Sheriff Chuch Wright. Andy Wright. Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. SCSO.
Crime & Courts

Spartanburg Sheriff Remains Silent Amid Nepotism Allegations

Sheriff Chuck Wright sparks criticism after deputizing his son.

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The sheriff of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, has denied comment following allegations of nepotism lodged by many of his constituents.

On Monday, July 1, 2024, sheriff Chuck Wright appeared to have run afoul of the S.C. Ethics Reform Act by personally deputizing his son, Jared “Andy” Wright, during a one-on-one ceremony at the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO).

“Please join us in congratulating our newest sworn deputy,” SCSO posted on Facebook last Monday. “He is currently a Fort Jackson Fire Department lieutenant and a previous K-9 handler for the Duncan Police Department.”

In September 2020, after serving four years as a reservist for the Lyman Police Department (LPD), Andy transferred to the Duncan Police Department (DPD) — eventually becoming a part-time K-9 handler. He maintained this position for approximately three years.

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“No shock there,” said a former command staff member. “The only reason he was a reserve officer [for LPD] was because of his dad. Then, because of his dad, [DPD] finally sent him to the academy and gave him a chance to work part-time … Look how that turned out.”

On September 13, 2023, Andy’s four-legged partner, K9 Kaos, died unexpectedly while off-duty. Six days later, DPD discharged Andy and disbanded every part-time officer, according to training records provided by the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy (SCCJA).

“We were concerned that K9 Kaos died because Andy wasn’t feeding him properly,” said a source familiar with DPD. “We eventually did an autopsy on the dog and determined his stomach had flipped … [Andy] was suspended a good while before they finally let him go.”

Despite the aforementioned incident, Sheriff Wright deputized his son last week. Last Monday’s ceremony came ten months after Andy’s dismissal from DPD and two months before portions of his Class One law enforcement certification expired due to inactivity.

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Sheriff Chuch Wright. Andy Wright. Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. SCSO.
Jared “Andy” Wright; Sheriff Chuck Wright. (Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office)

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SCSO deputies have since purported that Andy’s hiring came one week after Sheriff Wright terminated a 27-year employee for supporting his opposition during last month’s GOP primary. The five-term sheriff is said to have fired two more subordinates during the same timeframe. 

In addition to allegations of retaliation, the incumbent stands accused of violating nepotism laws by personally employing his son.

Come Tuesday, July 2, 2024, FITSNews emailed SCSO Public Information Officer Kevin Bobo not once but twice. Despite being responsible for communicating with the media, Bobo has yet to acknowledge our request for comment on the allegations.

Employees of the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) were far more responsive, answering our email within 21 minutes of it being sent on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. The office has since confirmed sheriffs are not exempt from S.C. Code of Law § 8-13-750(A), which reads as follows:

“No public official, public member, or public employee may cause the employment, appointment, promotion, transfer, or advancement of a family member to a state or local office or position in which the public official … supervises or manages.”

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The agency added that S.C. Code of Law § 8-13-700(B) allows public officials to recuse themselves from potentially conflicting matters. They furthermore confirmed Andy could maintain his deputyship so long as his father submitted his recusal in writing.

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether sheriff Wright submitted a written recusal, as neither SCSO nor Lt. Bobo have publicly acknowledged their constituents. As of this publication, some 430 Facebook users have either congratulated or condemned SCSO for deputizing Andy.

“There’s nothing wrong with a father being proud of his kid,” concluded an attorney familiar with law enforcement. “But notwithstanding an exemption, it creates an appearance of impropriety … He failed the smart test on this one.”

This story may be updated.

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ANDY’S SCCJA FILE …

(SCCJA)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Andrew Fancher (Travis Bell)

Andrew Fancher is a Lone Star Emmy award-winning journalist from Dallas, Texas. Cut from a bloodline of outlaws and lawmen alike, he was the first of his family to graduate college which was accomplished with honors. Got a story idea or news tip for Andy? Email him directly and connect with him socially across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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8 comments

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The Colonel Top fan July 8, 2024 at 1:28 pm

It has always amazed me that the shit show that is Spartanburg County could abut Greenville County. By any conceivable metric, Greenville city and county outperforms Spartanburg city and county hands down.
School districts? G’ville has 1, Sparkle? Seven!!! G’ville schools outperform Sparkle schools in every area.
Income? G’villians make almost $20,000 more per capita a year
Violent Crime? G’ville 5 per 1,000 residents. Sparkle 11 per ,1000
Individuals below the property level? G’ville 14%. Sparkle, 25%.

How can it be that two counties that sit side by side, bisected by the same highways, ostensibly populated by the same demographics sets, can be so freaking different?

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Alexis Wentworth July 11, 2024 at 7:00 pm

What are you talking about? Greenville is better than the burg in a lot of areas, however, there is still a lot of old money in Spartanburg. I know this is the new South Carolina, but don’t forget, Spartanburg used to have the two richest men in the state (Roger Miliken and Jerry Richardson). Also, Spartanburg has great schools, depending on where you live. The employment opportunities in the burg leave a lot to be desired, but let’s not trash Spartanburg. Up until 2004, it used to hold some sway. Coming from someone who grew up in old South Carolina, the new South Carolina sucks. What has happened to this state, particularly the lowcountry and the upstate is an abomination. Just awful.

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AC Top fan July 9, 2024 at 7:17 am

The Colonel you are correct, it also amazes me that the ethics commission is a joke. Sheriff Wright clearly violated the law and the section they quoted about recusal has nothing to do with his actions. He broke the law plain and simple, the only remedy is to fire his son. I’m surprised he hasn’t renamed named his son Hunter. Of course the sheriff elect in Pickens , Blankenship, also violated the ethics laws by using government property during his campaign. It would be nice for the ethics commission to do its job.

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Morty W Top fan July 9, 2024 at 8:11 am

The Ethics Commission is toothless. It was created to be that way as a lame front by a Legislature that has none. The EC never does anything of significance because they can’t.

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JustSomeGuy Top fan July 9, 2024 at 8:51 am

Stomach flip in a dog is tragic and often deadly. It’s unlikely that it was caused by anything the owner/handler did, and the suggestion of it is sensationalist BS. It’s more likely that, in a department that really didn’t need part time officers, a K-9 handler without a dog would remain suspended until the final determination was made to eliminate the part time positions. There’s so much legitimate controversy in this story that there’s no need to manufacture drama.

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Anonymous July 10, 2024 at 2:54 am

I voted for Nick Duncan … enough said !!!!

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Anonymous July 14, 2024 at 10:57 am

How’d that work out, lol…

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LEO Supporter July 16, 2024 at 10:07 am

Chuck Wright fired some veteran deputies, by cowardly letting their supervisors tell them they no longer “worked at the pleasure of the sheriff” – not for any policy violations, but because he didn’t like how they performed their jobs, without ever talking to them himself. Communication has never been his strong suit, but just like others before him, the God complex kicked in for Wright. There is no man in Spartanburg county who pontificates in a more self-serving, pious, or arrogant manner – in my opinion. Of those who know him, does he greet you by asking how you are, or about your family? Or does he launch into a story about himself, such as his his latest flight in the helicopter which taxpayers fund or how he got box seats for the Clemson-Carolina game? Spartanburg County citizens deserve better.

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