TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS … VANISHED INTO THIN AIR
The story revolved around Alexander Chatfield Burns, a white collar scam artist who held a Big Apple fundraiser for S.C. governor Nikki Haley in 2013. Of course while Burns and his buddies were lining Haley’s pockets with close to $30,000 in campaign cash, his private equity firm – Southport Lane Management LLC – was busy bilking a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (BCBSSC) out of a whopping $180 million.
BlueCross BlueShield wasn’t mentioned in The Wall Street Journal story, but it is the focus of a new report in The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier.
“(Company) holdings valued at nearly $180 million (were) swapped out for a hodgepodge of mostly obscure investments that have been found to be either difficult to value or entirely worthless,” the Post and Courier report revealed.
Of course the Post and Courier story conveniently leaves out any reference to Haley. Or the fundraiser Burns held for her in New York. Or her connections to the company that got screwed.
Why? Good question … although the paper has a bad habit of protecting Palmetto politicians from bad press.
SC BlueCross BlueShield is intimately linked to Haley. In fact in 2010, Haley reportedly directed the firm to fire its longtime lobbyist – Larry Marchant – after he admitted to having an extramarital affair with Haley in 2008. Haley has denied the affair with Marchant (part of a blanket denial), although she was alluded to as the “other woman” in the divorce paperwork filed against Marchant by his ex-wife, Jennifer Marchant.
Oddly, the former subsidiary – which began working with Haley’s buddy in late 2012 – did not make a move to recover its losses until last week.
And they’re not suing Burns, they’re suing the bank which was supposed to act as a “third party referee” over the investments.
Yeah … is it just us or does this sound like the plot to Ocean’s Fourteen?
After a brief stay in a mental institution in New York, Burns wound up in downtown Charleston, S.C. – where he is currently residing.
Haley’s office told the WSJ she and Burns “didn’t discuss state business at the fundraiser, and he never sought help with insurance matters during the several times they met.”
As we noted in our original coverage, “if they didn’t discuss state business at the fundraiser, did they discuss it when they weren’t at the fundraiser? And if Burns never sought help from Haley during one of their ‘several’ face-to-face meetings, did he do so over the phone?”
Haley’s proximity to the key players in this heist is troubling … but we have no doubt the scandal will (like everything else) bounce right off of her. Especially seeing as the Post and Courier is already covering for her.