Sandy Davis, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation and primary source for information contained in an email county attorney Arrigo Carotti sent to council members Wednesday night, an email I reported on yesterday, was quoted in a story on the MyHorryNews.com website yesterday as saying about the email, “A lot of it was fabricated.”
Davis also told reporter Charles Perry that the narrative about extortion is false and that a tape recording of a meeting she had with Johnny Gardner reflects that fact.
Davis’ “on the record” comments to Perry totally undercut what Carotti, apparently in association with county administrator Chris Eldridge, was trying to portray in his email.
It now appears that Carotti’s missive was not created so much to inform council members of any facts, but rather to be leaked to a sympathetic media outlet in Columbia for a sensationalized story that would get the words “Johnny Gardner”and “extortion” into public view on the same day Gardner was being sworn in as the new Horry County Council Chairman..
Carotti’s email was sent to council members late Wednesday afternoon. The story appeared Thursday morning including the complete email.
How did this happen if the intent was not to immediately leak the email, headed by the words “Attorney Client Privilege” to give it the appearance of legitimacy?
The audio recording of the Gardner meeting also brings interesting questions to this issue. Eldridge was aware of the recording in early December. An email from EDC board chairman Neyle Wilson to Eldridge dated December 7, 2018 suggested to Eldridge that he “listen to the tape recording first and then decide whether you need to go any further.”
A follow up email from Wilson to Eldridge on December 12, 2018 stated, “Good morning Chris. I have not heard back from you on the below offer to listen to the recording. Please let me know if you accept this offer and if so, give me some dates and times that you can come to the EDC office.”