It's "Fiscal Conservative Week" in South Carolina, and the South Carolina Democratic Party is helping our Republican brothers and sisters live up to their own ideals of tight budgets and low government spending. Monday we questioned who was paying Jim DeMint's rent (and his housekeeper!); yesterday we highlighted just a few of the ways that Lt. Governor Andre Bauer used his elected office to duck taxes and get sweetheart land deals, all while supporting his campaign with taxpayer-funded material.
Today I want to introduce you to State Senator Mick Mulvaney. Mick is a North Carolina land developer who scammed South Carolina taxpayers for more than $30 million by flipping land he got public bonds to improve. This latter-day carpetbagger moved into South Carolina only two years before his first run for public office, and this year is challenging Congressman John Spratt. He's left a long trail of fleeced taxpayers and shady dealings in his wake, and it's time he explained himself.
Mulvaney owns all or part of at least seven corporations that are registered and pay taxes in North Carolina; if you ask him about his work, he'll ignore the record and claim that he's a burrito magnate as a six percent owner of Salsarita's, a chain based in Charlotte.
His being disingenuous isn't enough alone to earn a spot in the "Fiscal Conservative Week" lineup, though; I've come to expect that from the SCGOP's candidates.
Let's ask: does a fiscal conservative use a "secret" partner to secure $30 million in county bonds on land he promised to develop? Does he use those bonds to sell the land at an $11 million profit and deny any responsibility when the land sits idle for six years? And this is just one project in a career full of them.
Mulvaney began by using his father's money to purchase more than 800 acres of land for the development presently known as Edenmoor in 2000. In a slick sales pitch to the county council, he promised golf courses, business parks, a town center, a hotel, an EMS station and a fire station to the county in return for their investment. In September 2004, he received a $30 million bond on the county's faith that he and his "secret partner" would improve the land to the benefit of the county and its taxpayers.
One month prior to Mulvaney's presentation to Lancaster County Council, which issued the bonds, his partner, LM Sandler & Sons, defaulted on $78 million in loans on another project. He didn't tell the county about those loan defaults; in fact, he said that he was 100% confident in his "secret partner." Soon after the bonds were issued he sold his stake in Edenmoor to Sandler & Sons at an enormous profit. The 800 acres of land set aside for the project was clear-cut at the time of the sale, and still is: Edenmoor has $25 million in mechanic's liens on the property, preventing any development.
Mick Mulvaney, if you ask him, will deny all responsibility and tell you he sold the property years ago. He won't tell you that he promised the people and government of Lancaster County that he'd personally get the development done, not flip it to make a quick profit. In his own words, he wouldn't "turn it and burn it and go."
Edenmoor is an environmental disaster, earning thousands of dollars in fines from South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control related to erosion and water quality. Meanwhile, the man responsible for creating it is running for Congress, and he's ready to spend as much of his ill-gotten gains as it takes to get to Washington.
South Carolinians suffer enough already under too many self-described "fiscal conservatives"--Republicans whose idea of good government is government whose only role is to make them and their friends rich. We don't need to send another one of them to Congress.
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