SC

“Mayorhood’s” Orlando Trip Cost $8,000

STEVE BENJAMIN’S INVOLVEMENT WAS ALSO KEPT A SECRET …  The tab for Columbia, S.C. “mayorhood” Steve Benjamin’s wild night at an Orlando strip club – which concluded with Benjamin and disgraced former S.C. State University board chairman Jonathan Pinson inviting strippers back to their hotel rooms – totaled around $8,000….

STEVE BENJAMIN’S INVOLVEMENT WAS ALSO KEPT A SECRET … 

The tab for Columbia, S.C. “mayorhood” Steve Benjamin’s wild night at an Orlando strip club – which concluded with Benjamin and disgraced former S.C. State University board chairman Jonathan Pinson inviting strippers back to their hotel rooms – totaled around $8,000.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s roughly one-third of what the average South Carolinian makes … in a year .

How did we arrive at this estimate?  We didn’t … the wealthy developer who sprung for the trip did, testifying in open court this week that he picked up the tab for the December 2010 getaway.

Pinson has already been indicted by a federal grand jury for his role in a kickback scheme at S.C. State University – the chronically mismanaged, historically black university located in Orangeburg, S.C.  Also indicted? Richard Zahn, the developer whose 80-acre “Sportsman’s Retreat” property was at the heart of the scheme.

Zahn is the developer who flew Benjamin, Pinson and two others to Orlando on one of his private jets and paid for their “entertainment.”

According to federal investigators, Pinson agreed to accept a $110,000 Porsche Cayenne from Zahn in exchange for his support of taxpayers shelling out $3 million on Zahn’s “Sportsman’s Retreat.”

Two other S.C. State officials were also indicted for their roles in the scandal – including one who testified that he was instructed to lie about Benjamin’s whereabouts during the Orlando getaway.

Benjamin and Pinson are no strangers to questionable taxpayer investments.  The two were intimately involved in the Village at River’s Edge – a government-subsidized affordable housing boondoggle that Benjamin conned city council into supporting back in 2006.

Pinson was the one who purchased Benjamin’s interest in the project – which has since been foreclosed upon – for $500,000.

Bankers familiar with the transaction tell FITS it was “very shady,” although they declined to elaborate pending the ongoing investigation.

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 also shelled out money for the project.

Benjamin’s tenure as mayor has been one scandal after another … from the very moment he was elected in April 2010.

In the early morning hours following his victory, an SUV driven by Benjamin slammed into another vehicle, causing extensive damage to the car and permanent damage to its driver, Deborah Rubens.

Weeks later FITS reported that multiple witnesses observed Benjamin consuming alcohol beverages well into the evening just hours before the car crash.  Astoundingly, the S.C. Highway Patrol made the snap judgment that Benjamin was sober – without giving him a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer exam or taking blood from him.

The result of a lengthy investigation into the crash?  Nothing.  Benjamin was cited for driving with his headlights off … that’s it.

Last April, separate allegations about Benjamin partying with strippers surfaced in the wake of a scandal surrounding Randy Scott – the man he hand-picked to be the city’s chief of police.

Scott got the job after the city’s former police chief – Tandy Carter – was fired for failing to play ball with the investigation of Benjamin’s car crash.  Specifically, Carter said that the investigation into Benjamin’s crash was being run by City Hall, adding that he refused to be a “puppet police chief.”

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37 comments

euwe max June 24, 2014 at 9:01 pm

It’s better to pay for strippers than have the federal government help out a state’s rights state.

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jimlewisowb June 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm

If the Feds fail to indict this Cockroach, Columbia will meet another criteria to be classified as Third World

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Not A Fed June 24, 2014 at 9:12 pm

If the Feds were going to indict his ass, we wouldn’t be seeing the tidbits they keep dropping in the courtroom.

They are simply embarrassing him because they can’t do otherwise.

He “outthunk” his cohorts. The Feds are stymied as much as they wish otherwise.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein June 24, 2014 at 9:18 pm

stymied…

Oh no, you di-unt!

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Not A Fed June 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm

That you, Spanky?

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junior justice June 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Buckwheat…

jimlewisowb June 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

T-Bone is more of a Stepin Fetchit kind of character and by all accounts he is doing a pretty good job of it

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euwe max June 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Now that Shifty Henry is gone, if you leave – I’ll leave the boards forEVER!

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CorruptionInColumbia June 25, 2014 at 2:45 am

Where is Shifty Henry? I miss his jokes.

euwe max June 25, 2014 at 8:49 am

Disqus changed something that made his Windows 8 computer no longer compatible with the Disqus format. He limped along with a crappy old xp machine he dusted off, but it was slow and inconvenient, so after a few days, he just disappeared.

