Councilman Wayne Gray Affair Reported As An “Open Secret”
Reports from the Carver Street community in Myrtle Beach of an ongoing affair between City Councilman Wayne Gray and the C.E.O. of the Boy and Girls Club of the Grand Strand were met with little fanfare this week.
Community members and local residents described the relationship as an “open secret.”
Residents and youth of the Racepath neighborhood in Myrtle Beach count on the Boys and Girls Club, however, for the programs and support the “not-for-profit” does in the community. That organization has requested an expected grant of $60,000 from the city of Myrtle Beach at next Tuesday and Wednesday’s city budget planning meeting. All reports indicate the organization does great work in the local community.
MyrtleBeachSC.com reached out to Girls and Boys Club Of The Grand Strand board member William “Bill” Saunders this week to see how the board planned to respond to any conflicts of interest that might develop as a result of this request and the relationship between Mr. Gray and the C.E.O. of the Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Saunders owns Southeastern Land Company, Inc. (SLC). On the company’s website, the company states Southeastern Land Company is an easement acquisition and project management firm specializing in obtaining rights-of-way and easements for utilities, municipal, county and state governments, as well as the telecommunication and cable industry.
Key projects listed on Mr. Saunders’ site include:
The City of Myrtle Beach
Reach 2 of the Corps of Engineers Beach Renourishment Project
Booker T. Washington Neighborhood Storm Water Drainage Project (HUD)
Withers Swash Storm Water Drainage Project
Downtown Revitalization Traffic Signal Project
Mr. Saunders never returned our several calls to his company.
We also reached out to key members of the community which would be at risk concerning the revelations of this affair. Many stated “off the record” that this was 2017, affairs were quite common and a private matter. They also expressed a need to protect the reputation of Councilman Gray as he has done so much in that community. Mr. Gray does have a close connection to Raymond Sessions, a basketball player with the NBA Charlotte Hornets. The Boys and Girls Club website states that Mr. Sessions recently made a $100,000 donation to the organization. Some, in that community, have given much credit to Councilman Gray for encouraging that donation.
MyrtleBeachSC.com also reached out to the Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, City Councilmen Randal Wallace, Mike Lowder, Mike Chestnut, Mary Jeffcoat, and Councilman Phil Render. All chose not to comment.
Residents of old Pine Lakes and Pine Lakes communities also told our news team that the affair was an ongoing “open secret” among those in government we had previously reached out to.
We were asked not to run this article out of respect to Councilman Gray’s reputation repeatedly by those connected and associated with local Myrtle Beach city government.
We chose to run this story today because of a pattern of secrecy in local government from among those that local residents and merchants have elected to lead us. Recently, we reported on the following email:
After months of closed-door city council sessions, and what merchants described as city government bullying and harassment, the above email (sent by Mr. Gray) revealed that the city of Myrtle Beach intended to purchase valuable property in the Myrtle Beach Superblock. Mayor Rhodes later announced the city intends to build a public library at that location. Long-standing local merchants and residents have stated publicly that they felt mislead, deceived and betrayed by the process and methods used by the City Manager, Mayor, and this city council.
Myrtle Beach, as a city, less than two generations past was led by business leaders who strongly believed in secret societies. Those facts are well documented.
Also well documented are patterns of this same ongoing behavior by Councilman Gray, hidden by the local media and hidden by those councilmen around him for decades. Locals tell us peers in city council should care for Mr. Gray’s well-being and health if they are truly his friends. Highly regarded psychologist Alex Lickerman has written well-published articles concerning the dangers of keeping secrets. You can read one of his publications by clicking the link of his name here.
In “Why should the public care about a politician’s private life?” MPR press, has done perhaps the best job of seeing all sides of the issues concerning a politician’s life as to what should be private and what is public. We recommend all read the statements posted there.
At MyrtleBeachSC.com we write often about local government and the desire for transparent local government. When Myrtle Beach City Council hands out grants, it is our tax dollars they are spending. As such, local residents are beginning to demand greater transparency in how Myrtle Beach city government operates.
One local from the Racepath community expressed it this way, “Issues that surround downtown Myrtle Beach redevelopment, tourist tax expenditures, addressing beachfront bacteria concerns, Chinese financing, and lowering our city-wide crime rate are all touchpoints to encouraging the most transparent city government possible in Myrtle Beach, S.C.,” sadly this well-regarded resident asked his name not be reported for fear of retaliation from city government.
Such is the Myrtle Beach of 2017 that we are all inheriting.