A Midlands, South Carolina school board leader who recently sued two of his constituents for criticizing him – a.k.a. exercising their right to free speech – is now facing multiple ethics charges.
That would certainly seem to justify the criticism, right?
According to reporter Bristow Marchant of The (Columbia, S.C.) State, Cayce businessman Ken Loveless – vice chairman of the scandal-scarred Lexington-Richland school district five – is facing four “formal charges” brought against him by investigators with the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC).
Loveless will appear before SCSEC commissioners at a hearing scheduled for February 16, 2023, according to Marchant’s report.
Wait … February 2023? Is the SCSEC seriously that busy?
Um, no. The last time I checked, this panel was doing an incredible job of … sitting still and staying very quiet. And even when commissioners do decide to take action against violators of state ethics law, the consequences they dole out are next-to-nonexistent.
Seriously, South Carolinians … do you want to see better behavior from your elected officials? Then insist on ethics laws with actual teeth to them, not slaps on the wrist that wouldn’t event qualify as the “cost of doing business” for our current crop of grifters … err, leaders. But regular readers of this news outlet know I have been saying that for years. Sadly, state lawmakers prefer the prevailing climate in which their unchecked self-interest is permitted to fleece citizens “on the reg,” as the kids say.
Way sus, amiright?
Anyway, according to Marchant’s report Loveless is facing four ethics charges for failing to recuse himself from multiple votes which allegedly benefited one of his companies – Loveless Commercial Contracting.
“Loveless is accused of failing to recuse himself from decisions made by Lexington-Richland 5 regarding Contract Construction, the company that built Chapin’s new Piney Woods Elementary School that opened last year,” Marchant noted.
Who is repping Loveless? Wait for it … Butch Bowers, one of the attorneys mixed up in the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga. Bowers has a reputation for getting ethically challenged “Republican” politicians off the hook for their misdeeds – most notably former S.C. governor Nikki Haley.
Bowers also has a reputation for dirty pool … something this news outlet’s founding editor has experienced firsthand.
In March of this year, Loveless sued citizens Kevin Scully and Leslie Stiles over comments they posted to a Facebook group devoted to exposing corruption in this 17,500-student, Midlands-area district.
In one comment, Loveless was described as “crooked.” In another, he was referred to as a “loser.”
And he sued over that? Yes.
Fortunately, one of Loveless’ critics did not take kindly to his litigiousness. Stiles filed a countersuit against the public official in April – one which accused him of ” frivolous harassment of a private citizen by a public official designed to chill her speech and participation in matters of public concern.”
“This is a misuse or perversion of legal process that is not a legitimate legal objective but an abuse of the legal system to achieve an illegitimate objective,” the countersuit alleged.
I concurred with that assessment …
Lexington-Richland five has experienced all manner of scandal and loss of institutional control in recent years. Just last week, in fact, our director of special projects Dylan Nolan reported on the latest financial issues at the district.
Stay tuned … count on this news outlet to keep readers posted as the ethics case against Loveless progresses. Same goes for the cases in which he attempted to chill criticism of his actions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
(Via: Johanna Folks/ FITSNews)
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that St. Louis Cardinals’ lid pictured above).
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