Former SC State Employees Indicted: "It Puts Knots In My Stomach"

11:12 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Conspiracy, wire taps and thousands of dollars in kickbacks.  That's what federal prosecutors say was going on at South Carolina State University.

In Charleston Thursday, former campus police chief Michael Bartley plead guilty to conspiracy. Prosecutors said he agreed to convince school administrators to purchase a piece of land in Orangeburg County called the Sportsman's retreat.

In return Bartley was set to receive 30 thousand dollars for an ATV in kickbacks from a Florida Businessman.

"I am sure he took a part in it because like most people he wanted to earn a buck," said US Assistant Attorney Mark Moore.

Prosecutors say the deal was stopped after feds tapped Bartley's phone. And now Mark Moore says Bartley is working with prosecutors.

"We have agreed to ask the court to consider that in sentencing him at the appropriate time."

In Columbia, Former SC State Board of Trustees Chairman Jonathan Pinson and Upstate Businessman Eric Robinson both plead not guilty to extortion.

Prosecutors say Pinson used his influence on the board to arrange the purchase of the Sportsman's retreat property. They also say he arranged to get a Porsche in exchange for the deal, but his attorney says differently.

"He has never taken a dime, he has never asked for a dime, and no one has ever given him a dime, to make any decision at SC State," said attorney Jim Graham.

"He is innocent and this is the result of a flawed investigation and we look forward to exposing those flaws at the appropriate time in court."

Board Chairman Dr. Walter Tobin says that the university and its students were the victims and they are going to make a change to prevent this from happening again.

"I will support an initiative that will support the designation of a chief audit and compliance officer at SC State," said Dr. Tobin.

Alumnus and State Representative Jerry Govan says it saddens him to hear this.

"It puts knots in your stomach in terms of what has taken place, I love SC State it is a great institution. Hopefully what we are starting to see is some kind of closure," said Govan.

Students are upset but say all they can do now is move in a positive direction.

"It's sad that it happened but at SC State we are trying to stay positive and look at the positive things like our great education programs," said a Junior at the university.






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