Batesburg-Leesville officials are starting an investigation into nonresidency claims against Town Councilman Steve Cain that he calls off-base.
Private investigator David Byrd, a former Irmo police chief, was hired Wednesday to look into the matter, Town Attorney Chris Spradley said.
Town leaders want an independent source “to research these allegations,” Mayor Rita Crapps said.
That review comes as Lexington County deputies seek Cain’s arrest for failure to pay support of nearly $23,000 for two children, sheriff’s spokesman Maj. John Allard said.
The eight other council members will decide what to do next after Byrd’s report is received, Crapps said.
It’s likely to take at least a month to check out suggestions that Cain no longer lives in the Lexington County community of 5,400 residents as required, Spradley said.
The claim is contained in a petition to other council members from 15 unidentified residents.
“Rumors say he is not living in South Carolina and he certainly is not living in our district,” the petition says. “We have no one to represent us in matters that concern the town.”
That claim is wrong, Cain said in an email.
He is keeping “a low profile” away from town until a lawsuit seeking damages for injuries allegedly suffered during ejection from a council meeting at Crapps’ order in March 2014 is settled, he said.
Cain didn’t say where he is but said he is in “consistent and constant contact” with some town leaders through email.
He still is registered as a voter in the town, county election director Dean Crepes said.
The names of the signers on the petition are blacked out in a copy of the petition made public because “of the situation,” Spradley said.
Cain often is at odds with other town leaders and some residents.
He hasn’t attended council meetings since Oct. 13, missing more than a dozen sessions, officials said.
Cain, 47, has been a councilman for 10 years. He ran unsuccessfully twice for mayor, losing in 2013 to Crapps.
The ouster effort is “just another attempt to silence me,” Cain said.