SC

Lowcountry Administrator Investigation Heats Up

Alleged “relationship issue” at heart of criminal probe …

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Ten days ago, this news outlet exclusively reported on a misconduct investigation into Eric Greenway – the top appointed official in Beaufort County, South Carolina.

Since our story dropped, citizens in this affluent Lowcountry county have gone berserk over the matter … while the county’s elected leaders have basically stuck their heads in the sand.

Local columnist David Lauderdale opined that county leaders were “stoking public distrust by pleading ignorance” about the matter and “creating a vacuum, which will be filled by gossip and theory.”

“That is unfair to Greenway, who says he heard about the investigation at the same time the public did and knows of nothing he has done to merit it,” Lauderdale wrote.

Nothing to merit it? Hmmm …

As noted in our coverage, Greenway – a former staffer to Democratic congressman John Spratt – was tapped by Beaufort’s elected council to lead the county on an interim basis in November 2020. Seven months later, he was unanimously chosen to take over the position on a permanent basis. At the time, council chairman Joseph Passiment praised Greenway for bringing “stability, increased morale and … a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience” to the post, which pays $210,000 annually not counting benefits.

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In our initial report, I referenced “documents detailing numerous questionable fiduciary decisions made by Greenway since he has assumed this role.” I added that we were in the process of initiating an investigation into those documents when we stumbled upon an incident report published by the Beaufort County sheriff’s office.

That report is incredibly brief – and incredibly vague – referencing “activities that may constitute misconduct by Eric Greenway” which purportedly took place between January 9, 2023 and May 11, 2023.

The decision to move forward with a criminal inquiry was reportedly made by sheriff PJ Tanner in consultation with S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor Duffie Stone, according to the report.

This week, we learned the matter had been referred to the office of S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe for review.

Pascoe confirmed to me Thursday afternoon his office had received a referral from Beaufort County – but declined to comment on the particulars of what it described as a “pending investigation.”

Sources familiar with the case say its January 9, 2023 initiation date could refer to a document we obtained referencing a contract between Beaufort County and a company called Elementzal LLC.

That document engages Elementzal to undertake an “opioid public education and marketing campaign” on behalf of the county.

(Click to View)

Memorandum of understanding between Elementzal LLC and Beaufort County (Provided)

What’s allegedly improper about this contract? As of this writing, nothing.

All we know is sources close to the inquiry have referenced this document as the “launch point” for the probe against Greenway.

Elementzal is a family outfit run by Beaufort County residents Angie Hassinger and Lisa Hassinger Lynch. It was incorporated with the S.C. Secretary of State’s office less than a month before the memo was submitted – on December 15, 2022.

Greenway is a big fan of the company. Not only did he reportedly route tens of thousands of tax dollars to Elemetnzal for this “opioid public education campaign,” he provided a testimony which can still be found on the company’s website.

“Ms. Hassinger and Ms. Lynch are consummate professionals skilled at combining their vast medical knowledge and many years of professional experience with their high degree of compassion for those who have become victims of drug addiction to produce effective solutions and results,” Greenway wrote in the testimony. “Their professionalism, demeanor, and philosophy make them highly effective communicators. These skill sets have allowed them to develop unshakable interagency partnerships between Beaufort County, the Beaufort County School District, and Beaufort Memorial Hospital! They are strong advocates for the citizens of Beaufort County suffering from addiction and those impacted by loved ones dealing with the disease.”

(Click to View)

Lisa Lynch (Facebook)

In addition to her work on the opioid campaign, Lynch was hired as the county’s director of wellness on April 17, 2023.

Greenway announced her hiring via an email to county employees touting her “wealth of experience in the field of wellness” and her work with “various organizations to promote health and well-being in the workplace.”

“We look forward to working with her to make our workplace a healthier and happier environment for all,” Greenway wrote.

Lynch sent her own letter to employees introducing herself stating she was looking forward to “creating a comprehensive wellness program that meets our diverse employee population’s unique needs and interests.”

Take a look …

(Click to View)

Letter from Eric Greenway welcoming Lisa Lynch as Beaufort County’s director of wellness. (Provided)
Lisa Lynch letter of introduction as Beaufort County wellness director. (Provided)

Again … what’s allegedly improper about this hiring? As of this writing, nothing.

Still, multiple sources familiar with the investigation into Greenway have indicated at least one component of it is tied to his relationship with Lynch – a relationship which has not been described to us in detail but which reportedly went south sometime in May of this year.

Neither Greenway nor Lynch have responded to our inquiries. No law enforcement or prosecutorial agencies have released any documents related to their investigation – nor have they provided any comment regarding the particulars of the inquiry.

This news outlet has confirmed, however, that the May 11, 2023 incident report which launched the criminal probe involved Greenway and Lynch in some form or fashion. This afternoon, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of Beaufort County which we believe will elicit responsive documents likely to shed some light on this situation.

To reiterate: Greenway has not been implicated in any criminal activity at this time. Assuming the forthcoming investigation were to produce credible allegations of misconduct, it would then be up to a grand jury to determine whether probable cause existed to charge him criminally – at which point he would avail himself of our criminal justice system.

Stay tuned to this news outlet as we continue to keep tabs on this unfolding investigation …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

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.

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2 comments

Ben Barnes Top fan July 14, 2023 at 6:15 am

Corruption and underhanded dealings in Beaufort County? Say it isn’t so. Noting can be done in an easy and straightforward manner here, there’s always a hidden agenda. County government is a snake pit.

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Alicia Daly Top fan July 14, 2023 at 9:14 am

So glad I subscribe here… wouldn’t here this stuff otherwise. Thank you – staying tuned.

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