Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin released the following statement today following the Pinson verdict:
“We have the Pinson family in our thoughts and prayers. As you are aware, I have withheld all comment while this difficult matter was before the court.
“As has been reported accurately over the past few weeks, I have not been charged with any criminal offenses. Now that a verdict has been rendered, it needs to be made clear that I have done nothing illegal.
“My ownership interest in the Village at Rivers Edge terminated in August of 2009 and, after that date, I no longer maintained any role in the management of the project. Furthermore, after my election as mayor in April of 2010, I conflicted myself out of all decisions directly or indirectly related to the project. This position is well documented at the city of Columbia.
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“There were two matters reported by the media that need to be addressed. First, it has been reported that the South Carolina State Ethics Commission has inquired about a one day business trip to Orlando that was not related in any way to city of Columbia business. We have met with the Ethics Commission and are confident that after a thorough review of all of the facts, they will determine that it was a personal business trip and as such, not a matter to be reported.
“Second, I regret being present for certain aspects of the previously referenced trip. I should have used better judgment. However to be clear, I did not at any time engage in any illegal activity while in Orlando.
“As a family we are stronger than ever and we remain in prayer for our friends, and the city we love. We wish all a safe and peaceful holiday weekend.”