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Councilman seen driving with suspended license

York County Council member Paul Lindemann walks from his car, black Audi in background, to the council meeting in York on Monday. Below, Lindemann drives his Audi on East Liberty Street in York before Monday's meeting. State records show Lindemann's license was suspended after his arrest last month on drunken-driving charges.
York County Council member Paul Lindemann walks from his car, black Audi in background, to the council meeting in York on Monday. Below, Lindemann drives his Audi on East Liberty Street in York before Monday's meeting. State records show Lindemann's license was suspended after his arrest last month on drunken-driving charges.

YORK -- Ten minutes before the start of Monday night's York County Council meeting, Paul Lindemann pulled into the parking lot behind the wheel of a black Audi sedan.

Lindemann drove to York on a license that state records show has been suspended since his arrest last month on drunken- driving charges.

Driving on a suspended license is a violation of the law.

Approached by a Herald reporter as he walked to the meeting, Lindemann gave multiple explanations for why he was behind the wheel. He initially said he had received a provisional license. Then, he said his lawyer was taking care of the situation.

Finally, he said an officer told him as he checked out of the Richland County jail that he was allowed to drive to work, church or school under the terms of his suspended license. "That's what I was told, and that's what I've been following," he said.

Asked why he initially gave a different account, Lindemann said his hectic schedule left him frazzled. "I just sold my house," he said. "My kid's sick. I've been taking calls all day from these PETA people. I've been under some duress lately."

Supporters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals attended Monday's meeting to speak on a proposal to outlaw the chaining of dogs.

During a July 16 traffic stop, police cited the 29-year-old Fort Mill representative for driving under the influence and for refusing to take a breathalyzer test.

That refusal resulted in the immediate six-month suspension of his driver's license, records show.

Lindemann was convicted last year for driving on a suspended license. A second conviction could bring a $600 fine, 60 days in jail or both.

Questions over the license add a new wrinkle to Lindemann's ongoing legal and political troubles. Some of the questions could be addressed on Thursday, when Lindemann is scheduled to appear in Columbia municipal court at 1 p.m. His lawyer is Joe McCulloch of Columbia.

Before walking inside, Lindemann told The Herald that "everything should be cleared up this week."

"I've just got a lot going on," he added. "I don't know why y'all are trying to throw me under the bus."

There is a way for South Carolina motorists to get permission to drive while under suspension. They can apply to the Division of Motor Vehicles for restricted permits that allow them to drive to work or school.

DMV officials said Monday that Lindemann does not have such a permit.

Lindemann acknowledged driving on various other occasions over the past month. But he added that his business partner, Greg Rogers, often helps with driving duties.

York County Republican leaders are calling on Lindemann to resign his District 1 seat so that he can get help.

The July arrest marked the ninth time Lindemann has been cited for traffic violations in the past decade, according to state records obtained by The Herald. It was also the third time Lindemann has been charged with driving under the influence since 1998.

The other two cases were in 1998, when Lindemann was 19, and in 2000.

Lindemann has vowed to press forward with his re-election campaign. He faces Democrat Marion Davenport and Green Party candidate Bryan Smith in the November general election.

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