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"My ownership interest in the Village at Rivers Edge terminated in August of 2009 and, after that date, I no longer maintained any role in the management of the project," Benjamin's statement reads.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."
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!
Trustus Theatre Presents Evil Dead, The Musical
This musical version of Sam Raimi’s cult classic films promises to serve up more humor than horror. You can read more and purchase your tickets 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.
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.
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.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local restaurants serving locally grown food during Palmetto Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast, July 11-18:
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
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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.
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