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Inquiry at SC State nets another plea

COLUMBIA — A developer pleaded guilty Friday to his role in an alleged kickback scheme involving South Carolina State University, admitting he arranged to buy a Porsche SUV for a trustee in exchange for help with a land deal.

Richard Zahn pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the federal government, according to defense attorney Andy Savage.

Prosecutors say the Longwood, Fla., developer owned land near the university called the “Sportsman’s Retreat” and asked trustee Jonathan Pinson to help him sell it to the school for $2.8 million. As a “thank you” gift for his help, prosecutors say Zahn told Pinson during an October 2011 phone call that he would buy him a Porsche SUV.

Zahn, 44, is the fourth person to be charged in the case, and federal authorities have said they expect more indictments to follow.

Prosecutors say Pinson also conspired with Green­ville businessman Eric Rob­inson to get kickbacks in exchange for using Rob­in­son’s entertainment company to promote a homecoming concert at S.C. State.

Both Pinson and Rob­inson have pleaded not guilty to federal kickback charges. They face up to 20 years each in prison if convicted.

S.C. State’s former campus police chief has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to help prosecutors.

Obama will visit Atlanta next week

WASHINGTON — President Obama will travel to Atlanta as part of a Southern swing after his State of the Union address Tuesday.

A stop in Asheville, N.C., on Wednesday will be followed by a visit Thursday to Atlanta. The White House hasn’t said what Obama will do in either city.

– Associated Press


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Turkeys get taste of own medicine

I got up and out of my sickbed so I could write this column because it’s time for the annual Turkey of the Year awards, the highlight of the holiday season.
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