Advertisement

Richland County councilwoman was indicted 3 years ago. No action has been taken since

It’s been three years this month since former Richland County Councilwoman Dalhi Myers was indicted on charges of misusing taxpayer funds during her four years on the council.

A raft of charges against the former councilwoman carried a potential sentence of more than 20 years in prison, The State reported at the time.

But since a courtroom appearance for her arraignment in December 2020, no apparent action has been taken on the case. A court official told a reporter from The State this week that nothing has been filed in the case since January 2021.

The State has reached out to the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting Myers’ case, and Columbia attorney Deborah Barbier, who represented Myers in her initial court appearance.

Barbier declined to comment on behalf of Myers. But when asked about the delay, Barbier said “the solicitor and the attorney general’s office, they control the docket. They have exclusive right to call a case whenever they feel like it.”

Myers, who served on the county council from 2016 to 2020, faces 24 charges that include misconduct in office, use of official position for personal gain, embezzlement, writing a fraudulent check, and use of campaign funds for personal expenses. Most of the indictments allege she used county taxpayer money for personal use.

The majority of the charges come from trips Myers took between 2018 and 2019 using a county credit card, according to the indictment.

In February 2019, she used her county credit card for a week-long personal trip to Greece, the indictment said. She paid for a plane ticket, hotels, restaurant bills and other purchases with taxpayer money.

During Myers’ arraignment in 2020, prosecutor Creighton Waters told a judge that before her trip to Greece, Myers flew through Newark, New Jersey, “so she could stalk Magic Johnson and Richard Seymour,” Waters said. Johnson is a retired NBA all-star and Seymour, a Lower Richland High School graduate, played for the NFL’s New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders.

Myers’ indictments follow an investigation by The State earlier in 2020 that revealed the potential misuse of county credit card funds, including Myers spending thousands on a trip to Greece, department stores and at Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

When the newspaper initially submitted a request for the spending records, Myers attempted to repay the county for the expenses by writing a $27,000 check. She allegedly wrote the check even though she didn’t have that much money in her account. That check subsequently bounced twice, prosecutors allege.

Myers was indicted after she had already lost a Democratic primary to Cheryl English, but she was still suspended by Gov. Henry McMaster for the final few weeks of her term of office.

Myers isn’t the only member of Richland County Council to be in trouble from that time. Former Councilwoman Gwendolyn Kennedy was convicted of more than a hundred ethics violations brought by the state Ethics Commission earlier this year. The violations were not criminal charges.

Kennedy was fined $300,000 in September for misusing her position for financial gain, including separate charges for each instance where the Ethics Commission found she made inappropriate charges on the taxpayer-funded card she was issued as a county council member. The card was meant to be used for expenses related to her public duties, but the commission found Kennedy had used the card for personal expenses, in some cases asking for reimbursements from the county for purchases she had already made using county funds.

She also faced accusations of misusing her campaign accounts from her run for public office, making illegal expenditures and maintaining two separate campaign accounts in violation of state law. Before her conviction, Kennedy already faced $13,000 in fines for previous non-compliance with the ethics board’s decisions.

Myers won election to Richland County Council in 2016, after former Councilman Kelvin Washington was removed by then-Gov. Nikki Haley when Washington pleaded guilty to failure to pay taxes.