SCSU woes continued through ‘13
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SCSU woes continued through ‘13

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A new decade has begun, leaving behind the 2010s. The 10 years were eventful in The T&D Region. But just how so?

S.C. State woes at top of 2012 news

Today we continue a special T&D series looking back at the years 2010 through '19. We’re identifying the big stories as selected by The T&D at the end of each year and in some instances offering perspective on those stories with the luxury of hindsight.

When we're done, you'll get a chance to weigh in. We'll ask you to vote via our Facebook page on a story of the decade and give us your reasoning. We'll conclude with an editorial comparing our choice and yours.

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“After a lot of thought and deliberation, effective immediately, I tender my resignation from the Board of Trustees of SCSU,” former board chairman Jonathan Pinson wrote in a letter dated Dec. 28, 2012. He went on to cite pressing business and family needs as the reasons for leaving his post.

Development amid a high jobless rate

About a week later, Pinson was indicted on two felony counts of interference with commerce by threat of violence.

The indictments kicked off 2013, with the turmoil at S.C. State – the top story of 2012 -- again topping The Times and Democrat’s list of the most significant stories of the year.

The university made headlines with federal corruption charges, guilty pleas, an interim president trying to cope with a fiscal crisis, the replacement of several board members by lawmakers and controversy surrounding the hiring of a new president.

Orangeburg tragedy shocks nation in 2010

The year was still young when the federal government charged Pinson with using his position to solicit favors and money. Authorities claimed he unsuccessfully arranged for the university to buy property in exchange for a Porsche.

Prosecutors said Pinson also conspired to receive kickbacks from Greenville businessman Eric Robinson, whose entertainment company received a contract for the 2011 homecoming concert.

It did not end there. In November, Pinson was charged with racketeering and wire fraud.

The additional allegations said Pinson lied to law enforcement during the investigation, paid himself money that should have gone to contractors on a government-funded project and submitted false federal paperwork to get more money.

In July 2014, a jury convicted Pinson on 29 of 45 charges. A total of five people pleaded guilty in connection with the investigation.

In April 2013, South Carolina lawmakers voted to remove the university’s four incumbent trustees whose seats were up for election, including then-Chairman Dr. Walter L. Tobin.

In addition to the indictments and charges of corruption, student protests surrounded the departure of interim president Dr. Cynthia Warrick. Some students and trustees sought to keep Warrick on board at the university, but the board moved forward with its search for a new president. Trustees ultimately hired Thomas J. Elzey, a former executive vice president at The Citadel in Charleston, as president.

But the troubles would continue into 2014.

Other big stories from 2013:

• Orangeburg voters elected Michael C. Butler in September, making him the city’s first African-American mayor.

• The year saw four inmate deaths at the Orangeburg County Detention Center, for a total of six deaths within a 13-month period.

• Excessive rainfall saturated area fields, harming the 2013 wheat and cotton crops, and producing a disaster declaration.

• A year of building at the Regional Medical Center was highlighted by opening of the expanded H. Filmore Mabry Center for Cancer Care.

• State Rep. Harry Ott, a St. Matthews Democrat, resigned his House seat to assume the position of South Carolina Farm Service Agency executive director. He is today head of S.C. Farm Bureau. Ott was succeeded in the House by his son, Russell Ott.

• The T&D Region saw the closure of Orangeburg’s only movie theater, Camelot, after 36 years in operation and Federal-Mogul announced it would close its plant, but the year produced good news on the development front too.

The GKN Aerospace plant was selected to perform the final assembly for Boeing’s advanced-technology winglet for the 737 MAX aircraft. GKN committed itself to creating 278 new jobs and investing $38 million. Expansions were announced by Monteferro USA, Quality Model South Carolina LLC and Devro in Calhoun County.

• Karen Johnson Williams, retired chief judge of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, died on Nov. 2. She was 62.

• Orangeburg businessman Mike Carter was killed and his body was found in a burned vehicle in September. Two brothers, then-25-year-old Leroy Glover and then-23-year-old Jason Glover, were charged with murder. A jury in 2015 found Leroy Glover guilty of shooting and killing Carter. He received a life sentence. His brother was acquitted of murder but got a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to accessory after the fact of murder.

• Hunter-Kinard-Tyler High School’s football team and Lake Marion High School’s basketball team won state titles in 2013.

Next Sunday: 2014

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