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Tom RIce

I-73 Swampland Owner Has Local Land Ties To U.S. Congressman

In our “Big Flip” series, we told you about William H Goodwin Jr.’s local connection to Mark Lazarus, former Horry County Council Chairman.

We also told you he is connected to Business, Education, Government and Politics. Mr. Goodwin Jr. owns Riverstone Properties. He is a Virginia billionaire and rated the second most powerful man in Richmond, VA. He has a knack for buying $350 per acre swampland and later selling it to taxpayers for millions.

Today, our source highlights how connected Goodwin Jr is locally.

“Coastal Carolina University has meant a lot to the Brittain Family, especially to my late father-in-law and my mother-in-law, Clay and Patricia Brittain,” said Ann Brittain LeMay, who manages the Brittain Resorts & Hotels with Matthew Brittain, the brother of her late husband, David Brittain.
Keith Hinson serves as an Executive Committee member of the Coastal Educational Foundation Board at Coastal Carolina University. Owns Waccamaw Land & Timber
Coastal Education Foundation
Coastal Carolina Professor – Merrill Boyce.

Our source connects Goodwin’s ties to the above and the implications related to a July 2019 WMBFnews article are hard to miss. Link provided in red concerning an effort in Columbia to legalize gambling on land in Little River and along the City of Myrtle Beach coast.

State, Grand Strand leaders discuss legalizing casino-style gambling in S.C.

Our Source Writes:

PART 4 – Something awfully strange is going on in Little River


When you look at Riverstone Properties’ land holdings, there is a large cluster down in Little River. Here, I’ll show you:

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SC Watchdog
Little River Land that borders the Ocean shaded darker

That is a fair amount of property. Looks like Ole Swampy paid $6,930,000.00 for that land back in October 2000.

But he doesn’t own the whole thing. I wonder who else owns property down there?

I’ll just click on one of those parcels and do a new search.

Looks like somebody called the Coastal Education Foundation, Inc.

Let’s see how much they own down there.

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MASSEY INSURANCE
COASTAL EDUCATION FOUNDATION (CEF) land shaded darker

Wow. Between Swampy and the CEF, they own just about everything down there, especially the land that borders the ocean.

There seem to be a few properties that are not owned by Swampy or CEF. Almost all are all owned by a family with the last name of Boyce.

Remember that name.

Coastal Education Foundation, Inc.

The Coastal Education Foundation is a nonprofit founded in 1954. It is Coastal Carolina University.

On the Board of Directors sit some of the most powerful and influential people in Horry County, including a member of the Board of Directors for Burroughs & Chapin (Lawton Benton), the Director of the Horry County State Bank (Franklin Blanton), the owner of Waccamaw Land & Timber, Co. (Keith Hinson), the Co-Manager of Brittain Resorts & Hotels (Ann Brittain Lemay), a partner at Burr Forman (James B. Moore), and a professor named Merrill Boyce.

All of the above listed people serve on the Land Use Committee for CEF.

Did you catch it? I said the name Boyce. This one deserves a section all to his own.

BOYCE

It sure looks like Mr. Boyce and his family fill in the puzzle in Little River. Here is the map with properties owned by the Boyce family highlighted.

Boyce Family Land shaded darker

That just about covers the whole peninsula down in Little River.

There are just a few parcels that are not in the names of Ol’ Swampy, the CEF, or the Boyce clan.

After clicking on the parcels, we see two names: Hunter’s Point, LLC and First Island Company, LLC.

Hunter’s Point

Hunter’s Point, LLC was formed in 2006 by a lawyer in Charleston by the name of Robert Kunes. No principals were listed in the formation.

Looking at the deed history, it appears that a company called Little River Holding Company, Ltd. owned the property before the transfer to Hunter’s Point, LLC.

According to the deed, this transfer was done as a member contribution to the Hunter’s Point, LLC.

That means Little River Holding Company, Ltd. is still involved because it is a member of Hunter’s Point, LLC. I know it is confusing, but this is a trick to avoid paying transfer taxes.

This is exactly what Ol’ Swampy did with the GCREC transfers to Riverstone Properties II, LLC.

