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Former TV Anchor, ‘Friends Of The Hunley’ Leader Popped For DUI

Isle of Palms police are cracking down …

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A former local television anchor who now leads the heavily taxpayer-subsidized ‘Friends of the Hunley‘ nonprofit was arrested and charged on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) last week by officers of the Isle of Palms police department.

For those of you familiar with our coverage of Blackbaud, this is the same law enforcement agency that arrested the company’s chief executive officer, Michael P. Gianoni, on suspicion of DUI earlier this year.

Drunk driving on the Isle of Palms is clearly not going to be tolerated … no matter who you are.

In this case, Hunley executive director Kellen Lee Butler was arrested last Thursday (April 11, 2024) and charged with first offense DUI with a blood alcohol content higher than 0.16 percent. She was subsequently booked at the sheriff Al Cannon detention center and released on a $2,262 bond.

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Kellen Butler (Facebook)

Butler, 54, of Charleston, S.C. runs the nonprofit that oversees the H.L. Hunley submarine – an entity which has relied heavily on taxpayer funding over the past two decades. Tens of millions of tax dollars have flowed toward this submarine – which was raised from the floor of Charleston harbor on August 8, 2000.  Millions more have been spent on related Confederate memorabilia – and millions more on a government-run “Restoration Institute” run under the auspices of Clemson University.

This taxpayer spigot was controversially turned on in 2004 by then-attorney general (now governor) Henry McMaster, who issued an opinion that a government-funded commission “possesse(d) the power to create the nonprofit corporation known as the ‘Friends of the Hunley’ to further its statutory duties to provide for the recovery, excavation and conservation of the Hunley.”

My media outlet consistently opposed spending on the Hunley, referring to it as a “brazen fleecing of South Carolina taxpayers.”

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As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Butler is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as she may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to the charge that was filed against her.

Butler’s case will be prosecuted by the office of S.C. ninth circuit solicitor Scarlett Wilson. Her first court appearance is scheduled for May 1, 2024.

Count on this media outlet to provide any pertinent updates related to her case …

Oh, and some free advice: If you are planning on downing any adult beverages on the Isle of Palms, you might want to have your Uber app open. These cops are not messing around. I mean, technically that’s sage advice no matter where you are planning on imbibing, but clearly this is one locale that doesn’t care who you are or how much money you make.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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