At least 1 S.C. State board member likely to be indicted today

A long-awaited public corruption case involving South Carolina State University (campus pictured above) will take its first steps forward today with at least one current or former member of the school’s board of trustees likely being indicted. Buy this photo

ORANGEBURG — A long-awaited public corruption case involving South Carolina State University will take its first steps forward today with at least one current or former member of the school’s board of trustees likely being indicted.

Today’s hearings

The first will be held at 11 a.m. at the Hollings Judicial Center and federal courthouse in Charleston, before U.S. District Judge David C. Norton.

The second will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Matthew J. Perry federal courthouse in Columbia, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph R. McCrorey.

Hearings on the case will be held in Charleston and Columbia, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said at least one current or former member of the university’s board will be indicted in the case, which has been in the works for months.

In March, Reggie Lloyd, a lawyer hired by the university and former chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, said the university was involved in a criminal investigation, but he did not specify the nature of that investigation.

University and law enforcement officials have not released any specific information since Lloyd’s announcement.

Lloyd stopped working for the university in the spring, said board Chairman Walter Tobin.

Lloyd was largely done with an internal investigation that resulted in eight employees being fired, and the board didn’t want to continue spending money for his work, Tobin said.

The university’s board met behind closed doors for less than an hour Wednesday to receive legal advice.

Tobin said the board simply was being told that hearings would be held today, but he and other board members still don’t know what will be revealed at those hearings.

He will comment at a 5 p.m. press conference today on the campus of S.C. State in Orangeburg.

Tobin said he has not been approached by federal officials for an interview or information related to the case.

Two hearings will be held today in the case, one in Charleston and one in Columbia, according to a news release from Nettles. The release did not state the names of people who would appear.

The state’s only public historically black university has been in turmoil in recent years, especially in the past year.

Four members of the school’s board have stepped down in the past year.

Jonathan Pinson, the group’s former chairman, resigned in December. School officials said Pinson wanted to spend more time with his family.

Other board members who stepped down recently are Walter Johnson and Matthew Richardson, both of whom resigned in April, and Lancelot Wright, who resigned in May.

The school this year also has faced a budget shortfall of nearly $6 million, and enrollment fell short by nearly 500 students.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich, and Stephen Largen at 864-641-8172.

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