Following the conviction of former S.C. State board chair Jonathan Pinson on 29 counts of public corruption, Mayor Steve Benjamin released a statement on the verdict and on the allegations about him that surfaced during the trial of his former business partner.
"We have the Pinson family in our thoughts and prayers," Benjamin says in the statement. "As you are aware, I have withheld all comment while this difficult matter was before the court."
Benjamin's name came up frequently during the trial, with prosecutors saying he was involved in "questionable moneymaking schemes" and had worked alongside Pinson to "line their own pockets," The State reported. The two were partners in the Village at Rivers Edge housing development, a public-private partnership that started in the mid-2000s. The private portion of the development went into foreclosure in 2012; some of the charges against Pinson were related to theft of federal funds intended for that project.
Benjamin, however, has not been charged with any crimes. He had said previously and reiterated in his statement that he sold his share of the Village at Rivers Edge before he became mayor.
"My ownership interest in the Village at Rivers Edge terminated in August of 2009 and, after that date, I no longer maintained any role in the management of the project," Benjamin's statement reads. "Furthermore, after my election as Mayor in April of 2010, I conflicted myself out of all decisions directly or indirectly related to the project."
On the most titillating Benjamin-related revelation that came out of the trial — testimony that the mayor partied with strippers at an Orlando hotel during a trip paid for by a developer — Benjamin's statement is circumspect.
"I regret being present for certain aspects of the ... trip," he says. "I should have used better judgment."
Now Hiring in the Vista!
Hickory Tavern is opening mid-December and looking for bartenders, servers, hosts and kitchen staff. Apply in person: Click for details!
A Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Carnival
From 5-11 PM on December 31st on Main Street, enjoy rides, games, karaoke, food, drinks and more! More information here.
A Re-Imagined Christmas Carol at Trustus
Watch as five actors perform all the characters of Charles Dickens’ classic story and create a live musical score in a production that had audiences and critics raving last year. Get your tickets here!
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
We Practice After Hours Too!
Midlands Orthopedics clinics are open when young athletes need us most. Locations and hours can be found here.
Ice Skate on Main Street
Columbia’s famously hot skating rink opens Thanksgiving Day! Additional information and discounts can be found here.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season: