Columbia City Council’s longest-serving member, E.W. Cromartie, reported Wednesday to a federal prison in Williamsburg County.
Cromartie, 65, was sentenced to 12 months plus one day in prison after pleading guilty to one count of tax evasion and two charges of structuring bank deposits to avoid federal income-reporting requirements.
An online inmate locator lists his release date as Dec. 9. Under federal sentencing laws, felons are eligible for parole for any sentence over a year. Legal experts had predicted he would spend 10 months behind bars. Cromartie resigned his seat March 9.
Cromartie’s Columbia lawyer, I.S. Leevy Johnson, said he did not accompany Cromartie to the Williamsburg Federal Correctional Institution Wednesday and did not know who did.
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The prison, in Salters, is a medium-security institution for men. It has a minimum-security camp adjacent to it.
Johnson said he last saw Cromartie a couple of weeks ago when Cromartie came to his law office. Asked his client’s demeanor, Johnson said: “He had accepted the inevitable and wanted to pay his debt to society and to return to make a contribution to the community.”
The former lawyer and District 2 councilman was known for his constituent service, working to transform neglected downtown neighborhoods in an area that included historic Waverly as well as the Vista, Main Street and USC. He served for 27 years.
His supporters remained loyal despite his downfall.