By Nolan P. Frye
(ed. Note. The following was submitted to Grand Strand Daily by a concerned voter in Horry County. It touches on questions that require answers, but no one in the mainstream media has the guts to ask. If Tom Rice responds in printed form, something we doubt will happen, we will be happy to publish his answers unedited.)
We voted for Tommy Rice’s new best friend Nikki Haley two years ago and a lot of us chumps are not too happy with how that turned out…So, before we make the same mistake again, we first want to ask attorney Tom Rice here a few questions before we give him our vote.
By the way, did Tom or anybody else tell the gov why this is called “the Independent Republic of Horry?” Didn’t think so or she wouldn’t have been here yesterday. People don’t like to be told what to do here as the defaced campaign signs from two years ago demonstrated at the campaign stops.
Mr. Rice, a lot of questions folks wanted answers to questions that didn’t get asked of you at the debate the Myrtle Beach Chamber put on. Maybe that’s ‘cause the two TV stations which did the debate are both on the board of the Chamber. And maybe not.
Answers to the following questions should not be difficult for a man who wants to go to Washington to represent the Seventh Congressional District and currently sits as Horry County Council chair. I challenge you to answer these so you can set the record straight with the people you represent whether you win or lose today.
1. You told the Florence Morning News you’ve never heard of something called the “Myrtle Beach Mafia.” What then, sir, are we to make of the fact that the same individuals who are viewed as being members and leaders of that business and political grouping are among your close friends and clients and, according to Federal Election Commission filings and your fundraising invitations, constitute the bulk of your sponsors and also the biggest contributors to your campaign?
2. Fits News has called you a “crony capitalist.” Given the fact that much of what you’ve done since you first entered the public eye – such as “Take Back May’ and your efforts on County Council with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation – has had the net effect of using local government (and taxpayer money) to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, how can you claim to be a true champion of the free market?
3. Given the fact that “Take Back May” failed to kill the bike rallies (which are coming back now stronger than ever) and that the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down the most important anti-biker ordinances which were part of your initiative as unconstitutional, weren’t the only lasting results of your attack on the Harleys and the folks who make their livelihood from the bike rallies to depress an already depressed economy and to necessitate the raising of taxes?
4. Besides “Take Back May” – which has cost the County in lost tax revenue and negatively affected County residents and business owners through business failures and loss of seasonal employment – what can you point to which will convince us that you’ve been a net job creator as Horry County Council chair?
5. Why have you had so little success as chairman of Horry County Council in getting the other members of Council to vote with you on those issues which seem to advance your main agenda?
6. What’s been your role, if any, in connection with the controversy over the Horry County Solid Waste Authority?
7. Do you, any member of your family or any entity in which you have an ownership interest have any legal or economic interest in any property along the proposed route of the controversial I-73 Corridor from which you would stand to benefit personally if it’s built?
8. Assuming you still claim that you’ve run a clean campaign – notwithstanding the TV and radio spots, youtube videos, mailers, flyers and dirty tricks Andre Bauer has been subjected to since the June 12th voting, why are you employing the same firm of campaign consultants who were used by the Myrtle Beach Mafia to narrowly defeat Mark McBride in the 2009 Myrtle Beach mayoral race?
9. Can you categorically deny the allegations made by BOOST against those allegedly responsible for the “Coastal Kickback,” and say that the timeline for those events is a false one?
10. Have you been interviewed by the DOJ, IRS and/or the FBI (or any state law enforcement agency) in connection with the on-going investigation into the individuals and organizations involved in what has been termed the “Coastal Kickback”? Or “Chambergate,” if you prefer?
11. In answer to strong and persistent rumors, will you now state without qualification whether or not you were present at South Atlantic Bank with your late friend, David Brittain, and reputed “Coastal Kickback” target Shep Guyton when the infamous sequentially-numbered $1,000 treasurers checks (later to be given to local politicians to secure passage of the 1% sales tax which is funneled to the Chamber of Commerce) were cut? What prior knowledge or involvement, if any, did you have in how those contributions were raised, funded and structured?
12. In light of your claim that you can and will fairly represent all eight counties of the Seventh Congressional District, could you explain your statement to your supporters at the Myrtle Beach train depot on November 16, 2011 that you’re running for Congress “to bring the trophy home to Myrtle Beach?”
13. If you ultimately win election as our new Congressman, do you still intend, as you told a TV interviewer on November 16, 2011, to “pack…up [your] family to move to Washington?”