Friends Say Cromartie Should Have Asked for Help

In a two-sentence apology issued to the media Monday, Columbia city councilman E. W. Cromartie said he’s sorry. “I am genuinely sorry for my mistakes in judgment,” the statement read. “I am deeply grateful to the citizens of District 2 and the city of Columbia, and the thousands of people who have supported me over my 27 years of public service.” The apology comes on the heels of the lawmaker’s financial woes being made public. According to authorities, Cromartie faces felony federal tax evasion charges. His childhood friend, Columbia attorney, Franchot Brown, says Cromartie should have reached out for help sooner. “I’m disappointed, angry at him because we were all kept in the dark. I’m crushed he allowed it to get as far as it got,” said Brown. “In terms of the financial part, I feel certain we could’ve dealt with that easy. Help could’ve been made available, but when you try to handle this by yourself…you may feel no help is available because you don’t let people know you have a problem.” Cromartie’s tax problems surfaced Monday, but according to Brown and others Cromartie represents in District 2, the long-term impact will be devastating “It shook us, shook us a little bit,” said Floretta Sutton, practice administrator for Davis and dingle Dentistry on Farrow Road, which is in Cromartie’s district. The lawmaker was waging a battle on behalf of the business against the establishment of a Salvation Army soup kitchen next door to the dentistry. Now, Sutton has questions about the compromised relationship. “We depended on Cromartie because he was our council representative. We’re not sure what’s gonna happen next.” The future of Cromartie’s soon-to-be-vacant city council seat is up in the air. Columbia city officials are expected to discuss the issue later this week and decide if a special election will be held. The regularly scheduled city-wide election is April sixth.