CorruptionInColumbia June 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Damn! I hate that. I wish these sites and comment forums would just leave stuff alone more than they do. Thank you for clearing that up. I kept meaning to inquire as to what happened as I hadn’t seen him on in a while.

euwe max June 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Disqus has enormous problems… supporting multiple browsers on multiple platforms, updating a central database with the comments, avatars, formatting.. every few milliseconds. And they seem to be almost unable to meet the challenge of providing a service for even those who have the ideal setup.

DooDoo June 25, 2014 at 8:36 am

“Outthunk”? Yeah right! You mean he got tipped off to the investigation early by someone in Clyburn’s office.

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Fat Greg Dulli June 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

You can’t shame the shameless.

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Giles June 26, 2014 at 6:51 am

Very, very well said. and more important than you think. Men without shame are a very dangerous bread.

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Carl June 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I now see why Steve Benjamin was so close to Investment Commission boss Bob Borden? I now know Stevie loves money!

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Carl is Curtis June 24, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Curtis go to sleep.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein June 24, 2014 at 9:22 pm

$7995.00 – Charter aircraft, hotel, dinner, cover charge, limo, misc.

$5.00 – Tip for da scrippers.

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Alfalfa June 24, 2014 at 9:30 pm

I take it there was no “happy ending?”

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Beartrkkr June 24, 2014 at 9:43 pm

It’s all about the Benjamins…

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TontoBubbaGoldstein June 25, 2014 at 10:17 am

“Hey baby…would you like to party with TBG and his friend…Abraham.”
*Flashes Fiver*

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TontoBubbaGoldstein June 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

“Happy Ending” for the rest of us is…pending.

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Squishy123 June 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I wonder what it’s like in the Benjamin household these past few weeks. Husband cheating oh his wife with two strippers, an angry black woman who is likely pulling off her earrings as we speak, and a judge who’s heard every excuse on top of that. I bet ol’ T-Bone is in for a long dry spell.

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Smirks June 25, 2014 at 12:23 am

You see, if he had at least gone to a Columbia strip club, he could claim he’s just investing in the local community, or something equally amusing. He could even claim that in his next reelection campaign and half of Columbia wouldn’t bat an eye.

Come on Benjamin, you’re missing golden opportunities by not planning your shenanigans better!

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Who is Tandy Carter? June 24, 2014 at 9:39 pm

So what ever happened to Tandy Carter? Any chance that when T-Bone gets indicted that Columbia can get the only guy that was honest enough to stand up to him back so the CPD can regain some credibility?

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CorruptionInColumbia June 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I would really love to see this lead back to “Little Steven” Gantt and even Charlie Austin. Unfortunately, the double digit million$ that went missing on Charlie’s watch are likely now outside the statute of limitations time limits. Maybe even for Gantt. Of course, those two may have been doing more dirt since they left, just not so much in the public eye.

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Philip Branton June 25, 2014 at 10:12 am

8K for Orlando…..???

We wonder how much was spent at Pawley’s Island (cough) by Wil Folks….?? (Brian Hicks needs a lollipop…and HAMMOCK)

Ya know….if Wil Folks really wants a working *vacation* …….he should come to Folly Beach and indulge on a few buckets of fresh “catch” on the Crosby’s Seafood docks at sunset…!!!

Boomerang 101, 404, 901………”Litchfield Butter”

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GrandTango June 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

He’s a democrat: He’ll skate…We have Two Americas…based on political party…

A real good read on Benjamin here: http://scdigest.blogspot.com/2014/06/columbia-mayor-steve-benjamin-its-great.html

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Squishy123 June 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Still peddling your pathetic excuse for a blog there ol’ Emily?

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scotty June 25, 2014 at 11:33 am

It would now appear that the Benjahood has developed a Teflon hide and is running city council like a personal development business. One has to wonder how much more he put up to keep the Hughes development band wagon flush with food tax?

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boardmemberwannabe June 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm

These guys are pikers compared the board at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS). Last Sunday’s Spartanburg Hearld-Journal reported they spent $358,000 on a junket to the Master’s Golf event. Included were also some employees and 31 family members. Forget SCS University, I want on THAT board.

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edr June 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Google Rachels Staekhouse in Orlando,Fl

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shitfits June 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Wow, FITS, you’re so good at repeating news from the AP. What a groundbreaker you are.

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ASS BLOW June 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm

fuck that nigger!

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Fat Greg Dulli June 25, 2014 at 4:37 pm

There are plenty of reasons to dislike the man, color should have nothing to do with it.

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mark June 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

The mayor is simply a disgrace to his race.

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Commonman June 26, 2014 at 8:16 am

Party on, Garth. Party on, Wayne. This stuff is just too good to be true. No one held accountable.

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