All sorts of seediness is shaking out of the public corruption trial of Jonathan Pinson, former business partner of Mayor Steve Benjamin and former S.C. State University trustee. A witness testified Wednesday about a business trip on which Benjamin, already Columbia’s mayor at the time, accompanied Pinson to Florida. The witness alleged the two married men visited a strip club and later took two of the dancers back to their hotel room for the evening, WIS reports.
Wednesday proved to be an historic one for the South Carolina Senate, as it elected two new leaders, immediately elevating one to lieutenant governor in order to make room for Hugh Leatherman, already the Senate’s most powerful member as Senate Finance Committee chairman, to be elected its president pro tempore. But before the senators voted, Sen. Shane Massey of Darlington took the floor to inveigh against selecting Leatherman, his fellow Republican, saying the Florence senator’s consolidation of leadership roles would endanger the body and the state. Then Massey claimed Leatherman had orchestrated a coup that in recent weeks compelled Sen. John Courson to resign as president pro tempore so as to avoid ascending to the largely powerless lieutenant governor’s office, filling that unwanted position with Sen. Yancey McGill, a Kingstree Democrat nearing retirement, and then locking down the votes to make himself president pro tempore for the foreseeable future. Yes, it’s complicated.
Meanwhile, the bill that would bolster College of Charleston to become the state’s third major research university and that led to the recent Senate power struggle has died, The Statereports. Former Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, the college’s incoming president, tried to ram the bill through the Senate several weeks ago without allowing for normal debate, but when Sen. John Courson stood him down, McConnell threatened to leave the lieutenant governor's office, compelling Courson either to resign as president pro tempore or ascend to the lieutenant governor's office. Courson chose the former.
For yet another year, state legislators appear unlikely to pass an ethics reform bill. The Senate is expected to resume debate of the issue today, but Sen. Lee Bright, who has strange concerns about First Amendment infringement, also is expected to filibuster it.
Columbia’s Largest Sidewalk Sale
Shop local this tax free weekend! Devine Street and Five Points are teaming up for a massive sidewalk sale featuring great in-store specials from all your favorite retailers and a Saturday art stroll. Read more hereand here!
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
Tax-Free Weekend at Best Mattress
With big savings from July 31st-August 2nd, you can afford handcrafted quality. Free bed frame and pillows on any Full, Queen, or King set $599 and above! Click for locations and hours.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info