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"My ownership interest in the Village at Rivers Edge terminated in August of 2009 and, after that date, I no longer maintained any role in the management of the project," Benjamin's statement reads.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."
Music Break at Music Farm Columbia
Join COR for an evening of networking for music and business leaders on September 3rd, featuring performances by Josh Roberts and the Hinges, Death of Paris, Fat Rat Da Czar, and Lazy A and the Green Thang. Free admission for musicians and members! Register 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.
Accepting Applications for Shakespeare’s Kidz!
Students ages 10-16 are invited to join South Carolina Shakespeare’s new youth company, with classes running September 20th-December 11th followed by a final performance. Learn and hone audition skills, monologues, and scenes from Shakespeare and modern works! Contact Katie Mixon with questions about scholarships and applications: PKatieMixon@gmail.com.
Delicious Downtown Breakfast
Tony’s is open for breakfast every day from 7:30-10:30! Conveniently located on Washington St. right off Main. Stop in for something filling and delicious before work! Follow us for updates on specials.
A two-day outdoor art and crafts show celebrating its 38th year. Being held on September 5 & 6, 2014, Click for details
Not Your Typical Greek Restaurant
Ariana’s in West Columbia serves up delicious all-natural, low carb dishes, as well as homemade bread and baklava. Come try the best salad dressing in town! Location info and hours here.
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U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Company seeking carpenters, plumbers, masons work is year around with a 40 year old company. Starting pay is $10.00 but experienced individuals will be compensated accordingly. Must have a clean driving record and must bring a copy of your driving record to the interview. Please call 803-865-1200.
Pool Cleaning-Full and part time available. Must have a clean driving record, be organized and have a professional appearance. Starting Pay is $10.00 per hr, please call for an interview, please 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. Cal 803-865-1200