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Friday, May 9, 2014

A Discussion Of The Issues ...

Discussion ....

1.  The oath of office taken by all elected officials and found in our South Carolina State  Constitution demands that the official "preserve, protect, and defend"  the Constitution of the United States and of the State of South Carolina.  It doesn't allow the leeway of politicians to override these Constitutions with statutory law that doesn't agree with these Constitutions.

2.   Article XI Section 3 of the South Carolina Constitution demands that the State shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools open to all children in the State…

The system cannot be open to the children unless a building is supplied for the children to attend. This is the obvious intent of the writers of the Constitution,  and a later vote in the 1950's during Governor James F. Byrnes administration that asked the people of South Carolina to approve a 3% sales tax for the purpose of "building schools".  In 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States vetoed the concept of "separate but equal schools".  The General Assembly illegally grabbed the money and started spending it on anything they wished.  It was just moved to the general fund and consequently the counties were forced into constructing their own schools which is a violation of the SC State Constitution because it violated Article X, Section 14 & 15 (8% rule) and Article XI Section 3.

Article X of the Constitution limits the amount a county can borrow in general obligation debt to 8% of the appraised value of the property in that County.  The intent of this part of "the 8% law" was to give the counties some leeway on capital items of a nature critical to the immediate operation of the schools.

3. Along comes the McNair law firm and with the creation of SCAGO (South Carolina Association of Governmental Organizations) for the purpose of subverting "the 8% law". It has been litigated at least three times, and each time the SC Supreme Court has allowed the citizens of the counties to be unconstitutionally pushed into massive debt: Now $411,000,000 in Pickens County alone, even when the intent of "the 8% law" was to not allow these type of shenanigans.  The people of Pickens County in a referendum rejected massive debt by a vote of 9195 to 5538 in November of 2005, but this didn't even slow down the School Board.  They threatened the people and said they would set up a dummy corporation under SCAGO, and if the people tried to stop them legally, they would borrow the money by December 31, 2005 (The General Assembly Deadline) from a European Bank.  When the Supreme Court ruled that Colleton County Taxpayers Association v. School District of Colleton County, (371 S.C. 224,638 S.E.2d 685, 2006) had not violated statute 11-27-110A defining a "financing Agreement" and that the agreement was not with the alter ego of the school board, they were off to the races even though there was not a single contract that needed borrowed funds or was there even any plans for this project.  The money ($336,165,000) was borrowed for the purpose of paying the debt and was borrowed by The "dummy" corporation (SCAGO Educational Facilities Corporation for Pickens School District").  The money was placed in an interest bearing account at Wells Fargo Bank and accumulated over $13 million dollars in interest by 2013.  The people of Pickens County had been paying taxes on this money the whole time, but are not guaranteed  under the law to continue to do so, as these are revenue bonds; not general obligation debt.

This year Ben Trotter, representing the Liberty-Easley District, decided to resign and the School Board conspired to spend the interest from the revenue bonds without notifying or communicating with the SCAGO dummy Corp (broken contract).  The quorum rule cannot satisy this type of voting because the Liberty-Easley district was not represented at all. (16% of the county population) Therefore, the vote was unconstitutional and Article X Section 5 comes into play,  

"no tax… shall be established, fixed,  laid or levied under any pretext whatever,without the consent of the people or their representatives lawfully assembled."  

There will have to be an additional tax levied to make up for the loss of the $13.5 million. This will be double taxation. The taxpayers have already paid for that interest in monies from taxes that should have been used to reduce the debt. The whole vote is unconstitutional. The vote is illegal because of "the 8% rule", the Constitution (Article XI Section 3) , the oath of office, the structural make up of the local SCAGO Board (there are no elected officials on the SCAGO Board that can even set millage - The Auditor and the Treasurer are "ministerial"in duties.) The whole intent is to subvert the Constitution, and make the people of Pickens County pay more for schools, that the State should pay for.  The people of Pickens County clearly voted against this.

Comments:

In 2008, a group of citizens met with Mark Sanford and explained their concerns.  The Governor heard their complaint for over an hour and a half. Afterwards, he recommended that they meet with Attorney General Henry McMaster.  They discovered that the Senate had passed a procedural rule that called for your local Senator to set up individual meetings with the Attorney General. They wrote Senator Larry Martin and asked him to make such plans for them. He refused.

In addition to the above complaints, the group considers the whole SCAGO contract is an operating expense and should be covered under Act 388 of the General Assembly where the state added a 1% sales tax to pay the operating expense. This was a tax to replace property tax on an SC resident's owner occupied home.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Case Against The School Board Is Building ...

A Case Against The School Board Is Building ...

1.  The School Board of Pickens County and the McNair Law Firm ( as officers of the court) have consistently refused to follow their oath of office, which requires them to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitutions of the United States and of The State of South Carolina.

2.  Both the School Board of Pickens County, and the General Assembly have violated Article XI Section 3 of the SC Constitution by engaging in a scheme through SCAGO (the dummy corporation used to facilitate the school building plan) to overcharge the people of Pickens County for buildings and repairs that should be paid for by the State of South Carolina.

