SC

Sources: SC State House “Probe” Focuses On Brian White, Lobbyist

CAMPAIGN FINANCES, PROXIMITY TO “LOST TRUST” LOBBYIST AMONG ISSUES BEING EXPLORED By FITSNEWS  ||  S.C. House ways and means chairman Brian White is one of the most powerful lawmakers in the Palmetto State.  His committee gets first crack at drafting South Carolina’s $25 billion (and growing) annual government budget – and…

CAMPAIGN FINANCES, PROXIMITY TO “LOST TRUST” LOBBYIST AMONG ISSUES BEING EXPLORED

By FITSNEWS  ||  S.C. House ways and means chairman Brian White is one of the most powerful lawmakers in the Palmetto State.  His committee gets first crack at drafting South Carolina’s $25 billion (and growing) annual government budget – and the influence he wields as a result of this “purse power” is tremendous.

Behind S.C. Senate president/ finance committee chairman Hugh Leatherman (the undisputed king of the Palmetto State) and newly elected Speaker of the House Jay Lucas, White is the most influential lawmaker in the S.C. General Assembly.

But with great power comes great responsibility … and White has failed to live up to his end of the bargain when it comes to protecting the best interests of South Carolina citizens and taxpayers.

In addition to charting a special interest-driven, fiscally liberal, anti-competitive course for the Palmetto State ever since his ascension to the ways and means chairmanship in 2011, White has also run into several ethical problems along the way.

First there was the yet-to-be-investigated scandal regarding his alleged use of campaign funds for personal purposes – a story which broke the day after White was named ways and means chairman.

Aside from the 2012 whitewash of major ethics allegations against S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, the ongoing cover-up of White’s 2011 scandal remains the most compelling example of South Carolina’s culture of corruption – in which powerful elected officials retain the ability to police themselves and decide what constitutes a violation of state law.

Given this shamefully corrupt self-policing construct, White’s open-and-shut case was never publicly investigated … let alone resolved.

More recently, White has been accused of funneling campaign funds to a charity which employs his wife, Courtney White.

Now, sources tell FITS White is among the lawmakers being targeted by an ongoing joint federal-state investigation.

In addition to probing White’s alleged campaign finance violations and his proximity to a controversial lobbyist (more on him in a moment), we’re told state and federal investigators are asking “serious questions” about White’s residency.

“He has a residency problem related to the investigation,” one official familiar with the probe told FITS.

The official declined to elaborate, although they encouraged us to explore White’s connections to the state’s nursing home industry.

“That’s really the root of his problems,” the official told us.

White does not list a home residence in the S.C. Legislative Manual – or his official bio page with the S.C. General Assembly.  In fact he hasn’t provided a home address for the last three years (ever since he became ways and means chairman) – one of the few lawmakers who neglects to do so.

Up until the 2009, he listed 2500 Edgewood Avenue in Anderson, S.C. as his home address.

Here’s that location …

(Click to enlarge)

2500 Edgewood

(Pic: Google)

And here’s the view from above …

(Click to enlarge)

2500 Edgewood Above

(Pic: Google)

Oh, and here’s a screenshot of the Anderson County, S.C. tax record for this address, showing White sold the property at fair market value (roughly $150,000) in September 2008 …

(Click to enlarge)

2500 Edgewood Tax Record

(Pic: Anderson County)

So far, so good … right?

Let’s fast-forward …

In 2011 – the last time White provided the public with anything other than a U.S. Post Office box for his home address – he listed 2933 Concord Road in Anderson, S.C. as his place of residence.

Here’s a look at that property …

(Click to enlarge)

2933 Concord Road

(Pic: Google)

And here’s a look at a county tax record showing the property – valued at $43,864 –  belonging not to White, but rather to Brad Moorhouse – director of an Anderson County, S.C. nursing home run by the National HealthCare Corporation (NHC).

(Click to enlarge)

2933 Concord Road Tax Record

(Pic: Anderson County)

Hmmmmm … we’ll return to the nursing home angle in just a moment.

