Sunday Commentary sent by a local reader, concerned about Horry County politics in general
Something is Rotten in Horry County
The citizens of Horry County are faced with a decision on Tuesday regarding the fate of state Senator, Luke Rankin. Mr. Rankin has spent the last week in the mud, spreading the personal details of John Gallman’s divorce everywhere he can. Of course, the details of Mr. Rankin’s divorce are sealed away, protected from such attacks. That doesn’t mean people don’t know what happened in that divorce. They do. And some of them will tell you what they know.
And it is far, far worse than the mainstream media-planted articles being spread about John Gallman.
But I will not get down into the same cesspool as Rankin and his cronies. I will not publicize the salacious details of Rankins’ private divorce. I have a modicum of class.
However, the truly nefarious acts of Rankin are out in the open for everyone to see. Let’s take a look:
Rankin Campaign Gets Nasty With Cloned Facebook Page
Once a trial lawyer, ……
Rankin is a trial lawyer. A card carrying member of the SC Trail Lawyers Association (now known as SC Association for Justice). We all know there are few groups more liberal and leftist than the trial lawyers. He claims to be a conservative, but maybe we should look at who is pushing the hardest for Rankin to stay in power.
The trial lawyers.
We have heard from trusted sources that the runoff sent the trial lawyers into high gear to save their white knight (Rankin) from being unseated.
Why would the trial lawyers want a supposed right wing republican to stay in power? Because he is the chair of the judiciary committee. He can make sure plaintiff friendly judges get elected, and he can make sure that any tort reform bill dies in committee. Without Rankin, the trial lawyers will take a hit to their pocket books. Saint Luke will never allow that to happen.
The Chamber, Chambergate, and Shep Guyton
Everyone remembers Chambergate and its fallout. Everyone should remember that Rankin was our Senator at the time and actually wrote the TDF bill that handed the Chamber more than $30 million a year. Everyone should remember that Robert “Shep” Guyton was charged with 167 ethics violations that occurred the very same year the TDF bill was passed into law.
So Guyton got disbarred or put in jail, right? Nope.
Guyton finally plead guilty to all 167 violations in January 2019. Yes, it took 10 years to get the truth. Who chaired the ethics committee? Who was the most powerful politician in Horry County during those 10 years of delay and inaction? Luke Rankin.
Well, at least Guyton got punished by the South Carolina Bar, right?
It has been 15 months since he admitted to 167 ethics violation. There has been no reprimand, suspension, or even a hint of an investigation of Guyton by the Bar’s ethics police, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. How can a lawyer admit to 167 ethics violations and not even be investigated by the office whose only purpose is to investigate ethics violations? The current head of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel is John Nichols. Do you know what he used to do?
He was the President of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers.
Lane Jefferies and Henrietta Golding
This news outlet reported on the ongoing litigation in Horry County and federal court regarding the son in law of Supreme Court Justice Kay Hearn. The court pleadings speak for themselves, but the allegations are serious. In fact, one filing accused Jefferies of committing perjury in a deposition. I read the response filed by Jefferies. He never addresses the accused perjury. Not once.
But Jefferies is establishing quite a reputation for himself. He made a national legal blog dedicated to bad lawyers with his ridiculous email tag line. Really, go look it up. https://abovethelaw.com/2019/10/lawyer-makes-gambit-for-most-self-important-of-them-all-with-obnoxious-email-signature/ He was sanctioned by Judge Robert Hood in Richland County for lying to opposing counsel and at least two judges. Read the Order for yourself. Judge Hood specifically held the following:
Plaintiff’s counsel acted with bad faith, willful disobedience, and gross negligence during this case. Plaintiff’s Complaint is hereby dismissed with prejudice.
Lane Jefferies was Plaintiff’s Counsel. How can a lawyer be found to have acted “with bad faith, willful disobedience, and gross negligence” and not face any consequences? Lane Jefferies continues to practice law to this very day. The South Carolina Bar has done NOTHING about Lane Jefferies. NOTHING. Yet, another lawyer who made it to Above the Law just last week had his license taken away for calling George Floyd a “shitstain” on Facebook. So its ok to act in bad faith and willful disobedience to the court, but if you are a jerk on Facebook, you have gone too far!
Or is something else afoot?
Henrietta Golding is Lane Jefferies’ former boss and co-defendant in the civil RICO case filed by West Town Bank. In that RICO complaint, the evidence of trust theft is laid out with great specificity. Read the complaint yourself. It alleges that money from a lawyer’s trust account was improperly taken or withheld by Henrietta Golding. It also alleges that when her law firm was informed of the trust theft, they simply cut a check to cover the missing money. That sure seems like an admission of guilt to me.
Here is the thing. Messing with a trust account is the worst thing a lawyer can do. Lawyers I talked to told me that it is an automatic interim suspension if you mess with trust money.
But Henrietta Golding is untouched. No interim suspension. No reprimand. No indication of even an investigation.
How does this happen? Or better yet, NOT happen?
Well, let’s look and see who in this mess is a trial lawyer: Henrietta Golding? Yes. Lane Jefferies? Yes. George Hearn? Yes. Kay Hearn? She was a trial lawyer when she was in private practice. It certainly appears that the trial lawyers get a free pass so long as Luke Rankin is there to protect them. In the words of my granddaddy, “this just stank.”
On Tuesday, you can vote for real change or you can vote for Stankin’ Rankin, the King Trial Lawyer making sure the swamp stays just the way the liberal trial lawyers want it. Don’t call your self a conservative if you vote for Stankin Rankin. Call your self a trial lawyer accessory.