SC

Lowcountry Administrator Scandal: Beaufort County Unanimously Upholds Termination

Accountability? Or another attempt to sweep a scandal under the rug?

By a unanimous 11-0 vote, Beaufort County, South Carolina’s elected government upheld its July 28, 2023 decision to terminate former county administrator Eric Greenway with cause.

Greenway has continued to receive payment since his termination, however. So has another county official who was reportedly forced out in connection with the scandal surrounding the disgraced administrator.

At a hearing held on Monday (September 11, 2023), county council chairman Joseph Passiment read out a litany of procurement violations against the former county leader – all of them tied to a woman with whom he had a longstanding “personal relationship.”

Council members originally removed Greenway from office two days after the woman he harassed – and targeted for retaliation when his overtures were rebuffed – went public with her story.

Former county wellness director Lisa Lynch has since sat down for an extensive interview with this news outlet, decrying the “pervasive and systemic mistreatment of women” in county government.

“I’m not going away,” Lynch told me. “I am going to speak for myself and for all women who have not been able to speak out.”

True to her word, Lynch attended Monday’s hearing – sitting on the front row.

Here is that interview in its entirety …

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Lynch is the third female county official within the last few years to allege harassment in the workplace by a male counterpart. Current Beaufort treasurer Maria Walls and former county chief financial officer Alicia Holland have both filed lawsuits against the county related to harassment they allegedly endured while discharging their official duties as public servants.

Were it not for Lynch, the scandals involving Greenway “might have been swept completely under the rug.”

As previously noted, the allegations burst into the public view after this outlet obtained and published a Beaufort County sheriff’s office incident report (.pdf) alleging misconduct in office involving Greenway between January 9, 2023 and May 11, 2023. We subsequently confirmed the initial date referenced in the report was tied to contractual dealings between Beaufort County and a company called Elementzal LLC – a company run by Lynch and her sister-in-law, Angie Hassinger.

Late last month, Lynch publicly accused Greenway of making multiple romantic advances toward her, which she rejected. After seeing Lynch at a social event with another man, Greenway then attacked her professionally – exacting retribution against her, her company and her professional associates, she said. Lynch also brought receipts to the table – namely text messages in which Greenway appeared to threaten her and others with retaliation after she appeared in public with her new boyfriend.

“Be aware of what you gave up tonight and what this will cost you,” Greenway wrote in a text message to Lynch.

The criminal investigation into Greenway – which is being run by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and investigators in the office of S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe – has uncovered “extensive misconduct” on the part of the terminated six-figured bureaucrat as well as multiple other county employees.

Investigators have reportedly heard from multiple witnesses who claim Greenway and former deputy county administrator Whitney Richland “threatened at least one other county employee who questioned their actions in regards to fiscal irregularities and/ or questionable financial transactions.”

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There is also an alleged coverup in the works, we are told – including one county council member who is allegedly conspiring with others to “cover tracks on wrongdoings and crimes” including rumored “land purchase deals, kickbacks, ghost purchases, overbids, no-bids and more.”

This council member is allegedly “covering for Greenway and concealing details” from their colleagues.

In Greenway’s defense, Columbia, S.C. employment attorney J. Paul Porter told council members on Monday that his client had been “justifiably praised by council and the public alike for making a discernible impact in bettering the lives of the people of Beaufort County.”

He also reminded them – accurately – that Greenway never sought the administrator’s job but rather had it thrust on him by Passiment.

“Every action he took was in furtherance of the best interests of Beaufort County,” Porter said, adding that Greenway “never willingly violated a lawful directive” of council.

Greenway attended the meeting, but did not speak.

According to Porter, council’s decision to terminate Greenway was “hasty and reactive,” and he asked for the decision be “reconsidered and reversed.”

Council was having none of that, though … immediately voting to uphold Greenway’s termination without discussion following the conclusion of Porter’s remarks.

In addition to the pending criminal investigation, Greenway, Richland and county parks and recreation director Shannon Loper are the focus of active S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) investigations based on complaints submitted to the agency in late July.

Beaufort County is one of South Carolina’s largest, wealthiest and most influential county governments. Unfortunately, it continues to be among the Palmetto State’s most “politically and governmentally immature,” as I have previously noted.

Count on this news outlet to keep tabs on ongoing efforts to hold its current and former leaders accountable for their actions with public funds and the public’s trust.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Dylan Nolan)

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 (soon to be eight) children.

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