Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ruh Roh! Two Former Darlington County Deputies File Suit Alleging a Conspiracy to Elect Tony Chavis Sheriff

      Two former Darlington County deputies, Eric Hodges and Joyce Coe-Everett, have filed suit against several former Lamar law enforcement officers, including former Police Chief Charles Woodle, Officer Daniel Barnett, and Lt. Robert Kilgo. The suit alleges the three Lamar law enforcement officers conspired to frame Hodges and Coe-Everett for campaigning on duty for then Sheriff Wayne Byrd by secretly filming the two shopping on their off duty lunch break for supplies for a Byrd campaign event.  The covert filming was allegedly a plot to discredit Byrd in an effort to ellect tony Chavis sheriff. Hodges and Coe-Everett were fired, but re-hired after an investigation determined no wrong-doing on their part. Both retired as deputies before Chavis took office as sheriff in January.
      You can read a more detailed account of the allegations here.. There is an article covering the incident and the deputies' firing here.. There is an article about the subsequent investigation which cleared the two of wrongdoing and their rehiring here, if you love a semi-happy ending.  
     Former Lamar Chief of Police Charles Woodle is named in the suit. Woodle ran for Darlington County sheriff himself back in 2012. The South Carolina Ethics Commission hit his campaign with 33 counts of campaign finance violations. Among the counts were failure to disclose campaign contribution and using campaign funds for personal expenses. Woodle was fined $15,000 for the violations. Woodle has a history of confessed campaign shenanigans. He was a Chavis supporter as well as a personal friend married to Chavis' former sister-in-law.  
     Kilgo is now a spokesman for the Darlingon County sheriff's office. Plum position, that.
    I remain fascinated by Team Chavis and the Jerry Springer-esque spectacle that was the 2016 Darlington County sheriff's race. I freely admit I have a personal ax to grind and one could circumcise a mosquito with it at this point.. Nevertheless, it is a sight to behold. Personal attacks, death threats, a conspiracy involving the Darlington mayor, and the criminal elemnt within the Team Chavis campaign along with so much more. Joel and Ethan Coen would win an Oscar if they ever produce this story for the silver screen.

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