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In 1860, the city was the location of the South Carolina Secession Convention, which marked the departure of the first state from the Union in the events leading up to the Civil War.
In May 1540, a Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto traversed what is now Columbia while moving northward.
The Department of Transportation is required to maintain records on DBE subcontracts because by law, 10 percent of federal funds made available for any federal-aid highway, mass transit or technology and research must be expended using DBEs. Nor does the commission even review the filings of individual legislators; only the House and Senate Ethics Committees do that, and when you also sit on that committee that would investigate you, as Leatherman does, well, that, as they say, is that.
In South Carolina in FY 2014-15, that figure was substantial – $61.2 million in new and ongoing contracts was awarded to DBE firms, including $377,000 to Florence Concrete this fiscal year and $3.9 million since 2013. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, The Nerve has learned Florence Concrete has made a total of $7.1 million since 2012 from procurement contracts directly with DOT, an agency that Leatherman exerts a control over that’s nearly unprecedented in state history, considering: That means, in DOT’s case, Leatherman oversees the money that writes director Christy Hall’s checks (Senate Finance), appoints her bosses (JTRC), controls whether the projects she wants get funded, oversees all aspects of the agency’s operations (transportation committee) and even decides how much she makes (agency salary head commission). In fact, it wasn’t until 2013, at the time that The Nerve first began looking into his SEIs, that Leatherman first began listing his “minority” stockholder status in the company of which he served as president from the time he joined the Senate in 1981 until 1993, meaning a whole decade went by without his even mentioning that he still held a financial interest in the company. And the $40 million in state money The Nerve has uncovered does not include earnings that are less easy to discover, such as sub-contractual work legislators have with other such entities as local municipalities, counties, school boards, hospital boards, universities and utilities that all rely on local and state funding and often are governed by legislative appointments.
(The SEI is a tool designed to show the public exactly where politicians derive their income to determine whether they have conflicts of interest or not.) If he or she has a subcontract with a public body such as the Department of Transportation, as does Florence Concrete (previously run and now partially owned by Sen.
Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence), then no such disclosure is necessary, even though the result is the same – public money flowing to the business of a public officials at levels the public cannot determine. Florence Concrete makes millions of dollars on its biggest projects, but it operates almost exclusively as a subcontractor, and DOT does not keep track of payments to subcontractors, only prime contractors.
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