JAMES ISLAND -- Former James Island Mayor Mary Clark is "very hurt" by insinuations that she may have broken the law while dispensing town funds in the final months of her administration, an attorney representing her said Tuesday.
John Graham Altman, a former Charleston County School Board chairman and state House member, confirmed that Clark was questioned by the FBI several months ago about some town financial transactions she made in mid- to late 2010. Altman said the current town administration is carrying out a vendetta against Clark. He predicted no charges will result from probes of Clark reportedly under way by the State Law Enforcement Division and the FBI.
Bill Woolsey, who became mayor Sept. 1 after defeating Clark and other challengers in a hotly contested election, asked SLED to look into transactions by Clark that he termed questionable. Among the findings in his review of town financial records for mid-2010 were five $1,000 checks written to the newly forming Sea Islands Chamber of Commerce, Woolsey said.
Clark's daughter is one of two executive directors for the chamber, and, according to Woolsey, at least some of the checks were written at a time the town had no budget in place and no continuing resolution. Town Council should have been given the chance to approve or disapprove of the expenditures, but it was never told of them by Clark, before or after the checks were sent, Woolsey said.
Altman said he's consulted numerous law enforcement officials and is convinced that Clark violated no laws. "Mary Clark is just as stubborn as an old mule, but she is not a thief and she is not a crook," Altman said. "She is very hurt by all this and she wants her name cleared."
"It's not enough to defeat somebody politically," Altman said of Woolsey. "He has to destroy them."
Woolsey said he and the council members who took office with him had legitimate concerns when they asked for an outside review of town financial records.
"I am not at all interested in destroying Mary Clark," Woolsey said. "As I said before, when we saw that (Clark) made five payments of $1,000 to a brand-new organization at which her daughter was an executive director, we thought we will see what SLED and the FBI have to say about it."