Democrat Vida Miller acknowledges being “kicked off” Five Rivers board for failing to attend meetings

CONTACT: Tom Swatzel 843-222-7456

GEORGETOWN—At a debate held yesterday for the candidates seeking the state House District 108 seat, Democrat State Rep. Vida Miller stated that she was ‘kicked off’ the Five Rivers Community Development board of directors for failing to attend board meetings during a time period in which most of $5 million in state and federal taxpayer grants to Five Rivers was spent on expenses that benefitted the executive director Beulah White and her children.

White and her daughter Dayo Smith were indicted in 2007 on 15 counts of embezzlement, criminal conspiracy, and breach of trust with fraudulent intent, concerning their personal use of Five Rivers’ grant monies.

The Sun News today quoted Miller saying at the debate, “I was kicked off the board for not attending the meetings.” Miller was a Five Rivers board member from 1997 to 2000 and has said that she only attended one board meeting during that period.
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According to a September 11, 2007 Sun News article, “most of the $5 million in state and federal grants Five Rivers received between 1995 and 2006 went to pay salaries, health and life insurance, travel, meals and other expenses that benefited White and her children.”
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Georgetown County Republican Party Chairman Tom Swatzel said Miller’s “casual nonchalance about simply blowing off the job of protecting taxpayers interests at Five Rivers is like the Democrats in Congress who failed to oversee their campaign donors at Fannie Mae. It’s a matter of trust. If you fail to show up for work in the real world, you get fired.”

“I find it incredible that Vida Miller would boast about failing taxpayers’ trust in her fiduciary responsibility to provide oversight over millions of our tax dollars embezzled by Fiver Rivers because she simply didn’t take the time to attend board meetings,” Swatzel said.

“For a member of the state House of Representatives to be ‘kicked off’ a board notorious for its total lack of oversight in allowing millions of our tax dollars to be squandered, is a dubious honor indeed for Rep. Miller,” he said.

Five Rivers was a non-profit agency in Georgetown County that was supposed to help low income families with housing and finding jobs.

Smith and White will be tried separately, with Smith’s trial scheduled for later this month.

Miller faces Republican Jill Kelso in the November election.