New Documents Released in Ex-SC State Trustee Case

1:43 PM, Nov 7, 2013   |    comments
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Jonathan Pinson (Image: SC State University)
 PDF Document: Filed Indictment Jonathan Pinson

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Federal prosecutors have unsealed documents in the case against former South Carolina State University Board of Trustees Chairman Jonathan Pinson. The documents outline details of Pinson's connections to a planned development in Columbia called Village at River's Edge and the Columbia Housing Authority. 

Pinson was indicted in January after federal investigators say he and Eric Robinson, a Greenville businessman, agreed to take kickbacks from a developer in exchange for pushing a deal for SC State University to buy land from the developer.

Previous Coverage: Ex-SC State Trustee Pinson Indicted

On Wednesday, another former SC State trustee,  Lancelot Wright, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and conspiracy charges. In documents unsealed Thursday, investigators say Pinson was connected to some of the same projects as Wright, including the Village at River's Edge and a planned diaper plant in Marion County. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin was originally part of the group involved with the Village at River's Edge development, but got out of the project before becoming mayor.

Previous Coverage: Former SC State Trustee Lancelot Wright Pleads Guilty

The indictment accuses Pinson of illegally taking money from the Columbia Housing Authority and paying himself, while often not paying contractors who performed work. It goes on to say the group took part in various financial crimes, including mail fraud, wire fraud, extortion, bribery and money laundering.

Federal prosecutors say Pinson used his role as the SCSU Chairman of the Board to bring in new members and earn prestige for the enterprise. They claim the group made money legally and illegally in Columbia, Greenville, Orangeburg, Marion County and Atlanta.

The documents also deal with a concert for the SC State University Homecoming in 2011. Prosecutors say Eric Robinson ran WE Entertainment, which was the promoter of the concert. The indictment says Pinson requested a kickback from Robinson for that job and agreed to split profits from the concert. The two are accused of also paying kickbacks to officials in Atlanta for their involvement in the enterprise.    


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