3.  The School Board of Pickens County has violated Article X, Sections 11 and 5 which limits the borrowing of the Board to 8% of the appraised value of the County property by borrowing $411,000,000+.  This part of the Constitution was enacted with the intent to help with emergencies, not implement massive school construction schemes.

4.  The Colleton County Taxpayers Association v. School District of Colleton County  defined a "financing agreement" and also ruled that a "SCAGO dummy corporation" was not the alter ego of the school board.  This means the SCAGO Dummy Corp. is entirely separate from the School Board.  The School Board of Pickens County has switched back and forth; as if the separation was not there: Selling mortgaged schools and taking $13.5 million in interest collected on the early borrowing by SCAGO and spending it on replacement computers, repairing roofs, installing air conditioners, etc. in existing schools (which are operational expense items and should be paid for by the State under Act 388).

5.  There is not a qualified elected official on the Pickens County SCAGO Board to set millage for the repayment of the loans to fulfill the obligation to the mortgagor.  The Auditor and the Treasurer of Pickens County can tell them how much the millage amounts to, as a ministerial member of the Board.  This is taxation without representation under Article X Section 5. If the School Board touches this money, as they have in the past, it violates the 8% rule.

6.  Holding two positions, as a board member of SCAGO, and as Treasurer or Auditor is amongst the many conflicts of interest.


7. It is our opinion, that the payments on the new schools are operational expense payments because they are lease payments which is an operational expense that should be  paid for by the State under Act 388.  Six school districts sued the State and won their case in opinion #26682 and are currently receiving payment from the State for their schools.  The reason Pickens is not being paid for by the State is because of the account which it is being paid from.  It cannot be paid legally from the bonded Indebtedness account.  We need to find out who told the Treasurer what account to pay the payments from.

8. The money borrowed in revenue bonds, $336,165,000, has grown to a $386,000,000 est.  plus general obligation bonds of $30,000,000 est. without any authorization from the taxpayers.  The school board has also spent $13.5 million on other projects from the interest on the original bonds.  This is after a vote by the people of Pickens County who said no by a 2 to1 margin before construction ever started. Monies are HIDDEN each year for budgetary reasons.

9. SCAGO has been melded into the school board as its alter ego just as we said it would in our suit against the School Board in 2005.  The School Board of Pickens County manipulates the taxes from the millage set on the bonds, and the mortgages on the schools which are the collateral that SCAGO has to guarantee the Bonds.  This is unconstitutional and violates the SCAGO contracts.

10.  When a resignation of a School Board member (Ben Trotter, Liberty) occured, three other members immediately conspired to spend the $13.5 million in interest derived from the early bond sales in 2005 without consulting SCAGO. In doing so, they violated the constitutional law by putting a tax on the people without representation.  A vote by a quorum is not correct here because the seat had been vacated, thus causing 16% of the people of Pickens County to be disenfranchised.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hiott Introduces A Bill To Steal Your Property ...

Introduced last week into the SC House:

2013-2014
120th General Assembly
House Bill 5182
Provide That A Public Utility May Use Easements Related To Public Highways Or Roads For Purposes Related To That Utility If Granted A Permit By The State Or Local Government Entity And Satisfaction Of Other Conditions, And To Provide That A State Or Local Government Entity May Grant The Permit Based On Its Prescriptive Authority For The Expansion Of Utilities.
http://legiscan.com/SC/bill/H5182/2013

Representative Hiott took it himself to placate the utilities and give them our property!

The Over-collecting Taxes In Pickens County ...

Over-collecting of Taxes

1.  The Pickens County School Board has over-collected taxes every year since 1990 by simply adjusting the percent collectible to 95%.  All taxes are either collectible or the property is taken by the county for sale.  There are also delinquent fees compiled every month on the tax amount.  A very close estimate is not 95%, but 103%, which is 8% more than was budgeted.  In the County Council Audit report of 2008, it shows on Page 15 (item II) & Page 115, this conservative budget approach.  It also shows that the County Council benefited more than $5 million dollars in 2008 alone.  Delinquent taxes or sales of properties were not included in these figures.  The Pickens County School Board has continued this practice even after it was pointed out to them.  The County Council made a stab at correction by estimating 99% collectible after our group pointed this out.  Still, the County Council over-collected more than $800 thousand in 2013.  The cities in Pickens County employ the same over-collection method and have not refunded or credited the overage to the taxpayers.  In our opinion, the political entities have conspired to over-collect without following the accepted method of credit or refunding to the taxpayers. ( 12-43-285 Certification of millage rates )

From 1999 - 2008 and in 2013, because of this conspiracy, 9,000 pieces of property have been scheduled for sale over the past 15 years.  Budgets have been padded every year which has allowed larger increases in taxes and fees than normal year over year and $40 to $100 million dollars has been over-collected during this period.

2.  The same general problem exists  with over-collection of taxes due to reassessment.  The reassessment year that Junius Smith audited the books; he found an increase of 13%, which is far more than allowed, yet there was no meeting with the public as prescribed by law to discuss the extra money.  This situation has greatly improved since Brian Suddeth has become Auditor.  Still, there is no meeting with the public when there is an overage. There have been no refunds as prescribed by law. A zero gain has to be realized from reassessment of properties, yet there shows a tremendous increase every reassessment year.  Every political entity shows that they have a slush fund created by this type of activity.