Letter to Mayor Wilson

A July 16th Georgetown Times article (click here to view) raised the issue that the Democrat Party-controlled Georgetown City Council may have engaged in an illegal meeting to decide matters concerning Jeanette Ard, the Front Street businesswoman that was denied a certificate of occupancy for a small ice cream shop she added to the rear of her business in 2007, and has been fined over $800,000 to date by the city, even though her shop was built to city building permit specifications.

Only after the construction was completed did city inspectors contend that a restroom was required, a condition with which Ard refused to comply.

The article also raises the ugly issue that city officials may now be retaliating against Ard because the Georgetown County Republican Party publicly came to her defense.

In response the following letter was sent by the county Republican Party to City of Georgetown Mayor Lynn Wood Wilson on July 17th and was printed in its entirety on the editorial page of the July 18th edition of the Georgetown Times:

Dear Mayor Wilson:

In yesterday's edition of the Georgetown Times, an article entitled "Councilman: Politics Sours Possible Deal on Ard Shop," references a June 30th email by City Councilman Jack Scoville in which he wrote this to Jeanette Ard about her ice cream shop issue, "We just about had this thing wrapped up for you, and now Swatzel wants to make it seem the Reps . . ." (Republicans) helped solve the controversy."

Councilman Scoville's comment implies that there were recent decisions made by the city council concerning the Ard matter; however I am not aware of any recent public meetings of the city council in which any decisions concerning this matter were ever publicly voted on. Under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting the city produce the following information:

  • The dates, times, and locations of all meetings of the city council between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2008 in which the Ard case was discussed and votes were taken on the matter by city council.
  • The dates, times, and locations of any meetings, between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2008, that occurred between any individual council members in which the Ard issue was discussed and decisions were made concerning the matter. List the names of any city council members who were in attendance at any such meetings.
  • Copies of all written correspondence, including emails and text messages, between city council members concerning the Ard case, that were transmitted or delivered between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2008.

In addition to the above statement, in the July 4th edition of the Georgetown Times, Councilman Scoville also said this about the issue, "Only Tom (Swatzel) would try to make a political issue out of a toilet. It's unfortunate, because this really undercuts Mrs. Ard's position with City Council much more than it will help it."

Both of Councilman Scoville's statements can only be interpreted as meaning that because the Georgetown County Republican Party dared to publicly come to Ms Ard's defense, the Democrat Party-controlled city council is now going to retaliate against Ms Ard by withdrawing any efforts to resolve the laughably ridiculous $800,000 in fines that have been imposed on her business by the city in the last year.

I find it disgusting that city officials would engage in such petty, mean-spirited behavior in an effort to quell any public debate of Ard's plight. It is an outrageous abuse of power.

The county Republican Party calls upon the city council to immediately cease all retaliatory actions toward Ard and her business.

In the interests of fairness and decency, we again call upon the city council to, without delay, drop all fines against Ard's business, and to allow her ice cream shop to operate as constructed by the specifications contained within the city issued building permit.


Tom Swatzel- Chairman