Finally, here’s a view of 102 Dursely Drive in Anderson, S.C. – a property valued at $390,970 that was purchased by White and his wife on January 24, 2014 (for the bargain basement price of $295,000).

(Click to enlarge)

102 Dursely Drive Street View

(Pic: Google)

And here’s the view from above …

(Click to enlarge)

102 Dursely Drive Above

(Pic: Google)

Nice …

Oh, and here’s the property tax record showing White and his wife’s ownership …

102 Dursely Drive Record

(Pic: Anderson County)

Not a bad deal, huh?

So … what does all this mean?  Good question.

According to our source, the questions being raised about White’s residency – including “one of the listed properties in Anderson” – are being viewed through the lens of his proximity to James Randall Lee, a registered lobbyist and executive with the S.C. HealthCare Association.

According to its website, Lee’s organization exists to “promote the general welfare through development and maintenance of high standards of professional care and administration in nursing homes and related long-term care facilities.”

“Follow the nursing home money,” our source told us.

What makes Lee’s connection to White even more interesting?  Well, he was one of the central figures in Operation Lost Trust – a federal probe that snared seventeen South Carolina lawmakers in a sweeping public corruption sting a quarter century ago.

It’s also worth noting White – an insurance agent – reportedly writes the policies for many of the state’s nursing homes.

“He recused himself from voting on several agency budgets due to conflicts – but there is nothing is on his economic disclosure reflecting that,” one lawmaker told FITS.

We’re not accusing White of having done anything illegal.  Clearly his 2011 scandal (and his recent campaign payments to his wife’s charity) need to be addressed – and White needs to be held accountable for his actions – but at this point no one has publicly accused him of any criminal wrongdoing.

We can confirm, however, that White and Lee are among those at the S.C. State House who are currently being “probed.”  And we can also confirm that White recently retained counsel by way of responding to the probe – which has already snared one of the most powerful elected officials in the state.

FITS was the first media outlet in the state to report on the probe.

Since then, we’ve published multiple follow-up reports exploring its specific details.

The gist?  Working alongside S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson and other state entities, federal investigators acting under the authority of U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles have been looking into allegations of corruption at the S.C. State House for the better part of the last year.  This investigation centers on three main areas: 1) misuse of campaign funds by members, 2) abusing public offices for personal gain and 3) vote-trading (or vote-selling) tied to the controversial February 2014 legislative election that saw Jean Toal win another term as chief justice of the state’s supreme court.

Other judicial elections (scandals also broken exclusively here on FITS) are said to be part of “the probe …”

Another key focus?  Legislative political action committees (a.k.a. “leadership PACs”) which dole out contributions to members – ostensibly in exchange for their votes on key issues.

(Pic: Via)

***

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24 comments

ScrewedNSC December 3, 2014 at 11:38 am

What district is the house in? You went there FITSNEWS, but stopped short. Why?

Reply
nitrat December 3, 2014 at 11:57 am

He gets so wrapped up in the boring ideological libertarian talking points that he loses his train of thought.

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bamberger December 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

Speaking of charities, does anyone know why the contact phone number for the Original Six is a land line based in Bamberg??????

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nitrat December 3, 2014 at 11:56 am

Does anyone answer it when you call?

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bamberger December 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm

NO!!! Just a recording.

Reply
Bible Thumper December 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm

It all has to do with the second shooter on the grassy knoll in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Reply
The Sympathetic Ear December 3, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Would it help if you could locate the physical presence of the phone? What do you think would happen if you volunteered to give a donation? Be assertive in your quest! Ask Jackie Chiles for hints on snooping. Get back to us with your findings.

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Buz Martin December 3, 2014 at 11:57 am

Well, isn’t he just a special little crooked-ass scumbag?

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Rocky December 3, 2014 at 11:59 am

Nice house. I don’t know why he hides it as his address. I’d be proud to have that as my big mansion in the up-state. So to Scewed’s question, is it in his district? Of, is the money used for the purchase coming from campaign funds. And if so, it would seem a supeana to the lender to identify how those funds were identified (like a gift letter tied back to the account) would really connect dots.

