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Judge Sides With County in Supreme Court Hospitality Tax Settlement

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The Honorable William H Seals, Jr.  filed his approval of the settlement that went as far as the S.C. Supreme Court before it was decided.

Seals is an at-large judge for the South Carolina Circuit Courts. He was elected to the court by the South Carolina General Assembly on February 11, 2009.

On Tuesday Seals ruled in favor of Horry County’s settlement distribution proposal. The City of Myrtle Beach desired to pay as much as $6 million in legal fees to connected and crony lawyers who worked for the city on the complaint. How the group worked up a $6 million tax payer paid tab was never explained by the City of Myrtle Beach.

As WMBFNews reports: The city of Myrtle Beach wanted to split the money between the municipalities and the South Carolina Bar Foundation 50-50, while Horry County argued that the municipalities would split $18 million, with $1 million set aside for documented claims and none would go to the South Carolina Bar Foundation.

“The court finds that while the South Carolina Bar Foundation has laudable goals including low cost or no cost legal representation, the Hospitality Fee in this case was paid by tourists, vacationers, and residents alike with the expectation that the moneys would be used only for tourism related purposes,” according to the Seals’ court filing.

The court documents go on to state that having 100% of the settlement money going to participating municipalities, such as North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach, would create $13.9 million in positive economic impact for the community.

“Thus, providing the money to the Participating Municipalities rather than the South Carolina Bar Foundation would have a significant economic impact in Horry County and would support more jobs, add more payroll, and increase total economic activity and economic benefit for all,” according to the judge’s ruling.

Horry County, Myrtle Beach … by WMBF News

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David Hucks 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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