Ethics Panel Rules Mayor Properly Reported Trip

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The State Ethics Commission says Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin properly filed his statement of economic interest from a business trip to Florida in 2010.

The commission made their decision at a hearing Wednesday morning.

The all expenses paid trip happened in December 2010, as Benjamin traveled to that meeting on a developer's private jet. Details of the trip were made public during the recent federal corruption trial of Jonathan Pinson.

Pinson is the former chairman of the South Carolina State University board of Trustees. He was convicted on 29 federal counts, including racketeering. Previous Coverage:Ex SC State Trustee Guilty on 29 Counts

Benjamin maintained that the trip was personal business, not involving any dealings connected with the city. State law requires disclosure of trips made that involvement government business. Previous Coverage:Mayor Responds to Claims Made During Trial

Benjamin released the following statement after the hearing:

"The South Carolina Ethics Commission's unanimous decision has concluded what I have always maintained: that I complied with the law. I respect their decision and the rule of law.

"At the end of the day I'm proud of the fact that when faced with wild speculation and innuendo we stood up for the facts and, when it was over, the truth won out.

"I am deeply humbled and grateful by the support I've received from my family, friends and the people of Columbia as we continue to move forward in serving them and making our city the very best it can be."


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