My sister had recent occasion to visit the small town of Hampton, South Carolina. This fantastic article reinforces the maxim of stakes being small in local politics. Allegations include embezzlement, forgery and violence:
VARNVILLE - In one of the most financially strapped towns in Hampton County, questions have arisen concerning whether Mayor Henry Fields, Jr. charged excessive amounts of gasoline to Varnville taxpayers for personal use, or if there is a very busy forger in town.What of the allegations of some kind of physical violence?
Multiple sources have alleged that Fields has been charging costly amounts of fuel to the town for personal use, including the transporting of a family member to school at USC Beaufort twice a week.
Town fuel receipts, obtained last week after The Guardian presented a S.C. Freedom of Information Act request, show what appears to be Fields' signature on charges totaling close to $2,000 over the past 10 months.
Fields denies those are his charges and denies any wrongdoing.
"That's a damn lie, and I mean it. I'll put my hand on any Bible and I'll swear to it on my momma. I've been on Council going on 25 years and I've never stole from the damn town and I never will. That's the God and Heaven truth."
During a Tuesday interview with The Guardian, Fields said that morning was the first time he has seen those gas receipts or the newspaper's FOIA request. Yet during open session of the May Town Council meeting Fields discussed the request with Councilman Adam Major and said "I don't like it, but we've got to give it to them."
Fields claimed he is the victim of a conspiracy.
"It's a damn conspiracy ... Somebody is trying to railroad me and I've got an idea who it is ... There's a bunch of people around here that got grudges against me, and one councilman, too, I know that for a fact ... Why they're trying to hurt me and bring me down I don't know. There's nothing I did wrong ... I'm going to get me a lawyer and get behind this ... This is a damn bunch of bull and I'm very upset about it."
Fields added that he did not sign all of those gas tickets and that it was the work of a forger.
"My only regret is that I didn't run over his a--," said Fields. "But I probably would have went to jail."My word. Anything else?
In an unrelated matter, a SLED spokesperson confirmed last week that the agency is investigating another matter pertaining to the Town of Varnville, but would not elaborate.The whole article is pretty fun.