Batesburg-Leesville Town Councilman Steve Cain was ousted from office Monday by fellow town leaders who concluded his residency was questionable.
Cain promised to challenge his removal from the office he has held for 10 years.
The ouster, approved 4-3, came after he declined to say why he had been absent from council meetings for eight months.
Cain insisted he had not moved out of the town but said, “I‘ve been here and not here. It’s not important where I’ve been – it’s where I live.”
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But other council members said Cain deliberately was evading questions about where he lived.
“There has been this constant pattern of misdirection, muddying the water,” Councilman Todd O’Dell said.
Mayor Rita Crapps, who did not take part in the decision, said of the case against Cain, “I’m not going to say it’s overwhelming.”
The decision came after other council members reviewed a report from an investigation into complaints from some residents that Cain no longer lives in the Lexington County community as required.
Cain didn’t attend a council meeting for eight months until June 8.
He has said he left town temporarily until the settlement of a lawsuit seeking damages for injuries allegedly suffered during ejection from a council meeting in March 2014.
But he insists he remained in touch through email to give his ideas and opinions to residents and some town leaders.
Cain recently returned to face criminal charges for failure to pay child support.
He often has been at odds with other town leaders, running twice unsuccessfully for mayor.
Cain’s seat will be on the Nov. 3 town ballot to fill, unless his ouster is blocked by a legal challenge.
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483