It simply gave the properties to Riverstone Properties II, LLC as a “member contribution,” and then merged Riverstone Properties II into Riverstone Properties, LLC.

What the heck did all that mean?

It means that in all of these transactions, Ol’ Swampy never paid taxes on his transfers as a seller.

The transfers from GCREC to Riverstone Properties II were exempt as member contributions. The transfer to Riverstone Properties were exempt because it was obtained through a merger.

The big payoff to Riverstone Properties on the Legends, Buist and Congaree Tracts? All exempt because it was the government buying the property.

Ol’ Swampy got himself some good lawyers.

Back to Boyce.

Is there a connection to Hunter’s Point. LLC?

Yep. Let’s look at Mink Island. It’s labeled in the map above. Mink Island is an excellent demonstration of the incestuous relationships intermingling in Little River.

Back in 1982, it was owned by Kitty Lou Tilghman and others.

It got moved into a trust, which listed Merrill Boyce as a trustee, and was eventually sold to the Coastal Educational Foundation along with all the other Little River properties owned by CEF, for a $500,000.00 in 1992.

Guess when Merrill Boyce was placed on the CEF Board of Directors?

1992.
So why does Merrill Boyce matter? Who is he connected to beyond the powerful folks on the CEF Board?

That takes a little more digging, but what you find is important.

First Island Company, LLC

The last piece of land in the Little River area is owned by First Island Company.

It is a piece of Bird Island (to the east of Mink Island) that borders North Carolina.

Mr. Boyce has a vita on the CEF website. In that vita, he lists his non-academic experience.

The first entry is “Managing Partner, First Island Company (2012 – Present), Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.”

It says “managing partner” which necessarily implies he has at least one other partner in the business.

Who could it be?

The records are unclear, but there is a man that is most assuredly associated with First Island Company.

This man formed the LLC in 2002 (Merrill Boyce listed his address in California at that time) and remains the agent for service of process for First Island Company, LLC to this day.

Perhaps this guy was the managing partner before Merrill took over that role in 2012?

No way to really tell the extent of this guy’s involvement, but the dates might give us a clue.

You see, in 2012, this guy got a new job with a lot of scrutiny and forms to file with the government.

So maybe there was a reason Professor Boyce had to take a new leadership role in 2012.

Are you curious about who this guy is? I’ve attached the articles of organization from the original formation of First Island Company, LLC and the current agent for service of process for First Island Company, LLC for your reading enjoyment.

We made it all the way to Washington, DC!

Tom RIce
Hugh Thompson Rice Jr. is the U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 7th congressional district. Elected to the 113th Congress in November 2012

Wow.

Now what does this all mean?

Is this corruption or just highly connected people working with highly connected people?

Your guess is as good as mine.

When you google Ol’ Swampy, you find accolade after accolade. He is the closest thing to a saint in Virginia if you read what the politicians say about him in official resolutions in the Virginia legislature. Would a guy like that, with all that money, engage in any kind of back room deals or improper contributions to politicians?

Back to Ol’ Swampy

In Virginia, the former governor got in a heap of trouble for taking gifts in exchange for political favors.

He was convicted in Virginia, but the US Supreme Court overturned the conviction and the Department of Justice decided not to try him again.

During the investigation of Governor McConnell, the feds found that Ol’ Swampy paid $23,000.00 for the Governor’s family vacation at Kiawah Island, SC.

Geez, and I thought Disney World was expensive. The link below is an article written about the hub-bub.

McDonnell failure to disclose Goodwin gift could bolster prosecution’s case

The Article Reads:

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s failure to disclose a $23,000 vacation covered by the University of Virginia’s vice rector could be used to demonstrate that undisclosed gifts from another wealthy businessman were no accident, according to federal court records.

Referenced in the latest flurry of court filings by prosecutors in the ex-governor’s corruption case, the May 2012 trip to the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina funded by UVa Vice Rector William H. Goodwin Jr. is cited as just one example of other undisclosed gifts. The McDonnell scandal so far largely has been confined to him and his wife, Maureen, and former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr. Both McDonnell and his wife have been charged in the case.

William H. Goodwin Jr. in 2014. Photo – The Daily Progress


stay tuned ……..

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About David Hucks

Born in 1961, David is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area.David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

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