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SCHotline Breaking News: Senator Courson calls on Chellis for full disclosure

August 3, 2007

 

 

 

SCHotline

8/3/2007 9:57:44 AM

SCHotline.com, South Carolina’s online news leader, has been following the rumors concerning State Rep. and Treasurer-Select Front Runner Converse Chellis since rumors spread through political in circles. As the General Assembly is set to vote to confirm Chellis at 1:00 PM today, one Senator is calling for full disclosure and may use his vote as a protest of the good ol’ boy process which has stifled competition and debate as to whom South Carolina’s next Chief Financial Officer and State Treasurer should be.

Senator John Courson, R-Richland, stated in The State newspaper today regarding the rumors of Chellis’s improprieties, “I think it is an issue simply because of what happened to the last treasurer. It should be brought into the sunlight. I do think disclosure would be appropriate.”

Chellis should also be called to state whether or not he will fire Henry White, the current Executive Director of the Budget and Control Board.

Chellis is a CPA from the lowcountry, whose voting record has toed the good ol’ boy line on spending, a habit which has earned him a “F” rating from the fiscally conservative Club for Growth.

The Full Article is Below:

Suit may not affect treasurer election
By JOHN O’CONNOR – joconnor@thestate.com

State lawmakers are split over whether a candidate for state treasurer should disclose details of a lawsuit that alleges professional misconduct.

The seven-year-old suit was filed by Martha Bryan, a former business partner of Rep. Converse Chellis, an accountant who many lawmakers said is the leading candidate. Chellis is a Dorchester County Republican.

Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, and Charleston County Council chairman Tim Scott, a Republican, also have entered the race. Thursday, Blythewood resident Denise Jones, a former finance administrator for the Department of Health and Environmental Control, announced her interest in the job.

Lawmakers are scheduled to choose a replacement treasurer today. Former Treasurer Thomas Ravenel resigned last week.

The lawsuit’s details began circulating this week in an anonymous e-mail.

According to court documents, “disputes arose between members of (Chellis Bryan & Associates) conduct toward female employees, Chellis’ work ethic and financial rewards.” In addition, the suit alleges “Chellis has fraudulently appropriated funds from CBA for his personal use,” in violation of state law.

The suit provides no evidence for its allegations, and was settled five months later. Settlement details were not available, and no criminal charges were filed.

“I think it is an issue simply because of what happened to the last treasurer,” said Sen. John Courson, R-Richland. “It should be brought into the sunlight. I do think disclosure would be appropriate.”

Efforts to reach Chellis were unsuccessful, but in an e-mail sent to lawmakers Wednesday, Chellis said he would not respond to the allegations

Efforts to reach Bryan’s attorney, Andrew Epting, also were unsuccessful.

Many lawmakers said they trust years-long relationships with Chellis – who entered the House in 1997 – over vague allegations in an old lawsuit.

“I’ve had a conversation with Mr. Chellis, and he’s assured me there’s nothing to it,” said House Minority Leader Harry Ott, D-Calhoun. “There’s not enough details there for me to change my opinion … that I’ve formed over the last nine years.”

House Ways and Means chairman Dan Cooper, who along with the treasurer is one of five voting members of the State Budget and Control Board, said the suit is a minor issue.

“Anybody in the United States can be sued for any reason at any time,” Cooper said. “I’m not that worried about it.”

Cooper noted the state paid $57,500 in 1997 to settle a harassment claim against current Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, another member of the Budget and Control Board. Voters, Cooper said, chose to re-elect Eckstrom.

Gov. Mark Sanford would not say whether Chellis should discuss the lawsuit, said spokesman Joel Sawyer, but believes lawmakers should take more time before electing a new treasurer.

Rep. J. Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, R-Lancaster, agreed. Mulvaney had not decided whom he would support Friday and was undecided whether Chellis should discuss the charges.

“Part of the culprit here is that we have to make up our minds in seven days, and that is very difficult,” Mulvaney said.

Courson said the campaign for treasurer might lead him to vote for an alternate candidate.

“I may vote for Grady Patterson,” Courson said of the former nine-term Democratic treasurer voted out in November, “as a sign of protest.”

DUTIES

By state law, the state treasurer:

· Is a voting member of the State Budget and Control Board, a five-member panel that oversees spending, approves some contracts and manages much of state government

· Is responsible for investing the state’s money and managing a portion of the state retirement system’s portfolio

· Is responsible for the state’s banking services. The treasurer pays the state’s bills and issues its debts.

· Is a trustee for unclaimed property

· Is a point person for monitoring the state’s credit rating

SOURCE: S.C. Treasurer’s Office

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Carl Woody permalink
    August 3, 2007 11:21 PM

    We thought we had voted out the “good ole boys” when the Republicans gained control of the legislature, yet we find many Republicans just as disgusting. They are not fiscal conservatives and some seem to hold decent moral values.
    There should be no hesitation in voting for Tim Scott or Mr. Ryberg instead of Mr. Chellis who is caught up in scandal.
    Will I have to go to the Constitution Party or another of the “Third” parties out there to find candidates who are fiscal conservatives, morally upright, and who will not fight the governor on nearly every issue, especially when the governor is of the same party?

  2. Phillip Lindley permalink
    August 4, 2007 5:03 PM

    Where does this clown (Chellis) come off thinking he does not have to answer questions about his past activities? Sounds like Bill & Hillary to me.

  3. Carl Woody permalink
    August 4, 2007 11:57 PM

    It is sickening to hear that the Republican good ole boys care nothing about the people of the state and have formed their own special club. Thus they elect one of their own as state treasurer despite his sexual indiscretions.
    This is an attempt to grab more power and oppose the governor in his efforts to curb spending and waste. I want to find if my senator, Danny Verdin, voted with the uncaring majority. Usually he votes right and I think he would in this case. This Republican since 1964 may well vote for independent candidates in 2008 since the state and national party vote their own selfish interests.

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