Mayor Benjamin 'regrets' Orlando trip, maintains he did nothing - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Mayor Benjamin 'regrets' Orlando trip, maintains he did nothing illegal

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin finally broke his silence Thursday, releasing a statement about his involvement with former business partner Jonathan Pinson and a 2010 business trip involving strippers.

Benjamin said last week he wouldn't comment about testimony in the Pinson federal corruption case until after the trial was over.

In that testimony, several witnesses testified in December 2010, Benjamin, Pinson, Florida businessman Richard Zahn, and other South Carolina State University officials went to a strip club in Orlando, then brought two women back to their hotel room.

"… I regret being present for certain aspects of the previously referenced trip," Benjamin said in a statement. "I should have used better judgment. However to be clear, I did not at any time engage in any illegal activity while in Orlando."

On Thursday, a 12 member jury found Pinson guilty of racketeering, using his influence as board of trustees chair at South Carolina State University for his own gain.

"We have the Pinson family in our thoughts and prayers," Benjamin said. "As you are aware, I have withheld all comment while this difficult matter was before the court. As has been reported accurately over the past few weeks, I have not been charged with any criminal offenses. Now that a verdict has been rendered, it needs to be made clear that I have done nothing illegal."

Benjamin maintains he terminated his ownership interest at a business development involving Pinson in Aug. 2009.

"…After that date, I no longer maintained any role in the management of the project," Benjamin said. "Furthermore, after my election as Mayor in April of 2010, I conflicted myself out of all decisions directly or indirectly related to the project. This position is well documented at the City of Columbia."

Benjamin also goes on to say that the 2010 Orlando trip was a personal business trip and the trip did not have to be reported to the South Carolina State Ethics Commission.

"…[It was a] one day business trip to Orlando that was not related in any way to City of Columbia business," Benjamin said. "We have met with the Ethics Commission and are confident that after a thorough review of all of the facts, they will determine that it was a personal business trip and as such, not a matter to be reported."

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

  • Local News on KCBD.comNewsMore>>

  • Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:16 AM EST2018-02-25 07:16:08 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 9:06 AM EST2018-02-25 14:06:36 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

  • 2 dead as severe weather moves eastward through central US

    2 dead as severe weather moves eastward through central US

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:25 AM EST2018-02-25 07:25:46 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 9:06 AM EST2018-02-25 14:06:01 GMT
    (Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River  Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati.  Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...(Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati. Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

  • After years of dejection, proponents of gun laws see hope

    After years of dejection, proponents of gun laws see hope

    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:35 AM EST2018-02-24 15:35:23 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 8:59 AM EST2018-02-25 13:59:03 GMT
    The progression has become numbingly repetitive - mass bloodshed unleashed by a gunman, followed by the stories of the fallen, the funerals and mourning. (Source: AP Photos)The progression has become numbingly repetitive - mass bloodshed unleashed by a gunman, followed by the stories of the fallen, the funerals and mourning. (Source: AP Photos)

    "Our kids have started a revolution:" Teens' activism after Florida school shooting has some hopeful for action on gun policy.

    "Our kids have started a revolution:" Teens' activism after Florida school shooting has some hopeful for action on gun policy.

Powered by Frankly