Mike Wooten, commission expired, resigns
By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Mike Wooten resigned his post today, ending a controversial tenure on the board.
John Hardee, the commission’s vice-chairman, confirmed Wooten’s departure.
Wooten, who runs an engineering firm in Myrtle Beach, was elected by the state legislature to the commission four years ago. His commission expired on February 15. The law allowed him to serve another six months before his seat would be declared vacant.
Governor Henry McMaster could have appointed Wooten to a second term, but his office had taken no action.
The governor now will have to name a new commissioner, to be confirmed by members of the legislature. Wooten represented the Seventh Congressional District, encompassing Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, and Marlboro counties.
Speaking today to The South Strand News, in Georgetown, Wooten said he was leaving for business reasons: A new law taking effect July 1 “basically states that commissioners cannot apply for permits from SCDOT. So, if I stayed on the commission, I would have to abandon my business and I am certainly not willing to do that.”
The Nerve reported on Wooten and DOT permits obtained by his firm in 2015.
Last year, The Nerve obtained emails showing that Wooten had “used his position to have DOT staff and elected officials pressure a local government entity engaged in a dispute with an agency over a $1 million contract of which Wooten’s firm” — DDC Engineers — “was a subcontractor.” Further reporting showed that Wooten’s firm, as a subcontractor, had benefited from projects that DOT helped to fund.
The law states that it is unlawful for a commissioner to ask or solicit, directly or indirectly, any money, contract, or other thing of value.