SC

Former Lowcountry Municipal Leader Focus Of SLED Investigation

Another local government, another alleged “smash-and-grab” scandal …

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The phrase “smash and grab” invokes the visual of a looter in a riot, but it is increasingly the modus operandi of thieving bureaucrats at all levels of government. Theft and misuse of taxpayer funds is especially rampant in corrupt-as-hell South Carolina, and the sad reality is that probably only a small fraction of it ever gets reported – let alone investigated or prosecuted.

That means millions of dollars of your money is going into the pockets of the people who are supposed to be safeguarding it and appropriating it efficiently and transparently on core government functions.

Anyway, we devote plenty of bandwidth to allegations of government misconduct – and today is no different.

Over the weekend, we received word that a former city of Hanahan, S.C. public official was the focus of an investigation by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). The agency’s public information director Renée Wunderlich confirmed as much on Monday (September 25, 2023) – referencing an inquiry requested by Hanahan police chief Dennis Turner.

“On June 9, 2023, SLED was requested by chief Dennis Turner of the Hanahan police department to conduct a larceny investigation involving a former city of Hanahan public works department employee,” Wunderlich said. “In order to ensure the investigation was unbiased, (Turner) requested SLED investigate the matter.”

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According to our sources, the investigation centers around former city public works director Joe Gill – who was terminated from his post in May of this year. This news outlet was unable to find any record of GIll’s termination, however we did find a special city council meeting agenda (.pdf) from May 15, 2023 which referenced “personnel matters related to public works” as having been discussed during a closed-door “executive session.”

Early reports indicate the city’s former public works director – Joseph A. Gill – was allegedly using “a government credit card to make personal purchases.” According to sources familiar with the investigation, Gill’s alleged conduct “went (on) for over three years before it was discovered.”

When it was discovered, every effort was allegedly made to “keep it hush hush” owing to the fact the city’s current administrator, Courtney Soler, was responsible for the city’s finances during the period when the alleged theft occurred.

We have also been informed that city employees have been compelled in recent weeks to sign dubious confidentiality agreements which prevent them from disclosing “non-public information.”

This “internal policy” memo – which employees were reportedly ordered to sign – threatens them with “discipline, up to and including termination” if they violate their “duty of confidentiality concerning non-public information.”

Take a look …

(Click to View)

A copy of Hanahan, S.C.’s new confidentiality agreement. (Provided)

I’m sorry … but aren’t these government employees?

What “non-public information” is the city referring to?

Hanahan is a rapidly growing city of approximately 20,500 located in Berkeley County – approximately ten miles northwest of the Charleston peninsula. The city is bordered to the south and west by North Charleston – and to the east and the north by Goose Creek.

Neither Gill nor any other individual has been charged criminally in connection with this investigation. And in the event criminal charges are brought against him, he would obviously be considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system.

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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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1 comment

Mya September 27, 2023 at 3:21 am

Fox watching the hen-coop? SLED, itself, is circumspect–especially in the Murdaugh debacle. Looks like a frame job to me. SC: come into the 21st century, at last. Stop the witch hunts.

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