Clemson City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night with one noticeable absence — suspended member Elouise James.
Gov. Mark Sanford suspended James, arrested in September on criminal charges resulting from a joint investigation conducted by the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and SLED over several months, late Friday afternoon. The executive order said the suspension, effective immediately, came following James’ Oct. 20 indictment by a Pickens County Grand Jury and South Carolina law regarding fraud.
James was charged in September with two counts of obtaining goods by false pretenses and one count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult in Pickens County and two counts of forgery and one count of obstruction of Justice in Greenville County.
“Essentially, Elouise James still holds her City Council seat,” said Rodney Allen, director of Registrations and Elections in Pickens County, when asked to explain the suspension. “However, she has been relieved of her powers and responsibilities of the office until she is either found guilty or acquitted.”
Clemson Mayor Larry Abernathy, seated next to the placard displaying James’ name, said on Monday night he was “very, very sad” about the governor’s decision.
“I don’t believe it diminishes Mrs. James’ contribution to the council or her commitment to the city,” Abernathy said.
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