CONSPIRACY THEORIES ABOUND …
A former high-ranking official with the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) died suddenly this week – two months after he was indicted on corruption charges.
The circumstances surrounding last Tuesday’s death of Charles W. Shirley are not immediately clear. However, multiple sources at SCDOT tell us the embattled agency’s leader – Christy Hall – is referring to Shirley’s death as a suicide within the agency.
Shirley was indicted less than two months ago and charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of misconduct in office, three counts of receiving something of value to influence official actions and one count of accepting improper rebates or compensation.
Specifically, he was accused of maintaining a “secret ownership and financial interest” in a company that performed contract work for the SCDOT division which he oversaw.
“Shirley participated in the awarding and supervision of work to this company,” the indictment claimed, adding that he “received more than $360,000 as a result of his unlawful financial interest and secret arrangement.”
We referred to the indictments as the latest examples of the culture of corruption that exists at SCDOT – an agency that consistently puts taxpayers in untenable positions (even as it pushes non-essential projects and complains about its funding). We also noted such scams were not surprising seeing as powerful SCDOT commissioners like Mike Wooten have previously threatened to fire internal auditors for doing their jobs.
Seriously … it’s a wonder any corruption has been uncovered at this agency.
Anyway, in a follow-up report one of our SCDOT sources referred to the indictment of Shirley and two other agency officials as the “tip of the iceberg.”
Sources in S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson‘s office have also previously confirmed that additional indictments were forthcoming in the case.
What impact will Shirley’s untimely death have on the investigation? Stay tuned … we’re digging …
In the meantime, irrespective of the allegations leveled against this individual (or the atrociousness of the agency he worked for), it is important to remember there are friends and family members who loved him – and who are mourning his loss.
In fact they gathered yesterday in Elko, S.C. to pay their respects.
While we continue our search for the truth regarding what happened here, let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
(Banner image via iStock)