Earlier this week I was going to write an article entitled “Greg Parker has a point.” Because when it comes to the issue of tort reform, he has one. There needs to be an honest conversation in South Carolina about fairly assessing blame and awarding compensation in civil cases.
The current system is totally out of whack … sort of like the system of “justice” which oversees it.
Here is the thing, though: Every time I get close to addressing the substantive merits of tort reform – an issue which has very real reverberations for the Palmetto State’s economy – Greg Parker, the self-appointed leader of this movement, pulls another overtly manipulative, capriciously contemptible power play.
Parker, of course, is the Savannah-based founder of Parker’s Kitchen – a chain of convenience stores with dozens of locations in Georgia and South Carolina. In that capacity, he is currently giving Alex Murdaugh a run for his money as the “Worst Human Being” associated with the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga.
And Murdaugh is accused of killing his wife and son after stealing millions of dollars from poor and disabled people!
New to this legal battle? You can read the latest on the various civil cases involving Murdaugh and Parker here and here. It’s pretty deep rabbit hole, though … so make sure you have a full cup of coffee (or, depending on the hour, a full glass of Glenfiddich).
Which empire is actually to blame?
Both of them, honestly. But percentages matter. And perceptions matter. To that end, Parker has been funding a small army of investigators, operatives, attorneys and “journalists” as part of his ongoing bid to absolve himself and his company of any culpability related to the boat crash – a singularly defining moment which thrust the Murdaughs onto the statewide stage three-and-a-half years ago.
On the legal front, Parker’s efforts have been substantially less-than-subtle.
At the time he was hired by Parker, Smith was chairman of the legislative panel which gets to pick which judges are allowed to stand for reelection (South Carolina is one of only two states in America in which lawmakers elect judges, a notoriously corrupt process).
Not coincidentally, the judge in the case – Daniel Hall of York, S.C. – was up for reelection last fall.
“As we’re witnessing the crumbling of the good ol’ boy system in real-time in Hampton county – and the international spotlight is on our state’s judicial system – Parker’s is trying to pull a classic good ol’ boy move,” one Lowcountry scribe said at the time.
Indeed. And what was past … was prologue.
According to multiple attorneys familiar with the case, Parker’s latest new lawyer hire is yet another move ripped straight from the good ol’ boy playbook – another case study in status quo chicanery.
Who is it? Henry D. McMaster Jr. (a.k.a. “Henry Dee”).
(Click to view)
If that name sounds familiar, it should. Henry Dee is none other than the one and only son of South Carolina governor Henry McMaster.
Again … subtle.
Look, I get it. From the beginning of this case, Parker has wanted to swing a big stick. To intimidate through influence. To send a message. And what is his message? You sue one of his stores, he responds with shock and awe. Total disaster. The “fury of God’s own thunder,” to quote Josiah Bartlet.
The problem is Parker doesn’t know when to stop. Like Captain Ahab, his obsession long ago slipped the gravitational bonds of lucidity. Of sanity. Of self-awareness.
Similarly, he and his army long ago careened past the event horizon of any conception of human decency … unless you think leaking pictures/ videos of a dead teenager’s body in an attempt to bully her parents into dropping a lawsuit was a decent thing to do.
Last week’s masterful Murdaugh piece by reporter Valerie Bauerlein of The Wall Street Journal documented this deepening detachment. In what I referred to as a “stunningly stupid moment of callous candor,” Parker admitted to being the author of the very smear campaign his minions have repeatedly tried to pin on others.
“So what?” he told Bauerlein. “Of course I did. Anybody in my situation would have done exactly the same thing.”
Maybe not exactly …
“Parker’s people leaked the files, lied about it and tried to pin the leak on someone else,” I wrote.
Why? Because again, Parker isn’t interested in the truth … he just wants to win.
Again, I get that. I really do. And as I noted in the lede to this piece, he has a point. But if there were ever a poster boy for the fallibility of “the end justifying the means,” it is Greg Parker.
And the longer this case drags on, the more fallible he becomes …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
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.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.