5 former Hardeeville officials indicted on misconduct charges

astice@islandpacket.comMarch 22, 2013 

Five former Hardeeville officials — a city administrator, a police chief, a fire chief, a police officer and a city treasurer — were indicted Thursday on charges of misconduct in office by a Jasper County grand jury.

Former city administrator R. Shane Haynes, former Police Chief James Hubbard, former Fire Chief John Ekaitis, former police Lt. Eric Washington and former city treasurer Santesia Henderson abused their public positions, according to court records.

The indictments say all five engaged in acts and omissions “including but not limited to abuse of the leave-cashing policy.”

The indictments do not outline specific acts of misconduct. All of the alleged misconduct occurred between 2005 and 2006.

The S.C. Law Enforcement Division launched a criminal investigation into Hardeeville’s finances in 2008 after a four-year forensic audit identified irregularities.

Mayor Bronco Bostick, who was elected in May of that year, said at the time that he turned over the audit’s results to SLED so agents could review the conduct of the city’s “previous administration.”

Reached Thursday, Bostick said he was in meetings in Washington, D.C., and was unable to comment.

Current city manager Bob Nanni also declined comment.

SLED spokesman Thom Berry said the investigation is considered active until it goes to court, and said he could not comment further.

S.C. Attorney General’s Office spokesman Mark Powell also said he could not provide more details.

The Attorney General’s Office is handling the cases to avoid any conflict of interest because the 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office employs former Hardeeville employees who worked during the same time period as the former officials who have been indicted, Solicitor Duffie Stone said.

Haynes resigned in May 2008 after Bostic unseated Mayor Rodney Cannon, one of several challengers swept into power in municipal elections. Haynes asked his assistant administrators to resign with him.

Washington and his wife, Henderson, resigned in 2006 after being given the choice to do so or risk being fired, according to news reports.

Hubbard was fired as police chief in January 2007.

Employees at the Jasper County Detention Center said Thursday afternoon that, because it was after business hours, they could not say whether any of the five had been booked at the jail.

Contact information for Ekaitis and Haynes was not immediately available. Attempts to reach Hubbard, Washington and Henderson were unsuccessful.

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