York County Council chairman Britt Blackwell wants to ask the state's law enforcement agency and top prosecutor to investigate a failed deal to develop land for a new county museum along the Catawba River.
That's if the Culture and Heritage Foundation, which made the deal, doesn't hand over financial documents detailing how money was spent on the project, Blackwell said at Monday night's council meeting.
Citing lingering questions from state and local leaders, the council last month formally requested the documents.
At its April 26 meeting, foundation president Carol Maroska will ask the group's board of directors to consider releasing the financial documents to the county, she wrote in a letter to the council. She tried to assemble the directors for a meeting earlier this month but scheduling conflicts interfered, she told The Herald on Monday.
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Blackwell asked his fellow council members their thoughts on seeking the S.C. Attorney General's Office and the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the foundation and a subsidiary it created to manage the failed development deal.
He expressed concern the foundation won't comply with the council's request to hand over the information.
In 2006, the foundation partnered with Cherokee Investment Partners to build an environmentally friendly housing community. Proceeds from the development were supposed to pay for a new county museum along the river.
But the deal fell through, and now the foundation and a subsidiary created to manage the deal owe $3.78 million to a development partner that exited the project. They have until June to pay, although the deadline could be extended for a year.
It's unclear whether Blackwell will find the support to turn to the state agencies. On Monday night, councilmen Eric Winstead and David Bowman said they won't give their votes.
"That implies an accusation I'm not willing to imply at this point," Winstead said, adding that he "still has seen nothing" that would suggest wrongdoing.
Councilmen Chad Williams and Bruce Henderson wanted to wait to see how the foundation board responds to their request before deciding. Henderson said he'd also reach out to the foundation.
The council took no action on the matter.