Three weeks before it was scheduled to go to trial, a settlement was reached in a high-profile family court case involving U.S. congressman William Timmons of South Carolina, sources familiar with the situation confirmed to this media outlet on Saturday.
Timmons’ mistress – self-styled socialite Paula Dhier – reached an agreement late Friday afternoon with her estranged husband, Greenville, S.C. real estate developer Ron Rallis. The agreement – which Timmons had been aggressively pushing – was reached at the end of a lengthy mediation, we are told. It is not immediately clear whether Timmons – who was subsidizing his mistress’s legal representative – attended the mediation.
Sources on both sides of this contentious divorce/ child custody case confirmed on Saturday afternoon that a deal had been struck, but declined to discuss its specifics.
Dhier and Rallis were set to go to trial on Monday, September, 18 2023 in Greenville County family court in Rallis v. Rallis – a sealed case which has generated statewide attention given Timmons’ ill-advised interference. While Rallis v. Rallis is sealed – a privilege reserved for the wealthy, powerful and politically connected in this state – courthouse sources indicated family court judge Timothy Madden was inclined to grant media access to the proceedings.
Madden “believes in open courtrooms,” a source familiar with his thinking told this media outlet.
Assuming the tentative agreement between the two parties holds, next month’s trial would be cancelled.
To recap: Timmons initiated his own sex scandal last spring via an unsolicited “prayers and privacy” statement to this media outlet responding to rumors of an affair with Dhier. As I’ve often noted, this news outlet did not request a statement from him and had not indicated we had any plans to cover their tryst.
In fact, FITSNews generally eschews reporting on affairs unless they involve misspent tax dollars, abuse of office, attendant criminality or some glaring, over-the-top hypocrisy on the part of the elected official in question.
Which Timmons’ team knew …
The apparent goal of Timmons’ preemptive comments? Bringing the affair to light so he could torpedo his marriage, sources familiar with the situation say. The congressman quickly lost control of the narrative, though, and in recent months has seen it spiral further from his grasp.
Dhier’s affair with Timmons reportedly began in 2021 when she was living off-and-on with various members of the Timmons family – including the congressman and his wife, Sarah Timmons. Dhier and Sarah Timmons were longtime friends – “best friends” of more than seven years, in fact – according to multiple sources familiar with the status of their relationship.
The Timmons jointly announced their separation last fall. That case is also sealed.
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While the matter between Dhier and Rallis may be settled, recent reports regarding Timmons’ involvement in the case warrant additional scrutiny. Specifically, threats made against Rallis – and an apparent instance of witness tampering – require immediate investigation by the S.C. supreme court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC).
“Trials are never fun. You won’t like the outcome,” Timmons wrote in a text message to Rallis. “It will be better if y’all come to an agreement.”
In the same message, Timmons implied he would be providing information related to Rallis’ “history of interaction with law enforcement and actual financials” to the court.
“It will not go well for you,” he wrote.
Timmons also messaged a witness in the case offering to discuss “ways to manage an unreasonable subpoena.”
As I noted in my original report on this scandal, these messages should – at the very least – prompt an investigation by the (ODC) as to whether Timmons “violated his oath and his obligations as a practicing attorney in the Palmetto State.”
Midway through his third term in Congress, Timmons spent two years as a state senator prior to winning a crowded primary for the fourth district in 2018. Before that, he was a prosecutor.
He hails from an über-wealthy, über-influential family in Greenville, South Carolina. His great-grandfather – William R. Timmons Sr. – built an empire in the Upstate beginning in the mid-1920s, focusing on the real estate, trucking and insurance industries. The family – which helped establish the city’s civic and philanthropic communities – is reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
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.
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