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Lowcountry South Carolina Administrator Saga: Lisa Lynch Speaks

Former Beaufort County wellness director accuses county’s top bureaucrat of sexual harassment, threats, retaliation …

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A businesswoman whose company was awarded a contract with Beaufort County, South Carolina – and who later worked full-time as the county’s wellness director – is accusing its top bureaucrat of sexual harassment and subsequent retaliation after she paid the price for rebuffing his romantic overtures.

The allegations leveled by former Beaufort County wellness director Lisa Lynch are part of two ongoing investigations into Beaufort County administrator Eric Greenway. The first investigation is a criminal misconduct in office probe – one which was exclusively reported by this news outlet earlier this month. That inquiry is currently in the hands of S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe, who is determining whether to proceed with criminal charges against Greenway.

The second line of inquiry is a county investigation into a myriad of alleged misappropriations tied to Greenway in his capacity as administrator – the top appointed post in county government which paid him a salary of more than $210,000 annually, not counting benefits.

Greenway is actually still receiving that salary and those benefits, although members of Beaufort County council placed him on administrative leave earlier this week in connection with these two probes. The county’s public safety administrator, John Robinson, was named acting administrator.

How does Lynch tie into this saga?

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According to a Beaufort County sheriff’s office incident report we obtained (.pdf), the alleged misconduct involving Greenway took place between January 9, 2023 and May 11, 2023. Since then, our media outlet has learned the start date referenced in that report could refer to a contract between Beaufort County and a company called Elementzal LLC.

Elementzal is a family outfit run by Lynch and her sister-in-law, Angie Hassinger. It was incorporated with the S.C. Secretary of State’s office on December 15, 2022 and began delivering an “opioid public education and marketing campaign” on behalf of the county in early 2023.

In addition to her work on the opioid campaign, Lynch was hired as Beaufort 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.” 

As we have noted in previous articles, the complaint filed against Greenway involved some sort of “relationship” with Lynch. The nature of this relationship has never been described to us in detail, other than sources saying it reportedly went south sometime in May of this year.

Lynch is now setting the record straight regarding that “relationship” – detailing her experiences with Greenway and county government.

“I met Eric Greenway socially in 2022,” she said in a written statement (.pdf) provided exclusively to this news outlet. “He pursued a romantic relationship with me, and I agreed to a couple of dates with him. While flattered by his affection, I was not interested in that kind of connection, and I made it clear to him we could be friends but not romantically involved. Close to the end of 2022, Greenway expressed interest in hiring me to work for Beaufort county in a healthcare position. I rebuked his offer many times. He was undeterred and after months working as an outside health consultant with the county, Greenway made an offer that I was unable to refuse. He provided reasonable accommodations for my chronic health condition and clearly outlined my duties. Based on this offer, I accepted the position of director of wellness and began work on April 24, 2023.”

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Beaufort County government headquarters. (Dylan Nolan/ FITSNews)

This news outlet has obtained a copy of a text message from Greenway to Lynch dated April 6, 2023 in which he states “I’ve created this job for you.”

“I want this for you about as much as you do so please feel the freedom to reach out to me anytime you have a concern,” Greenway wrote in the message (.jpg).

According to Lynch, it didn’t take long for Greenway to change his tune toward her.

“Just two weeks into my tenure with the county, I attended a party with my significant other,” Lynch continued in her statement. “Greenway was also in attendance. He was openly agitated and made it clear that my act of bringing my boyfriend to a social event was offensive to him. After he left the party, Greenway sent a string of emails and text messages directly threatening me and my livelihood. He financially threatened my family and professional associates as well. I was shocked by the behavior.”

One text message sent by Greenway on the evening of Saturday May 6, 2023 to Lynch tells her to “be aware of what you gave up tonight and what this will cost you.”

The message tells Lynch to “have fucking fun because you are now just an employee of Beaufort County and I’ve lost all trust and affinity for you!”

Take a look …

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Text message from Eric Greenway to Lisa Lynch on May 6, 2023. (Provided)

According to Lynch, she expressed her “distress” to county managers and was “assured that the matter would be handled.” She also submitted a “formal complaint of discrimination and retaliation” to county government.

“The complaint was investigated, and, despite the open threats, no wrongdoing was found on Greenway’s part,” Lynch said in her statement.

This news outlet has previously submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to Beaufort County for Greenway’s personnel file and for any complaints filed against him. As of this writing, the county has yet to respond to our requests.

In her statement, Lynch said Greenway and his minions sought to make her life miserable at the county after she refused his romantic entreaties and began dating another man.

