The issue of improprieties and possible ethics violations by unidentified Charleston County Aviation Authority members may not be dead after all.
Aviation Authority Chairman Andy Savage said this week he is re-evaluating the situation after Sue Stevens told him about a possible new breach July 23, while meeting with him about her decision to resign as executive director.
Savage, who had launched and closed his own probe, is now considering whether to request an outside investigation.
“At least one of the allegations is new to me,” Savage said. It involves “a campaign contribution” to a board member, he said.
“The concern I have is: Is it an improper campaign contribution?” he said.
Savage declined to elaborate about the nature or recipient of the donation, but he said he didn’t think “it’s appropriate” to bring in the State Law Enforcement Division.
“I could ask for a review by the Ethics Commission or some other state agency,” Savage said,
Six of the airport’s 13 board members are elected officials.
Stevens is stepping down after seven years in the top staff job and after 26 years with the authority, which operates Charleston International and the county’s two smaller airports.
In a letter to board members July 29, she called her working conditions “intolerable” and said: “I ... can no longer turn my head to what appear to be serious improprieties and unethical behavior.”
Stevens is on paid leave through Sept. 30, and she is considering legal action related to her departure. The airport has retained an employment lawyer.
On the day Stevens announced she planned to leave, Savage reported to the board at a public meeting that he had found no wrongdoing during an inquiry he conducted this year into allegations of influence peddling by at least two members.
He made that statement before Stevens spoke with him about her plans to resign.
The Post and Courier has requested a copy of Savage’s investigation. He said he did not prepare a written report because he didn’t think his findings rose to that level.
The Aviation Authority voted 7-6 on July 30 to offer the airports director position to state Sen. Paul Campbell. The Goose Creek Republican said he won’t resign from the Senate and believes he can do both jobs effectively at the same time.
Some board members don’t believe that’s possible, given the major overhaul of the passenger terminal over the next two years and a proposed land sale to Boeing Co. that requires approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.
A major overhaul of the aging passenger terminal at Charleston International prompted allegations of influence peddling earlier this year. An internal investigation by the airport board chairman found no wrongdoing, but a more recent allegation may warrant further review.×
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