Things have been eerily quiet in the South Carolina Upstate over the last few weeks as it relates to the Thornblade saga – a host of alleged scandals centered around an upscale neighborhood and exclusive golf club located in the suburbs of Greenville, S.C.
And quiet is just how the wealthy, influential local citizens at the heart of these scandals hope things will stay …
Unfortunately, there are a pair of federal investigations underway related to the saga – which first popped up on our radar screen almost two months ago.
As we exclusively reported on July 23, 2020, allegations of serious financial irregularities at the prestigious Thornblade Club prompted an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) – an agency with broad jurisdictional authority when it comes to “cyber-enabled financial crimes.”
These financial allegations have since received mainstream media coverage courtesy of The Greenville News.
But there are far more serious allegations being probed by agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s special investigations unit – including the alleged activities of a group of men who apparently refer to themselves as “The Disciples.”
According to our sources, members of this secret club would pay an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 a month to enjoy its “amenities” – including youthful sex partners provided from nearby high schools. While membership obviously had its privileges, the club apparently had a strict “no cancellation” policy.
When one “Disciple” wanted to get out earlier this year, he was told in no uncertain terms that leaving was not an option. When the member refused to pay his monthly dues, his wife was reportedly provided with video evidence of her husband’s infidelity.
Some of these “Disciples” are members at the Thornblade club, we are told.
What sort of activities are the feds looking into in connection with all of this? It is not immediately clear, although some light was recently shed on the case when Greenville, S.C. insurance marketing executive Rick Mathews issued a statement related to his recent divorce from Jennifer Mathews – who runs a yoga and pilates studio in Greenville.
This news outlet previously reported that an Upstate family court drama was somehow connected to the Thornblade saga – and the Mathews’ case certainly seems to fit the bill.
On Tuesday, September 1, 2020, we reported that Rick Mathews had been interviewed on the previous Tuesday (August 25, 2020) by agents of DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit. According to our sources, Mathews was grilled for more than three hours by investigators.
Two days later, Mathews issued a statement through his attorney confirming our reporting.
“I found out in late June of this year that my wife, Jennifer Mathews, had engaged in multiple extramarital activities,” Mathews said in the statement. “Upon learning of this fact, we separated and I filed for divorce in July.”
RELATED || THE THORNBLADE SAGA
Mathews added that he was aware “that there is an investigation being conducted” and that while he was “not a suspect in any illegal activity, I am cooperating fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so.”
The USSS and HSI investigations are ongoing.
Meanwhile, sources tell us the Greenville county sheriff’s office – which was first made aware of the allegations involving the club’s finances in May of this year – has launched an internal investigation into the proximity of one of its officers to the related scandals.
Specifically, the inquiry sought to determine whether the deputy in question failed to report his knowledge of alleged illegal activity – including the dissemination of sexually explicit material to minors – to his superiors.
According to our sources, the deputy in question was not disciplined by the sheriff’s office – however he is likely to be questioned by HSI regarding his alleged knowledge of the various scandals and proximity to some of its protagonists.
What sort of “proximity” are we talking about?
The deputy in question is a “family friend” of both Rick and Jennifer Mathews (below), our sources say.
(Click to view)
As of this writing, we are told the internal investigation conducted by the Greenville sheriff’s office into the deputy’s conduct is complete and that the local agency has no plans to investigate the matter further.
Again, though, we are told HSI is looking to question the deputy in connection with its investigation.
HSI agents have also reportedly been asking questions about Brian Gem Garrison – a former adjunct tennis coach at Eastside High School in Taylors, S.C. who was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor last spring.
Those charges are still pending …
Investigators were also “looking to interview several current and former students at Eastside High School – as well as several current and former employees of the Thornblade Club,” per one of our previous reports.
How do all of these pieces fit together?
Good question. From the beginning of our coverage, we have been focused on three distinct Thornblade-related scandals: 1) Allegations of embezzlement involving the neighborhood golf club, 2) allegations of a “prostitution ring” (or “sex ring”) involving several Thornblade residents, and 3) allegations involving an “athletics team at a government-run high school in nearby Taylors, S.C.” which are said to be somehow connected to the prostitution/ sex ring accusations.
There are also blackmail allegations linked to the rumored prostitution/ sex ring.
Stay tuned … we will continue doing our best to sift through the information we are provided related to all of these scandals.
In the meantime, we are told “half of Greenville is lawyered up” in response to our ongoing reporting on the Thornblade saga – prompting several of our sources to warn us to “be careful” how we proceed.
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