FITSNews Exclusive – Chellis Linked To Sexual Harrassment, Fraud Allegations August 1, 2007Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
SENSITIVE INFORMATION ON PRESUMED TREASURER LEAKED USING DECEPTIVE E-MAILS
FITSNews – August 1, 2007 – In a bizarre case of blog espionage, State Representative and would-be S.C. Treasurer Converse Chellis finds himself in the middle of a political firestorm this afternoon. According to multiple sources, e-mails detailing Chellis’ involvement in a complex sexual harrassment and fraud case several years ago were leaked to bloggers and members of the media earlier this week using the e-mail “firstname.lastname@example.org.” The obvious implication of these e-mails was that the popular local website Palmetto Scoop was responsible for the leak, a charge the blog vehemently denies.
“We had a brief period recently where our e-mail wasn’t functioning and we switched over to a G-Mail account,” the Palmetto Scoop’s editors told FITSNews earlier this afternoon. “However, the address we used during that two-week period was THEpalmettoscoop@gmail.com. Whoever did this, it was a deliberate set-up to make our website look like the origin of the leak.”
FITSNews is endeavoring to obtain copies of these e-mails, but the gist of the charges is that a sexual harrassment and fraud lawsuit was filed against the Dorchester Representative several years ago stemming from an accounting partnership involving Chellis, another man, and a woman. While the case was settled out of court for an unspecified sum of money (the terms of the settlement remain undisclosed), Chellis was nonetheless accused by the woman in the partnership of making improper sexual advances as well as illegally converting partnership funds for his own personal use.
The allegations – especially those alleging fiscal mismanagement – are nothing short of a political bombshell, coming just 48 hours before the General Assembly is scheduled to vote on a successor to Thomas Ravenel, who resigned as State Treasurer last week after being indicted in late June on federal drug charges. With over 100 legislative supporters, Chellis was widely expected to cruise to victory in Friday’s election.
Of course, just as sensational as the Chellis’ lawsuit revelation is the cloak-and-dagger manner in which it was leaked, with the sender not only deliberately concealing their identity but also appearing to engage in a calculated effort to tie another blog to the release of the information.
UPDATED – While we have been unable to track down the elusive e-mails (or more importantly, the authors) responsible for leaking this information, we have been able to uncover the following information concerning this case: The lawsuit was filed by plaintiff Martha H. Bryan on January 6, 2000 in the Court of Common Pleas for Charleston County. The case number for the lawsuit is 00-CP-10-0053.