Governor Suspends Lyman Mayor After Misconduct Charges, Wiretapping

The SC Governor’s Office has suspended the Mayor of Lyman, Rodney Turner after his latest arrest on misconduct charges and wiretapping.

In the documentation it says that Turner will remain suspended until he is either convicted or freed.

Turner was formally indicted Friday by a Spartanburg County Grand Jury for the charges of wiretapping and misconduct in office.

Turner was arrested and charged in connection with an investigation into the installation of recording devices in Town Hall and conducting of Town business.

According to SLED Turner was arrested August 5th and charged with 2 counts of misconduct in office and one count wiretapping.

The following is a statement from the Town of Lyman concerning Turner’s recent indictment:

The Town of Lyman learned this afternoon from media reports that the Spartanburg County Grand Jury issued indictments against Mayor Turner. Any change of the status in office of the Mayor is not an action for the Town. At this time, the Town has received no notification from other governmental bodies of any change in the status of the Mayor. If the Mayor is no longer able to serve the duties of mayor, the Mayor Pro Tem for the Town of Lyman will serve as acting Mayor. The Town Council will continue to serve the citizens of Lyman and await information as to next steps.

Berry tells us that Gary Christopher Martin was also arrested and charged with one count of wiretapping and one count of third degree computer crime act.

Martin too was formally indicted Friday by a Spartanburg County Grand Jury on third-degree computer crime act and wiretapping.

Turner was released on a $22,000 bond and Martin was released on a $11,000 bond after a bond hearing on August 5th.

Both men have their first court appearance in general sessions court on October 15, 2015.

The case was investigated by SLED at the request of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Law Enforcement Officials say this could lead the way for the Governor’s Office to potentially suspend Turner as Mayor if they choose.

7 On Your side spoke with Gary Christopher Martin at his home. He told us he’d never met the Mayor and only replaced a camera for the town.

“I sold the Town of Lyman a camera to replace a bad camera they had and now I’m mixed up in it. I think they throw the net over the whole bunch and see who they can get,” he said.

Martin said he had no involvement in any illegal wiretapping activity.

The following statement regarding the arrest was released by Turner’s attorney Andrew Johnston:

“I have been in Law Enforcement for over thirty years. I have always had the highest regard for the law. I had been elected twice by the people of the Town of Lyman as their Mayor.

I was shocked to learn of the charges that have been made against me. While the exact nature of the complaints are still unclear, it appears that the allegations fall into two categories.

The first is that I intercepted private conversations between other parties inside Lyman public buildings. This is totally untrue. We had a phone system installed by a reputable vendor. To my knowledge, it was not capable of making secret recordings, and I certainly never used it to do that. There was a surveillance video system installed. The cameras were in open view. The cameras placed there were part of the overall security plan for the town and were common knowledge. These cameras were never used by me to secretly monitor or record the private conversations of others. They were used by me to oversee the actions of town employees while they were supposed to be working and for the overall security of the buildings.

The second allegation seems to be that I acted outside of my authority in the performance of my duties as Mayor. At the time these actions were supposed to have occurred, the government structure of the Town of Lyman was “Strong Mayor-Weak Council” as established by SC State Law. As the Mayor in a “Strong Mayor” system, I acted as the Chief Executive Officer of the town. I only consulted with council when I felt it was prudent, or if it was required by law. The Town of Lyman had a legal dispute with Startex-Jackson-Wellford-Duncan Water District over the waterflow in the Middle Tyger River. I consulted with the Town’s environmental attorney who works for one of the largest firms in this state. His advice was that we needed to take immediate legal action to preserve the town’s rights. After the complaint was served, I made the council aware of this move and there were no objections.

The lawsuit was publicized in the media. It lasted for several months and was settled in a mediation which the majority of council members attended. As far as I know, the legal fees were appropriate for the work performed in this highly specialized area. The legal fees for this were authorized in advance for each annual budget, which were approved by the council.

These charges should never have been brought against me. I have always acted in what I believed to be the best right of the town and never to my personal benefit. I believe these allegations are personally and politically motivated.

I look forward to a speedy resolution of these matters in my favor.”

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