Tag: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

Public Corruption and Southern Holdings

Public corruption is a hot topic today with politicians making illegal deals and other powerful interests using their influence to evade the law.

Too often the courts are also included in the process providing the final piece to the public corruption puzzle.

When this happens, the entire fabric of American society is torn and it’s difficult to see how it can be fixed.

Such is the story of the case of Southern Holdings et al v. Horry County et al.

In the Spring of the year 2000, Southern Holdings was a nice little corporation valued at $20 million, by independent analysts, doing business in South Carolina, North Carolina and Las Vegas, Nevada. It was owned by 75 shareholders, some of whom were residents of Horry County, with varying stock positions.

The corporation had recently gained the rights to contracts to be the exclusive marketer of cigarettes in areas of South America along with the rights to an offshore bank license and other contracts. The total value of these contracts and rights was $12-$15 million, according to corporate records.

After Southern Holdings gained the rights to these contracts, former Southern Holdings shareholder Ancil B. Garvin, III, a resident of Horry County at the time, attempted to get Southern Holdings President James Spencer to cut the remaining shareholders out of the profits.

What Spencer didn’t know then was that Garvin was selling cigarettes in the black market as well as with legitimate outlets.

In an e-mail from Garvin to Spencer in early May 2000, Garvin urged Spencer to agree to buy out the other stockholders. Garvin suggested he and Spencer could then “take the remaining $10 million of assets and retire.” Spencer refused.

U.S. Attorney Enters Skydive Myrtle Beach Lawsuit

The U.S. Attorney for the South Carolina District has notified the Florence Federal District Court that she will be representing the individual federal defendants in a federal tort claims lawsuit brought by Skydive Myrtle Beach Inc.

The notification is included in a motion, signed by Interim U.S. Attorney for S.C. Beth Drake, to the court requesting an extension in filing a response just as time for a response was running out.

Skydive Myrtle Beach named Horry County, Horry County Council, the Federal Aviation Administration and a number of officials with all agencies individually as defendants.

The lawsuit claims Skydive Myrtle Beach was illegally closed when Horry County Council and its Department of Airports worked with the FAA to deprive Skydive Myrtle Beach of its constitutional right to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In 2014, Skydive Myrtle Beach lodged a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration against Horry County Department of Airports alleging discriminatory actions against Skydive Myrtle Beach by HCDA.

In response, Horry County Department of Airports reported to the Federal Aviation Administration that Skydive Myrtle Beach was the subject of 112 alleged safety violations while conducting business at Grand Strand Airport.

In October 2015, the FAA issued a 73 page Director’s Determination Report supposedly basing the report on those safety violations. Horry County subsequently used this report as an excuse to shut down Skydive Myrtle Beach operations at Grand Strand Airport.

Skydiving is an approved aviation activity at all airports receiving FAA grants, according to FAA guidelines. Grand Strand Airport and the Horry County Department of Airports receive FAA grants on a routine basis.

Southern Holdings and Public Corruption

Public corruption cases are all the news in South Carolina lately and it’s time for the name Southern Holdings to be as scrutinized as Harrell, Metts or Pinson among others.

The Southern Holdings case stems from actions by the Horry County Sheriff’s Department and Horry County Police Department in June 2000 and August 2000, as well as subsequent events.

Southern Holdings, Inc. and several stockholders of this closely held corporation are plaintiffs in the case. Horry County, Horry County Police Department, Horry County Sheriff’s Department and various individuals are defendants in the case.

Any time you study an issue that evolves from the original Southern Holdings case, you get tangled in a web of lies, deceit and public corruption.

The HCSWA and Its Tangled Web

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA) will have another day in court as the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in an appeal by William Clyburn, former owner of Sandlands C&D LLC and Express Disposal.

The arguments are scheduled for October 31, 2013 in Richmond. Clyburn will be attempting to overturn the district court decision that upheld the county’s waste stream flow control ordinance that established a monopoly in garbage disposal for the HCSWA, seriously hurting Clyburn’s businesses.

For the hearing, the HCSWA will be claiming it is a non-profit corporation. As HCSWA Executive Director Danny Knight said in an I&R meeting two months ago, “in court we’re not the county.”