June 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Every time I see one of those Banning signs, I wish I had a little brightly colored sign to stick in the ground just below it that says, “He’ll raise your taxes, for sure.” They could be re-used in two years when Debbie Summers and Jeffcoat run.

easterndumbfuckastan June 16, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Over here in the hinterlands of Eastern Dumbfuckastan someone is going around putting big yellow STOP LITTERING stickers on all of the roofing and contracting company signs that have popped up since the hailpocalypse a few weeks ago.

Bob's My Name June 16, 2014 at 11:33 am

Also – my sources tell me that Banning was VERY present (illegally so!) at the early planning meetings to promote the Pennies for Poo-Poo – he made sure his and Johnny Turncoat’s girl, Tiffany Boyce, was in charge of this thing so they could pull every string and send the quid pro quo money to Chip Felkel (they owed him for freebies he did for the SC Association of Counties) and Conquest Communications (polling group who does Banning’s polling and did the polling for Lex. Co Pennies for Poo-Poo!)

There is so much crap sitting here even Bill’s buddy, Bruce Loveless, can cover it up!

GrandTango June 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Tolar looks like he is in good shape to win. Lex-Co has been passing tax increases by a 5-4 vote.
Tolar will make it 5-4 the other way (against increases. But there are two more Liberal spenders on LexCo Council. Jeffcoat and Summers are also part of the every-year tax increases.

CorruptionInColumbia June 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm

GT, I agree with your post entirely except for the part about Jeffcoat being “FITS guy”. Where do you get that conclusion from? Jeffcoat IS one of the problems along with Summers. She is some upper-level functionary in Harvest Hope Food Bank. I guess she figures if she an tax enough people into starvation, she can increase the “need” for HHFB and maybe her perks and salary.

GrandTango June 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I think FITS said he moved his mobile home to Irmo. JJ is his rep. on LexCo Council. That’s what I meant by FITS’ guy.

CorruptionInColumbia June 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

Ok, I understand now. Thanks!

Deo Vindice SC June 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Shealy thanks you. And Metts, Nikki.

Thomas June 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm

South Carolina offers municipal, county, and state workers one of the best healthcare/pension benefit package exceeding the collective bargaining union labor contracts. Since Obamacare those healthcare policies have to be rewritten and will increase in premium costs. In fact South Carolina Blue Cross Blue Shield has already increased policy monthly premiums for SC workers. On top of these huge cost increases, SCBCBS must cover state, county, and city workers’ children till age 26!

What are the YTD premium increases since 2010? How about projected policy expenses to 2018? How are counties going to pay for these increases with revenue? SC from revenue? Will SC cut money (services) to counties? Are we talking any healthcare increases from Obamacare to be paid from SC taxpayers?

Easy answer? While many companies are dropping coverage, entire cities going bankrupt for exorbinent pension/healthcare promises, SC’s solution is to give state, county, city workers pay increases. Then the state cuts money to counties. Counties must shift money, cut services, raise taxes. Counties must cut from their budget to pay for the wage increases from the General Assembly…all for rising healthcare costs. Basic services, road projects, even hiring more workers must be cut. So counties must raise taxes to cover cut projects and services.

Lexington already pays an extra penny (7 cents) while the SC sales tax is 6 cents per dollar. What happens when the General Assembly politicians raise the sales tax to 7 cents or 8 cents? Lexington County citizens will then pay 8 cents or 9 cents per dollar sales tax!

All of this to cover Obamacare healthcare increases?

Solution: Give all employees a 25% pay raise and eliminate state tax payer subsidized healthcare scams. Cut worker hours to 30 hours per week so counties/states do not have to offer healthcare.

Vote NO on any tax increase until they tells us the real reason for another penny tax on sales! Where do we end penny taxes to pay for Obamacare?