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Jackie Chiles December 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm

You idiot. Even the most basic search would show that the prior owner, Melissa Kendall, had the house foreclosed on her in 2003 and again in 2012. The bank dismissed the foreclosure in 2013, meaning they probably did a short sale, hence the $250k purchase price by the bank. When you buy a short sale house, the bank makes no guarantees about anything in the house and will not repair anything inside. You have no idea what was wrong with that house when they bought it at the “bargain” price.

You also stupidly failed to notice that the house is being taxed at the 6% rate, indicating it’s actually not their primary residence.

Reply
Its Whats His Name December 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Hi Jackie Jackass :-) .. Or maybe we should call you “Butt Wipe”?

Reply
Jackie Chiles December 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

You seem dumb.

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Jackie Chiles December 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Good Lord, I should be getting paid for my investigative journalism here.

In 2011, William White bought a house at 112 duraleigh rd anderson sc, WHICH HE STILL OWNS AS HIS PRIMARY RESIDENCE. It is appraised at roughly $142k and is taxed at the 4% rate.

I mean come on, guy buys a bigger house for a good deal and suddenly there’s got to be something bad about it. He probably listed the other address because he didn’t want people coming to his house.

This is all public information. Do some research before you do a hit piece on someone.

Reply
part of the story December 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Bradley Moorhouse also owns the house beside open lot (you can see the white house or outbuilding in the corner of the picture, they were separate pieces of property. However, he lives at a different address. He bought the house and adjacent land in 2007 with Bryan Moorhouse (his brother, im guessing). So while all the house selling and moving was going on, the Whites most likely rented this house. All of which is still in House district 6.

Reply
Jackie Chiles December 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Makes sense.

Reply
tomstickler December 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm

And, until he informs the Assessor that he has changed his residence, the Dursley Dr. house will remain at 6%.

What I usually find interesting in such public records data-mining is the mortgages and home equity loans.

Reply
Jackie Chiles December 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

He’s costing himself a ton of money if the $390k house is a primary residence since those are taxed at a 4% rate. He’s claiming the $142k house as his primary residence and paying the 6% at the $390k rate.

Reply
It's a Great Day in SC December 3, 2014 at 4:34 pm

That wouldn’t be any fun.

Better to let the BS roll!

Reply
Native Ink December 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm

His”home residence” in a vacant lot owned by a lobbyist looks suspicious. It’s not enough to nail him though. Your source pointed you in a direction to dig up dirt, go to it!

Reply
RogueElephant December 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Please don’t put state house and probe in the same sentence. Every taxpayer in SC had a “pucker moment” reading that. LOL

Reply
justme December 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm

All lobbyist are crooks. Someone please name on honest above board lobbyist that is successful.

Reply
Tear It All Down December 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Playing with our money we are forced to pay via mandated law and taxes, and funneling it around in many ways to their friends – and also in some ways – back into their own pockets. They have been “Self Policing” for so long with all of them stealing from us, that they develop the mentality that they are untouchable. This is why Harrell and his group of gangsters started with legislating to shield them from prosecution in state criminal court. They reacted .. .they were rattled … they fell all over each other in panic as they tried to manufacture bullet proof vest that would stop Wilson. Amazing, huh. Totally idiots who must be put behind bars for life – including Jeal Toal and Judge Casey Manning and Niki Haley …. All of them are white collar criminals. FACT! Billions and Billions of our money that the vultures all want. They circle it and take turns and share with their fellow greedy vultures. Centuries ago, crooks like them would have been hog tied and beaten in a public square my mobs of peasants.

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Jake December 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Hugh Leatherman has sent the dogs after Brian White, just as he did Harrell. White is the last man between Leatherman and one man rule of SC.

Leatherman has relegated the House to kindergarden status, purchased the Governor cheap (more on that next week in an upstate paper) and now is going to have billions to spend all by his lonesome.

One man rule of a state in these modern times. Hard to believe, but true.

Reply
FastEddy23 December 3, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Mmmmmmm … That’s a mighty fine looking $400K house! Out here in Taxifornia anything similar would be $1M++.

(Have ya-all got a mosquito problem or something in that neighborhood?)

Reply

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