Originally created 12/18/06

Across South Carolina



Committee wants spending examined

COLUMBIA - A House committee looking into the findings of an audit of the state Transportation Department has asked the attorney general to investigate the agency's spending.

The committee wants to know whether any laws were broken by the agency.

The Legislative Audit Council report detailed wasteful spending and mismanagement at the agency, including paying a private firm more than $120,000 for advisory services without putting the work up for competitive bid.

Agency Director Elizabeth Mabry has said the audit was inaccurate and unfair.

In a letter to Attorney General Henry McMaster, House committee chairwoman Rep. Annette Young, R-Summerville, asked Mr. McMaster to complete an investigation by the committee's January deadline to finish its work.

Committee members have serious concerns about the agency's "procurement procedures, its management of state and federal funds and its administrative actions related to environmental violations and capital improvement projects," Ms. Young wrote.

Mark Plowden, a spokesman for Mr. McMaster, said the attorney general would respond to the request soon.

Suspended county magistrate resigns

GREENWOOD - A Greenwood County magistrate who was suspended by the state Supreme Court has resigned.

Joe Cantrell had been suspended in November for misconduct in office. He submitted his resignation to Gov. Mark Sanford on Friday.

A part-time Greenwood County magistrate and clerk Toni Cole were charged in connection with missing funds from the magistrate's office.

Mr. Cantrell was not charged in the case.

In his letter of resignation, he said he thought some members of the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office made false statements about him.

Mr. Cantrell said that would make it difficult for him to be objective in matters involving those members of the department.

Judge gets probation for office misconduct

MYRTLE BEACH - A former Myrtle Beach Municipal Court judge has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to misconduct in office.

Phillip W. Hudson was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $1,000 on Friday.

He served about eight years as municipal judge before he was suspended in 2004 and was barred by the state Supreme Court from seeking any other judicial position.

Mr. Hudson admitted dismissing a traffic charge for a former student at Horry Georgetown Technical College, where he also was a teacher. He was paid more than $250 for the tickets but failed to turn the money over to the city, prosecutors said.