You wouldn’t think former South Carolina lieutenant governor Yancey McGill would have much in the way of political “pull” these days. The doddering, old school Democrat – who switched parties to run as a “Republican” in this spring’s gubernatorial primary – finished dead last in the GOP’s five-person field. And he looked bad doing it.
McGill drew only 6,375 votes – or 1.73 percent of all ballots cast in the “Republican” primary.
Even more embarrassing? McGill’s bumbling, mumbling performances on the campaign trail – especially during two televised, party-sanctioned GOP debates. Seriously … the guy sounded like he had just hopped off of a time-traveling 1950s short bus, possessing no clue as to where he was … or what he was talking about.
Anyway, given this demonstration of McGill’s political impotence it struck us as curious that case files involving his son – Palmetto political scion John McGill – remain under a judge’s seal.
Sources close to McGill and his estranged wife, Jenny McGill (below), told us months ago that they had no problem with the documents related to their case being unsealed, but as of this writing that has yet to happen.
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Nor does it seem likely to happen anytime soon …
Why not? These documents are public record.
Could it be that one party to this case might not be quite as eager to have these files opened as they originally led us to believe?
Backing up, though, why should we care about any of this?
Several reasons …
First and foremost (as we have repeatedly pointed out), we are dealing with a fundamental fairness issue here. Files like these should have never been sealed in the first place.
South Carolinians who lack John McGill’s political connections don’t get to hide their dirty laundry from the public view … so why should he?
In fact, the sealing of case files for political insiders is a huge red flag for us … not to mention the first factor we consider in determining whether to write on a particular story (especially if we believe the files are being kept secret to give one party an unfair advantage).
Of course the saga of #TheMcGills is loaded with other newsworthiness – and not just because Yancey McGill was running for governor (with John McGill serving as one of his top advisors) when it exploded onto the Palmetto political scene back in the spring.
There’s a lot more to this story than politics, people …
So … how did we get here?
Recapping the madness: Shortly before 4:00 a.m. EST on January 27, John McGill – ostensibly under the influence of laced cocaine – called officers from the city of Columbia, S.C. police department to his family’s home in the upscale King’s Grant neighborhood in response to “a possible home invasion.”
There was no home invasion, though. McGill apparently hallucinated it. He also appears to have hallucinated a second attempted home invasion sixteen hours later – during which he “unloaded” his weapon on the phantom assailants.
“They got close and I just unloaded,” McGill told a police dispatcher during the second incident, adding “I’ve got 24 magazines to go.”
McGill claimed the drugs he took were a “gift” from 24-year-old Alexia Cortez, a Columbia, S.C.-based political operative who until May of this year was a contract employee of both McGill’s consulting firm and Yancey McGill’s gubernatorial campaign. Cortez has denied these reports, however. She’s also lawyered up, retaining the services of state senator Tom Davis.
Of interest? No one has been arrested in connection with either of these bizarre January incidents … which we find absolutely baffling in light of the massive police response they attracted.
We know John McGill has boasted of his proximity to local and statewide law enforcement agents … could that have had something to do with how this case was handled?
#TheMcGills‘ case has also drawn all sorts of scrutiny from political insiders given the couple’s access to the Palmetto State’s corridors of power.
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John McGill (above), 39, has worked for many prominent elected officials and secured multiple government contracts over the years. Many of those contracts were (are?) managed by his wife, a 33-year-old business strategist who lists state treasurer Curtis Loftis among her clients.
There is a ton of public business at the heart of this divorce case, in other words … not to mention (we’re told) some pretty seismic allegations involving several current and former elected officials. In fact, one source familiar with the proceedings claimed they contained references to the attempted “blackmail” of one elected official.
Is that why the documents remain under lock and key, we wonder?
Meanwhile, one of John McGill’s staunchest supporters told us recently that if it seemed the brash operative was about to go down – which let’s be honest, it does – he would “take everyone down with him.”
Scorched earth, people … scorched earth.
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There’s more, though …
As we have previously reported, this case has a potential Hollywood connection. Three months ago – in one of our many updates related to this saga – we reported that one of the witnesses being sought in connection to #TheMcGills had ties to the popular Charleston, S.C.-based program Southern Charm. This program – which airs on Bravo TV – has been all over the headlines recently owing to multiple allegations of sexual assault against its star, Thomas Ravenel.
That witness – 30-year-old Tessa Cameron McCarley (a.k.a. Tessa Harris) – has spoke publicly on the matter last month, chiding the media for “taking a little truth and stirring up lies for a gossip column.”
“You’re spreading hate and drama creating a southern soap opera and you’re not getting paid for this,” she wrote on her Facebook page, slamming what she referred to as the “desperate idiots of Carolina.”
Is she right?
Maybe so … either way, though, McCarley is reportedly all over the sealed case files. And several attorneys with ties to various Southern Charm cases are very eager to see what she might say if she is deposed in connection with this case.
As part of the ongoing discovery process, an extensive trove of documents and other information related to McCarley has reportedly been gathered by attorneys for both McGills – evidence that includes “photographs, recordings of phone calls, text messages, financial documentation and related information.”
Within that trove are “multiple bombshells,” we are told.
“You’ll be able to write a book,” one of our confidential sources told us.
A decision on whether to unseal these case files lies solely in the hands of S.C. family court judge Dorothy Mobley Jones.
Why hasn’t she unsealed them – especially if both parties previously assented to such an action (which we have been told is the case)?
Good question …
We have been informed of one potential conflict involving this judge, but at this point we have seen nothing to suggest it is influencing her handling of the proceedings. We are digging on it in an effort to uncover additional information, however.
Whatever Jones’ rationale, this news site has consistently called for these files to be opened.
“We would once again argue for the immediate unsealing of all documents related to this case,” we wrote last month. “(P)rominent politicos in the Palmetto State should not be allowed to have their dirty laundry hidden from public view when that courtesy is not afforded to the rest of us.”
Especially not if public contracts and alleged threats involving public officials are buried within that laundry …
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