“One of the threats that Greenway made – cancelling the contract with my sister-in-law’s company – was effectuated in June,” she wrote. “Internally, Greenway’s threats of financial harm were being carried out by his underlings. The deputy county administrator whom I was placed under, started to apply incredible stress and work pressure, took away my accommodations of a flexible work schedule, and demanded an inordinate amount of work in an effort to force my resignation. I take pride in my work, and I believed that I could succeed in this role for the citizens and employees of Beaufort County, so despite the consistent hostility and harassment, I worked tirelessly to perform my job.”

Lynch said law enforcement approached her earlier this year and asked her “to become the main witness against Greenway in some suspected criminal activity.”  

“Although I was hesitant to do so, I agreed and promised to tell the truth about all matters involving Greenway,” she said. “It is my understanding that the investigation is still underway.”

Lynch said she learned this week (Monday, July 24, 2023) that Greenway had been suspended from his post.

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Eric Greenway (Facebook)

“I was relieved by this, as I believed that the hostility and harassment would end with Greenway out of my chain of command,” she wrote. “I was incorrect. Yesterday, July 25, 2023, I was terminated by Greenway’s assistant administrator for a pretextual reason. I have no doubt that I was terminated for my reports of harassment, my complaints of the same, and my participation as a witness in the criminal investigation.”

Lynch concluded her statement by saying the harassment and retaliation she has endured has had “a devastating effect on both my professional and personal life.” She said she made the decision to come forward “to fully illuminate the transgressions of Beaufort County and its agents.”

Lynch declined to comment beyond the statement, referring all inquiries to her attorney Tim Lewis of the Charleston, S.C.-based Gibbs & Holmes law firm. Lewis also declined to comment beyond his client’s statement.

As noted in our coverage earlier this week, county leaders announced their intention to hire an outside firm to conduct “a thorough review of all purchases that have occurred since January 1, 2023, to confirm that those purchases comply with the County’s procurement codes, to identify any purchases that do not comply with County’s procurement codes, to bring to Council those that do not comply, and to provide a description of the discrepancies.”

A similar review will be conducted “of all contracts for professional services which the County has entered into since January 1, 2023,” and an audit is being undertaken of the County’s P-Card system for the fiscal years 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023.”

Beaufort County’s finance committee met on Wednesday afternoon to move forward with this process, which sources familiar with the inquiry have indicated “is likely to ensnare others in county administration.”

Stay tuned for future reports from this news outlet on several specific alleged “irregularities” regarding contracts involving Greenway and his allies. Also, stay tuned for reports seeking to answer the age-old question: “Who knew what, when?” regarding Greenway’s alleged activities.

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LISA LYNCH’S STATEMENT …

(Click to View)

(Via: Provided)

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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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7 comments

Jeffrey Borthick Top fan July 27, 2023 at 7:23 am

Great reporting/story!!

Now, I’d like to know what EG used to do for Beaufort County that was ‘worth’ $17,500/month?? And why is his ‘parade rest’ time ‘worth’ that same $550+/day, every day???

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Rose Reedy July 30, 2023 at 2:36 pm

It’s a shame that we taxpayers have to pay such ridiculously high salaries to certain individuals. Beaufort County is “top heavy” with those who sit on their butts and do next to nothing reaping all the benefits. Meanwhile, the lower ranking employees, who do all the work, struggle from payday to payday and never get any significant raises. In my personal opinion, I wish the taxpayers would have a say in the salaries of the top administrative individuals, either by vote or mailings.

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Tom Cooper Top fan July 27, 2023 at 8:03 am

The politicians in Beaufort County are now and have always been corrupt and protect their little circle, and everyone knows it. The reason Ashley was fired as the previous administrator is because she found out how corrupt the County Council and all their minions were, and she was starting to expose them, and they couldn’t have that. I hope they all get charged and convicted, so the public will open their eyes and see them for what they are…Thieves.

Reply
Rose Reedy July 30, 2023 at 2:36 pm

Well said, Tom.

Reply
Fiasco Joe July 28, 2023 at 4:36 pm

What was Eric supposed to do? You never know unless you try.

Reply
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Morty W Top fan August 6, 2023 at 11:41 am

Judging from Eric”s FB mugshot, I can’t believe every babe in Beaufort County wasn’t beating his door down for a romp. What a bell end.

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Alisa Ware Top fan August 7, 2023 at 2:48 pm

I’d like to know why they are only investigating his contracts from 2023, but his small purchases back to his date of hire? If we have an administrator that is likely to have broken laws, isn’t it probable that he behaved this way throughout his entire tenure? Isn’t it also possible that his willingness to bend/break the law is WHY he was hired in the first place? We need to push that ALL of his dealings and transactions be investigated from the day he was hired, not only 2023. If there is any wrong-doing, other county employees need to be held accountable as well! Someone pushed for him to replace Ashley Jacobs…someone who would ultimately benefit from her removal and his replacing her!

Reply

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