Embattled Lexington Town Councilman Danny Frazier refused to give up his elected position Friday after other town leaders and 10 residents demanded his immediate resignation.
After meeting initially behind closed doors, five other council members urged him to step down, saying in a statement that they will not tolerate any type of behavior that causes embarrassment and lack of confidence in our town.
Frazier did not respond to the council.
But he quickly said no when asked by The State newspaper if he would quit, referring to an earlier statement that he made a serious error in judgment that falls short of a crime.
He later sent this statement, declining further comment: Unfortunately, a lot of folks are being victimized by the ill-conceived acts of several individuals as well as irresponsible journalists. Hopefully, over the next few days the public will see what this story is all about.
The pressure on Frazier comes amid controversy over his alleged ties to the Internet sweepstakes industry that some law enforcement officials call illegal online gambling.Several media outlets have published audiotapes of Frazier advising someone on how to run a sweepstakes business without law enforcement interference.
After attending the councils closed-door session, Frazier sat silently, listening grim-faced while being scolded by residents and his fellow council members during a 45-minute public meeting.
It would behoove you to benefit the citizens of the town of Lexington to follow through on demands to quit, former councilwoman Constance Flemming told Frazier.
Betsy McCall described his conduct as a disgrace to this town. Whether youre guilty or not is irrelevant.
It puts a blemish on our town, Kay Moore added.
Other homeowners expressed frustration that they cant oust Frazier, who can serve in the post through late 2015 before facing voters again. He won re-election last November.
Frazier can be suspended from office only if charged with a major crime, with removal automatic upon conviction. He is being investigated by SLED, at the request of Sheriff James Metts, who suspended Frazier from his part-time job with the department Thursday.
All of us make mistakes, homeowner David Edwards told the crowd of about 50 residents. I made one I voted for Danny.
The councils demand for Frazier to resign is an expression of its strongest anger, said Mayor Randy Halfacre, once a political ally of the seven-year councilman.
Believe me, its not grandstanding, he said to those gathered. Its the maximum we could do.
Its necessary for council members to express unhappiness with Frazier to assure the public that Town Hall is well-run, Halfacre said.
Its all about integrity, he said. Its all about trust.
Town officials have told sweepstakes operators that they are not welcome. And they said that, as far as they know, Frazier hasnt sought to bring them into their community of 18,000 residents.
The demand for Fraziers resignation came after Frazier and five other council members met behind closed doors for an hour reviewing what Halfacre said were legal options. Councilman Todd Shevchik was absent.
Halfacre denied a request from The State newspaper to open that session to the public.The State told the council its actions ran contrary to the states open meetings law. Halfacre insisted the closed-door meeting was OK, since the council was receiving legal advice from its attorney.
Lexington Town Council resolution asking for resignation of council member Danny Frazier
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.