AP NEWS

State utility firm spends thousands on expenses-paid trips

January 31, 2019

PINOPOLIS, S.C. (AP) — A state-owned electric utility in South Carolina has offered directors all expenses-paid weekends at its Wampee Conference Center for decades, with trip costs totaling about $25,000 annually in recent years.

The Post and Courier reports Santee Cooper directors voted Monday to suspend the practice until it’s formalized. Chair Charlie Condon proposed the suspension after learning about the practice through the newspaper’s open-records request.

The center is at a lush facility that includes a boating area, historic plantation house, catered meals and waterfront views. The center says its use is limited to business-related events. Documents indicate directors skirted that rule, but don’t specify exactly how they spent their time or who they invited.

Santee Cooper estimates each trip cost about $5,300, an amount that wasn’t mentioned in the state ethics disclosures.

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This story has been corrected to show that Santee Cooper is an electric utility, not a water utility.

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com

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