Federal Pinson Trial Continues

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By Monique Williams

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- Testimony continues in the trial of a former South Carolina State University trustee accused of corruption.

Jonathan Pinson is accused of pushing the University to take contracts with a real estate developer in exchange for kick-backs.

In court Tuesday, those conversations, which were played for the jury to hear, were about South Carolina State University's desire to purchase a sprawling piece of property off Highway 301 in Orangeburg called the Sportsman's Retreat.
Personal and business associates of Pinson testified about deals they say he initiated regarding the University's attempt to purchase the retreat area.

Former chief of police for the University, Michael Bartley, who is also a personal friend of Florida developer Richard Zahn, testified under oath that he assisted in trying to get the University to purchase the property in exchange for a $30,000 kick-back.
He told the jury that Pinson, who is on trial for corruption in this case, was also to receive kickbacks from the sale, including a porsche.

Former vice president for State, Dr. Dale Wesson, also testified to the numerous conversations he had with Pinson about the sale of the property.
Richard Zahn, the Florida developer who flew Pinson and others, including Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, to Florida in his private jet for what witnesses testified today was a time of talks, dinner, parties and strippers being invited to the gentlemen's hotel rooms, was the last witness to take the stand.

The trial could last two more weeks.

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Anonymous said on Wednesday, Jun 25 at 1:20 PM

AND THE SOUTH WANT S TO KNOW ARE THEY IN FOR ANOTHER RIDE????? OR WILL IT BE THE FREE RIDE IN THE TAXI!!!!!!! FREE OF CHARGE BY THE COUNTY?????THREE MEALS & HARD LABOR????? STAY TUNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Told you so said on Wednesday, Jun 25 at 10:59 AM

Thursday, May. 10, 2012 Lawsuit contends Columbia mayor, HUD officials targeted whistleblower By CLIF LeBLANC Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and federal housing officials are accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to fire a Columbia HUD official because he was alleging a pattern of misuse of federal housing funds meant for Columbia’s low-income residents. The wrongful termination suit filed by Peter Rowe, who oversaw $170 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds for South Carolina, alleges that HUD officials in Columbia and Washington, D.C., ignored his persistent efforts to get documentation and explanations about how Columbia officials spent the city’s HUD money. Then, under political pressure, Rowe said, they threatened his job if he didn’t stop his inquiry. Rowe was fired by Columbia’s HUD office Nov. 2 after working there 11 months – still within his one-year probationary period in the job. The reasons cited, he said, were that he was disrespectful and

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