truthmonger June 17, 2014 at 10:16 am

Thomas, you are, for lack of a better term, a LIAR. In fact, the pension benefits for the AVERAGE worker are nothing to brag about. Pay and benefits have NOT kept up with the private sector, and that has been proven OVER and OVER. Unfortunately, idiots like you only look at the people in the TOP positions when casting judgement…. kind of like making the same claims about the private sector while ONLY looking at CEO and upper management pay and benefits.
Oh, and one of the reasons so many public services are so high is because they were FARMED OUT TO PRIVATE COMPANIES (like road work). Want to see taxes go down? Stop paying private companies so much for the work they do! Seems no-one has a problem with the overcharging when it’s THEIR company making the profit!.
Not only has pay stagnated for most workers in government, but benefits have been cut dramatically…. except for the top people. Haley just finished cutting disability for police and firefighters crippled on duty by 17% -a massive blow to people already struggling with capped benefits made small by low pay. Oh, and they are also left WITHOUT medical insurance given to regular retirees, and are forced into Obamacare that cuts that meager benefit even more.
Thomas, you are a FSA/ freeloader. You expect professional services and high levels of expertise without having to pay for it, and that is WRONG. You want something for nothing, and you deserve to burn to death in your car while a cop stands by watching -wanting to help, but having to worry more about what will happen to HIS family if he gets badly hurt saving YOU. Public safety isn’t about being rich, but it IS about being able to provide for your family while serving the community. Collective bargaining is ILLEGAL for police, and in exchange they have a right to expect the citizens to ensure that they are treated fairly. Low pay and poor benefits is a guarantee that you WILL have a low quality of officer and poor service. You don’t find 5-star chefs flipping burgers at McD’s.

Thomas June 21, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Companies can afford to carry spouses and kids by charging more for their products and services. SC covers spouses and kids…by cutting services and raising taxes on the producers in the state? Tax increases for SC workers are compensated with wage increases. SC takes in zero revenue from state worker income taxes. We get you on other taxes and fees, but that really washes out when you consider SC is losing money hand over fist with the private sector-like benefit packages.

Proper Noun June 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I’m not in to “Dollar Bill” or “Tea Party Tolar.” I liked Billy Oswald. I know way too much about DollarDick and TeaPot to trust them with shit. And I do literally mean SHIT. Not even shit.

mark June 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Isn’t that the same Alliance Engineering which is a foreign company that originally incorporated in Virginia?

Proper Noun June 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm

It IS.

Elginite June 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm

The founder and pres. is a guy named Deepal Eliatamby. He is also the registered agent for Carolina Walk Properties as well as Heritage Pointe Development. Both LLCs. Wonder how well he knows Steve Benjamin?

mark June 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Deepal is also the chairman of the TDL council. Appears to have strong ties to Haley and things like the SC Ports Authority, Dept. of Commerce, and Department of Transportation.

Bob's My Name June 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm

The word in the engineering community is that Banning provides “consulting” to Deepal at Alliance and part of the $450 K ended up in Banning’s sleezy pocket.

That is why Lexington Council turned down an offer from Kenny Bingham’s firm to do the work FOR FREE!!!! Banning getting paid is the reason $450K is a better deal than FREE!!!!

nitrat June 16, 2014 at 4:07 pm

“…inside the 10-day window for the runoff election…”

Oh, that must mean Howie Rich is in town with his checks for the education race – any others he might be interested in?

Lexington County Suckers! June 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Mergo has done well for himself…..he went from being (literally) disgraced Lexington Magistrate Bruce Rutland’s right hand man to dog catcher supervisor to county administrator. Not bad, not bad at all.

dogcatcher June 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Someone should investigate Big Daddy Niki while at it. Mergo is not the only son in law he has set up with a good job. Heck Tommy Allen ha had Niki do it at least twice for him.

edr June 16, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Who financed his campaign when he ran against Jim Eckstrom for County Treasurer two years
ago. Mostly Scana employees. He wanted that job to beef up his State retirement. I think he carried
1 precinct.

Bob's My Name June 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

edr just nailed it!!! Banning ran for Treasurer to serve BILL BANNING – no one else!!!

edr June 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Lexington County Fund Balance is now over $ 50,000,000 thanks to Bill Banning.
He has never seen a tax increase that he did not like.

Kim June 16, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Nexsen Pruet does bond work. Penny sales tax creates bond work. Hence, the Law Firm will do anything to get the legal fees. Banning sells cheap, and Nexsen Pruet buts cheap. A match made in heaven.

anonymous June 16, 2014 at 9:25 pm

You just finding out Bob Coble is a self serving, corrupt Columbia politician? Where you been. His power comes from his ability to get to his mentor Jean Hoefer Toal and do good deeds for her.

truthmonger June 17, 2014 at 10:18 am

Yep. Everyone knows about the hit-and-runs…..

Todd June 17, 2014 at 10:31 am

And the what should have been DUI’s but instead was a police escort home from Devine Street to Wheat Street…….


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