Meet the new boss…

January 26, 2017

Inside Insight, Uncategorized

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Senator Hugh Leatherman

Same as the old boss

In the course of several minutes Wednesday afternoon, while normal South Carolinians were eating their lunches or petting their pets or just doing their jobs, state senator Hugh Leatherman was the senate president pro tempore, the most powerful state position, and then he wasn’t, and then he was again.

It’s a job that was worth holding onto.

The senate president pro tem appoints members to the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which distributes hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars for road projects. Leatherman, the senator from Florence, appoints himself to it.

“From the start of 2010 through March of this year, the Infrastructure Bank made a total of 642 payments to Florence County … which represented nearly 19 percent of the total 3,413 total payments made by the bank during the period,” The Nerve found in a 2015 report. “No other public agency or private company or individual came close to the number of payments made to Florence County.”

The state of South Carolina has been very generous over the years to Leatherman — so begins a 2013 Nerve report by Rick Brundrett, which goes on to detail more than $30 million in state funding that flowed from the Department of Transportation to Leatherman’s company, Florence Concrete products. Leatherman chairs the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee, which holds sway over DOT’s budget.

And you know those blue SC highway signs that display business logos near exits?

road sign restaurants

They belong to South Carolina Logos Inc., a subsidiary of Lamar Advertising. The director of governmental affairs at Lamar’s Columbia office is John Hardee, who is also a DOT commissioner — and Leatherman’s son-in-law.

Perhaps not altogether coincidentally, Leatherman, his wife, Jean, and associated LLCs have owned more than $2 million of real estate in Florence County that went officially undisclosed.

What’s more, Leatherman’s Florence concrete company has operated as a “disadvantaged business enterprise,” a designation designed to assist minority businesses “at a social and economic disadvantage” by requiring that 10 percent of all federal contracts through the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Transit Administration go to contractors and businesses certified as DBEs.

“Since March 1, 2012, when Leatherman’s company first obtained DBE status by virtue of having a female president, Florence Concrete has received $1.9 million in funds that otherwise would have gone to minority businesses more fully meeting the spirit, not just the letter, of the DBE program,” The Nerve found in 2015.

So it’s no surprise that Leatherman only momentarily resigned his presidency yesterday. He did it to avoid having to ascend to the vacated lieutenant governor’s office, a much less powerful position — and then, as the senate voted, 28-16, to make him president pro tem for the second time in a month, it was back to business as usual.












  • Shelley Lester Fentress

    Maybe we should plan a march….so many people forget that the state government affects you more than the federal government day in and day out.

    • Robert Meyerowitz

      OK, but maybe not with the pink hats…

  • Robert Meyerowitz
  • cnb

    I don’t understand why he was able to get away with this scheme. He clearly knew this was unethical. What a mess we have in Columbia.

    • Robert Meyerowitz

      He was able to do it chiefly because 27 other senators helped.


    At least Peeler tried to stop him.
    Now we know exactly who these 28 thieves are and can target them for removal. The Nerve should publish their names.

    • Robert Meyerowitz

      We posted them here in the comments, if that helps.

      • ELCID

        Thanks, I missed them below

        • ELCID

          John Courson needs to go.

          His string gerrymandered district lines to St. Andrews need to be redrawn. They are an outrage and the people in St. Andrews never see him show up at any of the local meetings in our area. He’s pretty much worthless to us. But, we are the only people keeping him in office. That will now change.

  • Ibanez

    Why isn’t the Ethics Committee stepping in for his actions. Leatherman blatantly refused SOP. Clearly resigned, therefore should not be eligible to be a candidate, much less hold the exact legislative position only moments later. This is a disgrace! It’s clear there are multiple conflicts of interests with his businesses, nepotism and “working” the “system”, code of laws, and “Good ‘ol BOY system”. Absolutely stress BOY, purposely, MEN do not behave this way! Typical characteristics of CHEATS and BOYS!

  • Philip Branton

    What is so utterly disgusting is the fact that SLED, FBI, CIA, NSA and homeland security are all sitting back and allowing this jackal to get away with these unethical actions that the agents themselves must adhere too. How many of these very agents have served in uniform to protect this type of politician? As a civil servant….. I am appalled for the taxpayers and men and women in uniform I serve. This jackal will pimp a billion or more to Boeing without a voter referendum while probably knowing it would be used as collateral to finance Iranian jets sales..? While the optics of this is rather grim … We all know it is much worse. Does any intelligence official in our state dare wonder to themselves how all those corporate ads on those blue signs determine what really gets printed in our states media? How verifiable is the info on this website and comment section..?

    Someone had better squeeze some…. Juice for…… “fiasco” Pascoe.

  • Philip Branton

    Dear Citadel Cadets in Professor Riley’s class,

    How would you use this article to ask Professor Riley how this type of un-ethical optics would be used to ferrett operatives in Nigeria to display good faith? Would cash payments to politicians like Hugh be tolerated without full real-time disclosure.? Cadets we hope you do your full due diligence in questioning Mayor Riley. Great lessons can be learned for your future on the battlefield and in the Pentagon.

  • Ralph Rube

    Head over to his Facebook page and sound off… He is active on the page and right now it looks like all butterflies and rainbows in his comment section there.

    • Jonathan Woods

      I think he is deleting anything negative as nothing seems to show up.

  • Confederate Cowboy

    Time for a noose and tall tree

  • Gail Williams-Patterson

    This is not new information though. Exactly why I didn’t vote for him. I guess the information is not as widely known as I thought. Just as we have to replace Lindsey Graham in DC, we also have to replace our state politicians, as well. I hope everyone will remember this come election time.

  • Jonathan Woods

    I did go to his account. I read all the comments and Facebook only showed 25 of 51 which pretty much tells the story.

  • Philip Branton

    Dear Jason Payne, (the new accountant for the Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester Council of Governments)

    Hello there, we wanted to make sure you read this article here to get a slimmer and glimpse of what you are up against. You are being brought in for a reason. Dare to wonder how tax incentive accounting from the lowcountry was used by Hugh Leatherman to pimp over a billion in tax incentives to Boeing while probably knowing they were going to use it as collateral to finance BOEING jets to Iran…? Jason you may want to review just what Hugh has oversight on and what committees he chairs. If he can ask certain business interests to outright cough up lobby money then what do you think he is going to ask YOU to do in your accounting department..? LOOK out……I’m warning you before you even get started.

    Now Jason…you need to really go back and review how certain accounting Solicitor “fiasco” Pascoe is using to try to fry a few small fishing lures for his own political future instead of actually boiling a huge BOEING “whale” that is the real “catch”. Just get a map Jason and look at our entire state. How would Elon Musk change building codes to harness the rooftops of every home to power his cars..? How many jobs would that create.? Can you account for that..? How many gallons of blood has been used to protect fossil oil in other countries compared to the cost of gallons of blood for Lithium Mines..? What does that accounting tell you..? Dare to ask how big oil accounts for Hugh Leatherman..?

    Jason, …..just take time and send the Nerve a follow up text or email to just say “hi” and see if they even care to call you back..?

    Jason… did Elliott Ness use an accountant..?

  • Myrtle Beach

    Leatherman and Rankin are a cancer in our system.