Federal Pinson Trial Continues


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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