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Burying the Post & Courier’s Hatchet Job [Updated 12.04.08 10:26AM]

December 4, 2008

Andrew Citizen

by Jeffrey Sewell

[Update: SCHotline obtains copy of letter from Burnet R. Maybank, III of Nexus-Pruet to Ron Menchaca of the Post & Courier]

I read with great interest the hatchet job that Ron Menchaca of the Charleston Post and Courier performed against Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer and the “Senior Shield” program. Mr. Menchaca irresponsibly made intimations about the program and then name-dropped for effect, without a discernible source. Amazingly, the Post and Courier chose to run the story.

Let’s look at the facts.

Senior Shield is a non-profit, limited liability corporation set up by the Lt. Gov.’s Office on Aging as a way of protecting seniors from predatory business practices. Senior Shield will be to senior protection what the Secretary of State’s office is to charitable organizations in our state – the watchdog clearinghouse that ensures the safety of the public.

Once Senior Shield is fully operational, seniors will have a resource to check for “senior friendly” businesses – including financial services and retirement planning businesses. John Land, the recently bilked Democratic Senator from Manning, as well as the victims of the Home Gold scandal might have been saved hundreds of thousands of dollars had this program already been in place.

Once Senior Shield receives its IRS 501(c)3 “non-profit” designation, it will be able to raise private funds (tax-deductible to the donor) and be self-sustaining, even able to pay back the money the Office on Aging used to set up the corporation. In the long run, this program will more than pay for itself while meeting its designed purpose of protecting seniors from fraud.

So why would the Post and Courier, specifically Mr. Menchaca, choose to attack this program? Does he have a business interest in bilking seniors out of their retirement? Probably not, but his attacks on the program and its administrators does beg that question.

Far more likely is the hint Mr. Menchaca drops in the fourth paragraph of his story – that Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is considering a run for Governor. Clearly this story is designed to attack the Lieutenant Governor’s credibility (and the credibility of his staff) to do damage on behalf of one of Mr. Bauer’s potential political adversaries.

Which adversary? Impossible to say, since Mr. Menchaca’s story fails to mention who his source was for the allegations of wrongdoing – allegations which were completely unfounded and without basis in fact. At no time has Jim Miles, the Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff who did the work to set up Senior Shield, received a single penny from Senior Shield as the article intimated. Senior Shield has been a non-profit entity from day 1 – Mr. Menchaca’s possibly deliberate misinterpretation of the non-profit potential of Limited Liability Corporations to the contrary.

One final note. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Don Weaver of the South Carolina Taxpayers Association. He is truly someone who has made strong stands for the taxpayer in his term there. But, on this issue, he’s got it wrong. Senior Shield isn’t going to be competing with private sector businesses – the program will be protecting seniors by verifying best business practices.

Mr. Menchaca’s story in the Post and Courier is just the latest example of why the newspaper business is dying – around our state and around the nation. More and more people are turning to the internet – including sites like SCHotline.com for their news and information.

This story will only hasten that cycle.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Jane permalink
    December 4, 2008 2:31 PM

    This is typical of the P&C and other newspapers. I was banned from the P&C and another paper for letting people know about a petition they can sign regarding Obama refusing to release his birth certificate and the fact he is not eligible to be president.
    That website that got me banned?
    http://www.americamustknow.com
    http://www.outragedpatriots.com

  2. Charles Sharpe permalink
    December 4, 2008 3:04 PM

    Some one must be mistaken, why I know Mr. Menchaca would not attack old people. Why just think he might be old one day and get taken in by some of those jerks.

  3. Kaitlin Ruud permalink
    December 4, 2008 3:34 PM

    you wrote: “John Land, the recently bilked Democrat Senator from Manning”

    I think you meant to say “Democratic senator.”

    It should almost go without saying that if you can’t get “Democratic” right, why should I believe you are right about the puppies and old people?

  4. December 4, 2008 4:17 PM

    Kaitlin,

    That it is so ‘impotant’ to you we have made the correction, and thanks for the input. Should I die of a heart attack tomorrow it would just kill me…hehe to know we had that familiar typo floating around out there… 🙂

  5. Julie Smith permalink
    December 4, 2008 9:28 PM

    Why doesn’t someone ask Ron about being charged with assault in Dorchester County? He punched out a guy at the now-defunct Summerville Speedway, circa 1998.

  6. HarryO permalink
    December 4, 2008 11:00 PM

    The paperwork says there are two employees. How much do they make, and who are they.

  7. LowCountryrunner permalink
    December 4, 2008 11:10 PM

    mr. maybank seems to imply that the information provided shows that, when the newspaper article was written, that Senior Shield was ALREADY a non profit. But a careful reading of the information shows there is not proof offered of this.Fruthermore, the original article never said an LLC was not an appropriate legal entity to be a non-profit, only that it WAS NOT a non-profit at that time.

    It is surprising to see Nixon Pruet engage in a flimsey shell game. Afer all the lawyer bluster and “straw men arguments”, the fact remains that Senior Safe, at the time of the article, was a for profit company.

    Mr. miles has had ample time to open the books to Senior Shield and show the grants, income, donation, and expenditures. Until that time, this is just a boondoggle with government money being funneled by Jim Miles, to an entity controled by Jim Miles. No one knows anthing more until he opens the books and show everything.

    It is, I believe, a federal crime to solicit money for a non-profit that does not exist, so the dates of deposits, of government notification, etc will show us the true nature of these “deal”.

    as the man says, show me the money. or in this case, Mr. Miles, show me the taxpayers money.

  8. December 5, 2008 3:38 AM

    Whatever we can do to protect our seniors lets do it, the current system is broken and these folks gave us life, God Bless them and let us embrace anyone willing to do what they can for them…. js

  9. Concerned permalink
    December 7, 2008 5:36 PM

    It is definitely laudable that a program has been created to protect Seniors from fraud but my concern is will it do what it claims to do. According to the press release “The first step to protecting seniors from fraud and scams is teaching them to ask Have You Earned Your Senior Shield?” said Lt. Governor Bauer. “A handout for seniors to assist them in asking this important question is available on the Web site
    (www.scseniorshield.com/handout). If the person has their Senior Shield, you will know they have committed themselves to an independent, third party review that verifies they are crime free and reputable.” This implies that any business that does not have a Senior Shield is unreputable and therefore businesses will be forced to pay a fee for the “Senior Shield” even if they have already background checked their employees and are an exemplary business. Does that mean that any business that I have trusted for many years should all of a sudden become suspect if they choose not to get the “Senior Shield”? The government is getting paid anytime someone uses this service and therefore they have a vested monetary interest in this program. It seems like the government is mandating seniors to use the service and businesses to become part of this network. There is also no quality evaluation component of this process except to file a complaint after the fact if you are dissastified with the company. I am not sure how many frauds this service would actually prevent. The most common scams reported to the state Department of Consumer Affairs involve magazine subscriptions, home shopping catalogs, foreign money offers, Internet fraud and prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries. None of these scams would be prevented by this program. If “Senior Shield will be to senior protection what the Secretary of State’s office is to charitable organizations in our state – the watchdog clearinghouse that ensures the safety of the public”. Why can’t it be provided free of charge?

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