The soap opera masquerading as county government in Greenville, South Carolina has had no shortage of plot twists in recent months. It seems each time we cast our gaze back upon the Palmetto Upstate, there’s a new player appearing on the stage offering fresh intrigue and drama.
Or in this case, one player with two different names …
Martine Wilder is the director of correspondence and community relations for the county’s besieged sheriff’s office. She was hired for this position by embattled sheriff Will Lewis – who is currently staring down the business end of a criminal investigation, civil lawsuit and forensic audit of his department.
All of these inquiries – and the seismic allegations that prompted them – were reported exclusively by this news site.
Is Lewis in trouble? Yes … gobs of it.
And that’s before we even get to the sexual assault allegation that’s been leveled against him by a former female subordinate.
Whether Lewis drugged and raped his 23-year-old ex-employee, Savannah Nabors, remains an open question … but it is abundantly clear at this point the 42-year-old law man conspired to defraud the taxpayers of Greenville County in an effort to advance an affair with Nabors.
Anyway, back to Wilder …
Prior to taking the job in Lewis’ office, Wilder was a host on Upstate Live – a conservative talk radio program hosted on WGTK-FM 94.5.
(Click to view)
Before that, her history gets a bit hazy … especially after we stumbled upon an alternative online persona named Martine Helou.
Helou and Wilder share some striking similarities beyond their jet black hair, olive complexions and thinly drawn, arching eyebrows. According to their LinkedIn profiles (here and here), both women live in Greenville, S.C. Both claim to have attended Furman University from 1996-2000. Both claim to have studied political science while at Furman. Both hail from Beirut, Lebanon.
Both women also have a young son who is cute as a button … and according to records obtained by this news site, both reside at the same address in Simpsonville, S.C.
Getting the picture?
Martine Wilder and Martine Helou are one and the same.
Helou also maintains an online persona – “Spunkerilli.”
Who is “Spunkerilli?” Well … let’s just say she’s been linked to some rather revealing personal profiles.
(Click to view)
“So what? Big deal. Girl goes by a pseudonym,” one of our sources noted.
That’s true, but Wilder (err, Helou) currently finds herself in the midst of a major court drama involving her boyfriend, Joseph Hampton, and his ex-wife – popular former WYFF TV-4 (NBC – Greenville/ Spartanburg, S.C.) television anchor Beth Brotherton.
This news site heard rumblings related to the Hampton-Brotherton situation previously but declined to write on them because we viewed the matter as private.
Thanks to Wilder, however, this private matter has spilled over into the Will Lewis saga … or rather the Will Lewis saga has spilled over into it.
According to public records obtained from the S.C. thirteenth judicial circuit, Hampton is currently facing criminal harassment and computer charges related to his alleged stalking of Brotherton – who divorced him in January of 2016.
These are serious charges, and sources at the Greenville County sheriff’s office tell us there is compelling evidence to support them. Additionally, we’re told there is compelling evidence that Wilder’s relationship with Hampton pre-dated November 2014 – when Brotherton filed for separation from him.
So … what’s the relevance of this case to the county’s embattled sheriff’s office?
Shortly after Lewis placed Wilder in her new position as his correspondence and community relations czarina, she is accused of approaching the lead detective in Hampton’s case and asking him what it would take to make the harassment and computer crime charges against her boyfriend “go away.”
Lewis was informed of this improper communication, but declined to take disciplinary action against Wilder.
Not only that, he allowed Wilder to take time off from work to attend multiple court hearings involving Hampton and Brotherton – going so far as to dispatch county attorney Lance Sheek to “babysit” her at these proceedings.
Readers of this news site will remember Sheek as the ethically challenged lawyer who is currently representing the sheriff’s office in its defense against the Nabors’ lawsuit.
“Martine is one of several unqualified, attractive women (Lewis) hired in civilian positions after taking office,” a source familiar with the situation tells us.
Given Wilder’s bizarre background, we’re shocked that she managed to land this job … but we’re baffled beyond belief that she managed to keep it in light of her alleged meddling in the Brotherton case.
For an employee of a law enforcement agency to attempt to influence the outcome of a criminal investigation on behalf of a romantic interest is the very definition of corruption. It’s not just unethical, in some cases it could very easily be seen as obstruction of justice.
“They would be fired – and possibly charged,” a source at another law enforcement agency told us when presented with a hypothetical situation similar to Wilder’s.
So … why didn’t Lewis cut her loose?
Stay tuned … we’re told Wilder is in line for a starring role in the ongoing daytime drama that is Greenville County government.
Much more to come …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our stories? Please feel free to submit your own guest column or letter to the editor via-email HERE. Got a tip for us? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question? CLICK HERE. Want to support what we’re doing? SUBSCRIBE HERE.