If seems as though not a week goes by without some sort of nefariousness going down along the South Carolina coast – particularly scandal-scarred Horry County, S.C. and the increasingly gritty city of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Corruption is everywhere in the Palmetto State, but it has always found a special home among the local governments of the “Redneck Riviera” – where hordes of ethically challenged, cash-grabbing officials sleaze it up as their once-proud tourism industry tries to navigate its way through the down slope of its failure to diversify.
Two years ago we thought we had endorsed a candidate who could change all (or much of) that, but it turns out our imprimatur was tragically misapplied.
We were laboring, as it were, under a misapprehension …
Like so many elected officials swept into office on promises of “change,” Myrtle Beach mayor Brenda Bethune has become part of the problem along the coast – just another common political hypocrite protecting her business interests as opposed to the best interests of those she is supposed to be serving.
Meet the new boss, right?
While this news outlet once viewed Bethune with promise, we have never thought much of state representative Alan Clemmons – a big government “Republican” whose signature accomplishment as a state lawmaker has been to threaten the free speech of anyone who doesn’t like Israel.
Seriously, this guy needs to run for a seat in the Knesset – not continue “serving” coastal district 107 (map) in the S.C. House of Representatives.
According to our sources, Clemmons (a real estate attorney) has been focused on one local issue this legislative session, though – pushing his fellow lawmakers to choose Myrtle Beach realtor Brown Bethune as the next member of the S.C. Real Estate Commission.
Bethune – managing director of Tideland Commercial real estate – is mayor Bethune’s husband and a key member of her political team.
Brown Bethune’s appointment to this four-year post is the alleged quid … ready for the alleged quo?
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If Clemmons is able to get Bethune appointed to the commission, our sources say his reward will come in the form of a high-paying city job – specifically the position of city attorney of Myrtle Beach, which pays $150,462 a year (not counting benefits).
“That’s what he wants,” one legislative leader confirmed to us, referring to the city attorney position.
The leader also confirmed Clemmons has indeed been “pushing Mayor Bethune’s husband” for the real estate commission post at the State House.
Is this just Columbia, S.C. scuttlebutt, though? Echo chamber rumors?
No. Multiple sources in Myrtle Beach have confirmed hearing similar reports – including one GOP activist who spoke directly with Brown Bethune about the rumored arrangement.
“Brown will be our new real estate commissioner in exchange for Clemmons becoming city attorney,” the activist told us, recalling their conversation with the mayor’s husband.
Pretty brazen, right?
Of course … but that is the Horry way. And they always get away with it.
To be clear: We have no interest whatsoever in who serves on the state real estate commission, one of many superfluous regulatory agencies that exist in the Palmetto State. Nor do we care if Clemmons decides to resign his seat in the S.C. House to become the next city attorney for Myrtle Beach.
Both moves are perfectly fine by us …
Our beef would be if Clemmons, as our sources have alleged, is leveraging his position at the State House to lobby on behalf of a deal that will ultimately benefit him financially.
That would be completely unacceptable … at best.
Our hope is that a little sunlight will resolve this issue, however we will continue to keep a close eye on these two posts in the weeks and months to come.
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