The possibility of facing criminal charges is worrying for anyone. However, for those in the public eye and positions of power, it can have an even more significant impact. For a Columbia Mayor, this is all too real a possibility as queries about his business practices arose during the trial of another South Carolina official.
The former board chairman of South Carolina State University was found guilty of a number of charges including bribery, extortion and wire and bank fraud. During the trial, the name of the mayor also surfaced numerous times. These mentions included an email sent from a Florida developer that has raised questions about a trip to Florida taken by the mayor and the former chairman.
The email mentions a potential strategy for Columbia and proposes a development workshop. The trip, which accommodated the two South Carolina men and a number of other state officials was paid for by the developer. However, the mayor did not declare the trip as public business. His attorney argues that it is possible the trip was for private business and is collecting documents to demonstrate that.
As yet, no concrete allegations have been leveled at the mayor. However, he will need to ensure the matter of whether the trip constituted a public or private matter. Loose ends such as this can easily lead to accusations of public corruption or other charges that could be damaging to his reputation.
If you are faced with charges of this nature, your first concern may be protecting your good name. An attorney can help you plan your defense and may be able to assist you in countering any accusation laid against you. By acting swiftly and sensibly, you can increase your chances of preserving your reputation and avoiding legal repercussions.
Source: Greenville Online, “Email raises questions of Columbia mayor’s Fla. trip,” John Monk, July 14, 2014