In a back and forth folly of sensational emails between former Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus, select Horry County Councilmen, and County Attorney Arrigo Carotti, residents can now see firsthand what a dilemma Horry County is in concerning Judge William Seals ruling on a 1.5% hospitality fee tax the county hopes to continue collecting.
The volley of emails, leaked today to MyrtleBeachSC news, occurred on Sunday as follows.
Email sent by Mark Lazarus to Henrietta “Henri” Golding Sunday, June 30th
Councilman Vaught response
Councilman Worely – I-73 is dead, move on
Carotti – MB needs to waive $60 million claim
Vaught – Certify the funds were used appropriately
For readers who are not familiar with our news site’s coverage of this ongoing narrative: The Hospitality fee wars began earlier this Spring when the city of Myrtle Beach sued Horry County stating that the hospitality fees were being collected illegally inside the city limits of Myrtle Beach.
The Hospitality fee was established in 1997 and sun-setted in 2017. Horry County Council was chaired by Mark Lazarus at that time. Lazarus, working with county council, extended the sun-setted tax into perpetuity. His reasoning was to pay for the building of I-73.
Friday, June 21st, Judge William Seals of the 15th circuit ruled that Horry County could not collect the tax in the City of Myrtle Beach nor or among other plaintiffs in the case. These fees can not be collected as long as the lawsuit is in place and unless Horry County wins the current case.
Horry County’s, outside legal council, Henri (Henrietta) Golding informed County Council this Saturday that there were no other plaintiffs in the case.
Patrick Dowling, Public Information Officer of North Myrtle Beach told our news team, “There is no doubt in our mind that what the county is doing is illegal. We sent out a letter on Friday to all city of North Myrtle Beach businesses telling them to discontinue collecting the 1.5% hospitality tax as of Monday, July 1, 2019.“