CONGRESSMAN APPROVED EXTENSION FOR “VILLAGE AT RIVER’S EDGE”
|| By FITSNEWS || A government-subsidized affordable housing boondoggle starring Columbia, S.C.’s scandal-scarred mayor Steve Benjamin – and a since-indicted trustee of the Palmetto State’s worst-managed “higher educracy” – has now ensnared U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.
According to an expansive report prepared by Renee Dudley of Bloomberg, in late 2011 Clyburn got the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to grant a one-year extension to the notorious “Village at River’s Edge.”
This project – foreclosed upon in May 2013 – received at least $7.8 million in federal “stimulus” money and millions more in grants from HUD. It also received tax dollars from the City of Columbia, S.C. thanks to Benjamin, who sold city council on the idea back in 2006.
In fact it was already going under at the time Clyburn’s advocacy granted it a reprieve …
“By the time Clyburn sought the one-year extension, the building contractor had threatened to stop work because of unpaid construction bills, a HUD employee had raised questions about mis-spending of the project’s federal money, and the U.S. Department of Justice had started an investigation,” Dudley reported. “The probe included secret wiretaps on the telephones of the developer, Jonathan Pinson, who was also a Clyburn campaign contributor.”
In fact four days after Clyburn sent a letter to HUD’s South Carolina field office leader Larry Knightner, Pinson was on the phone with a business partner discussing how the congressman’s advocacy would help put the kibosh on questions surrounding the deal.
And keep the gravy train rolling …
“F*ck HUD, and they don’t know,” Pinson said on a wiretap referenced in Dudley’s report. “Don’t any of y’all mention it to ’em, but Clyburn already sent the letter to Larry Knightner.”
Last July, Pinson was found guilty on twenty-nine of forty-five charges filed against him by federal prosecutors. Most of those charges stemmed from a bribery scandal involving S.C. State University (SCSU) – which is home to the biggest Clyburn boondoggle of them all.
That scandal also briefly ensnared Benjamin, who along with Pinson was the beneficiary of a night of debauchery in Orlando, Florida in December 2010 – paid for by the developer at the heart of the SCSU bribery scam.
How serious are these scandals? Deathly. Two months ago Eric Robinson – a businessman who was Pinson’s college roommate at SCSU – was found dead in a hotel room in Atlanta, Georgia. Robinson had been charged by the government in connection with the SCSU scandal, but was acquitted on all charges.
To read the entire Bloomberg report on Clyburn’s connection to this boondoggle, click here …