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.
A Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Carnival
From 6-11 PM on December 31st on Main Street, enjoy rides, games, karaoke, food, drinks and more! More information here.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage offers 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
New Year’s Eve at Social
Don’t miss this Black and White Affair featuring Kap Slap. Tickets available online!
Ice Skate on Main Street
Columbia’s famously hot skating rink is now open! Additional information and discounts can be found here.
Going someplace cool this weekend?
Let The Backpacker help you go lightweight, comfortable and in style! Patagonia, Prana, Merrell, The North Face and more! Click for location, hours and more info.
Great Gifts for the Whole Family
Don’t miss Half Moon Outfitters’ holiday sale! Up to 30% off Prana, Patagonia, The North Face, and other great brands. Location and hours here.
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Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season:
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
F/T and P/T avail. Must have a clean driving record, organized and have a prof appearance. Please call for an interview or email resume to Kerry@crystalpool.com. Must bring a copy of your Driving record and a list of all past employers with duration of employment listed as well as telephone numbers for references. Call 803-865-1200