As SkyDive Myrtle Beach was founded by a “red blooded” Military Veteran, he recognized a shake down when he spotted one…
The thrill attraction SkyDive Myrtle Beach has remained on every Myrtle Beach tourist’s adventure must do bucket list for the past few years.
Millennials love it as do Gen Xer’s and Baby Boomers. In fact it has been one of the most popular and profitable attractions at CRE Grand Strand Airport.
Here is just a snapshot of a few reviews we found on TripAdvisor.com
Locals and tourists alike are asking why Myrtle Beach area officials, including county councilman Mark Lazarus, worked so hard to shut down one of our most popular area attractions while, at the same time, spending thousands of local tax dollars chasing after Chinese Investors to bring a Chinese Cultural Center attraction into our area?
Mayor Rhodes and County Councilman Mark Lazarus just recently returned from a 16 day trip to China where they have promised to bring in $100 million in Chinese investments to our county to build a Chinese Culture Center. In their press conference after returning, Council Chair Lazarus was famously quoted: “In a global economy, we are attached in a lot of ways to China,” Lazarus said. “And I believe that in the future, for our children, it’s going to be great if we have an opportunity for our children to learn Mandarin, to learn international commerce, because we’re going to have to deal with that.”
What the owners of SkyDive Myrtle Beach have had to deal with is what is commonly referred to as the Myrtle Beach Handshake. Owners of the SuperBlock know it only too well.
In a late February article, MyrtleBeachSC.com explained how City Council, working through a self created board known as the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation began to squeeze local downtown merchants requesting a new Mid Tax for the downtown area. This is a tax local corporation Burroughs and Chapin supports so as to funnel millions of Chinese investments into the downtown area for a complete takeover of that area running out many current small business operators.
In short, this is what SkyDive Myrtle Beach learned about our area and its elected officials.
The CRE Airport had been managed by a private enterprise Hanger 66 with no issues and smooth sailing as long as that group was in charge. However, when Horry County and its elected crew took over, SkyDive Myrtle Beach was informed the county would now be expecting an additional 24% of the revenues produced by the attraction. Downtown Merchants in the city of Myrtle Beach are only too familiar with this approach.
As SkyDive Myrtle Beach was founded by a “red blooded” Military Veteran named Aaron Holly, however, he recognized a shake down when he spotted one and balked on paying the new fees [taxes]. “I simply wanted to invest in the Myrtle Beach area and create an attraction that my team knew would be popular and one that would add value to the area,” said Holly.
Holly had no idea at the time of his investment that South Carolina has now become the 3rd most politically corrupt state in America and that Horry County was the most politically corrupt county in the state. “They are forcing small business owners out in a county wide takeover courting the Peoples Republic of China’s investors,” said one Super Block Business Owner who asked his name kept confidential for fear of reprisals.
County Council Chairman Lazarus has a well documented past association with his Legislative Policy Council position he holds on the board of the controversial Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. This highly connected group works in concert through County Government and City Government to decide what businesses will be winners or losers in the Myrtle Beach area marketplace.
In July 2010, the FBI and IRS each investigated the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber in relations to $324,000 of sequentially numbered cashiers checks handed out by Chamber C.E.O. Brad Dean to area politicians in order to successfully get a now 1% tourist tax passed. After the tax passed and began bringing in $30 million annually to the Chamber and its members, the local paper questioned Lazarus as to how some of the funds handed out were written on a firm he owned. The Sun News local paper wrote and we quote: Mark Lazarus, a former Horry County councilman and a partner in one of [Shep] Guyton’s corporation, told The Sun News last year that the corporation had no money to make political donations. “I have no idea where the money came from and I absolutely did not approve of this,” Lazarus said.
The matter of these contributions are still under FBI investigation today.
Lazarus is the lead partner in an attraction of his own, Wild Water & Wheels located in Surfside Beach, S.C. In its recent past history, Wild Water & Wheels required a capital infusion and partnership with Sands Resorts of Myrtle Beach. Sands Resorts is a collection of several Oceanfront Hotels in the Myrtle Beach area. This partnership has provided Wild Water & Wheels guaranteed and preferred traffic from the Sands Resort group.
After SkyDive Myrtle Beach refused to pay the ranson, Horry County began what the owners of the attraction believe are trumped up allegations of unsafe practices by the company. Lazarus’ team has a history here as well. Over 32,000 former tourists boycotted the Myrtle Beach area last year after Horry County Council and Myrtle Beach City Council passed a beach tent ban claiming that the tents were unsafe for Ambulance protections needed for emergencies on the beachfront. The group, however, produced no evidence of any previous rescues on the beach that were impeded by beach tents. The ban passed unanimously.
As for now tourists will simply have to hope that SkyDive Myrtle Beach can get literally back off the ground through the South Carolina court system. The matter is now under challenge in court.
As we believe this issue shows a pattern of corrupt and lawless behavior by both City Council and County Council, MyrtleBeachSC.com will be highlighting the issues in that case over the next few weeks.