During the regular meeting of Horry County Council April 2, 2019, Chairman Johnny Gardner informed council members that negotiations regarding the exit of administrator Chris Eldridge are ongoing.
There have been some indications that Eldridge believes he has claims against the county that could result in an exit package of significant dollars.
What Eldridge apparently fails to understand is there are others who have potential claims against him and the apparent conspiracy to defame Gardner and others that began with emails as early as December 12, 2018.
There is no question it is past time for Eldridge to go. Four months have passed since he and attorney Arrigo Carotti began developing a narrative to defame the character and reputation of Gardner.
It has been a month since council deadlocked in a 6-6 vote on a motion to fire Eldridge, allowing him to remain in his position as administrator.
Since that vote, new information has been uncovered through Freedom of Information Act requests that point to a joint effort by Eldridge, Carotti and former chairman Mark Lazarus to develop a narrative that could be brought to SLED for an investigation of Gardner.
Eldridge requested the SLED investigation on December 20, 2018 after Carotti completed a five-page memo containing a narrative for which there were no facts to substantiate the authenticity of the memo’s narrative.
The memo was completed after Lazarus, Eldridge, Carotti and council member Gary Loftus listened on December 19, 2018 to a portion of a recording of a November 30, 2018 lunch meeting between Gardner, Luke Barefoot and Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development (EDC) officials Sandy Davis and Sherri Steele.
On that recording, Carotti and Eldridge alleged there was evidence of attempted extortion of EDC by Gardner and/or Barefoot.