The mysterious attack on the Gergels

A few days ago, I was sent this PDF file, which was attached to an e-mail that proclaimed, "Belinda Gergel Lies on Ethics Report." The accusation of lying, as near as I can determine, is unsupported, and therefore reprehensible. (The e-mail was forwarded to me by a Brian Boyer supporter who was unable to tell me where it originated.)

What you will see if you call up the document is that it includes scans of a lot of documents, including Belinda Gergel‘s SEC filing that explains that her husband is the president of Gergel, Nickles and Solomon, P.A., but under "Income and Benefits from State and Local Agencies in South Carolina" for the past year, cites only pay that she received for part-time teaching at the College of Charleston.

The implication is that she and/or her husband received income from work that Richard Gergel’s law firm did for the city. Richard Gergel answers the charge this way:

        This document is floating around as part of a smear campaign against Belinda.   There is no secret that I have done legal work for the city for many years, just like I have done for many other governmental agencies in S.C. including the Governor, the Supreme Court, the Budget and Control Board, the State Retirement System and the Workers Compensation Commission.
        When Belinda decided to run, we resolved that I would cease all work for the city once she was elected.  I realized last October that I had no outstanding projects with the city and thought it was a good time to cut off any further work on my part.  I wrote Council and have done no work for the city since that time.  We also arranged that any work done by other members of my firm would be under a legal entity in which I have no financial interest and even with that Belinda would recuse herself from all votes relating to those legal services.
        Further, the smear states that the firm has paid an "estimated" rate of $300 per hour.  Where do they get these things?  The firm has never been paid more than $140 per hour for legal work, which is a significant discount from our normal hourly rate.
        I suspect this is just the beginning of the smear that will come over the next two weeks.  Makes you wonder why you would ever seek to run for public office.  You live an entire life of honor and integrity and have a bunch of folks hiding behind the anonymity of the internet  to smear you.   If they have something important to say, why are they insisting on communicating anonymously?

    Richard Gergel

No one has come forward to defend the attack. When they do. I’ll be glad to present you with that argument as well.

A footnote: Richard Gergel does not know exactly where the PDF originated, but he did share with me something he had obtained: "the original FIOA request from a Charleston law firm seeking information on my legal work with the city." Here is a PDF , provided by Mr. Gergel, of that FOI request.

Mr. Gergel notes that:

The letter is dated May 2, 2007 but the fax transmittal of the firm indicates that it was sent May 7, 2007.  Belinda began telling people she was considering the race in late April 2007 and the first press mention of her candidacy was May 3, 2007.  These guys have been cooking this thing up from the moment she began her candidacy but have apparently been holding the smear back until late, apparently hoping to do it at a time and in a manner that Belinda could not defend herself.

Anybody who has other thoughts to share on this subject — and especially anyone who can add to our knowledge of the document’s origins — this would be the place to share.

12 thoughts on “The mysterious attack on the Gergels

  1. billy clyde

    well, don’t you think – if we are to believe that this accounting is correct – it sort of smells that her husband’s law firm pocieted more than 400,000 during the last 5 years and now she’s running for council?
    will that firm give up the contract so as not to break nepotism laws if she is elected?

  2. Lee Muller

    Did Bob Coble give up his clients who did business with the city, like SCE&G, who ran the bus service?

  3. Sonny Burnette

    Gosh, somebody floated an anonymous hit piece? In politics? I don’t hardly believe it.
    Can the allegations of anti-semitism be far behind?

  4. C. N.

    Who do politicians take us for?? Do they really think we voters will fall for this type of SMEAR TACTIC? Why can’t Boyer’s supporters just stick to the issues? Geez, this isn’t high school.

  5. Liz

    Disgusting. Why can’t Boyer’s people stick to the issues? If he had questions, how many public debates and meetings have there been, for goodness sakes?? Making these claims (which appear to be completely false)in an effort to confuse voters at the last minute is reprehensible. I agree with you, Brad. Very poor judgment.

  6. M. Miller

    Smear tactics like this are employed to divert the public gaze away from an inferior candidate, in this case Brian Boyer, by attacking the character of a more qualified candidate, in this case Belinda Gergel. They are indeed reprehensible, but my question is this: If The State newspaper ran a headline that read “Belinda Gergel Lied on Ethics Report” and those charges were completely false, wouldn’t a libel suit be entirely justified? Shouldn’t the same slander and libel laws apply to blogs and web sites? How do you hold a person who circulates smears such as these accountable?

  7. John

    This must be the follow-on to the failed effort by The Pulse to question Ms. Gergel’s integrity on the issues (safe streets, sound fiscal management, preserving the quality of life in our neighborhoods) by calling her a liberal and wondering aloud how could a liberal possibly support such a sound, centrist agenda of municipal priorities. That didn’t work so now they want to go after her personal integrity. That won’t work either. The people who know Belinda know that she has always and will always conduct herself to the highest standards of public service.

  8. rbm

    There are folks who are clearly very desperate to salvage the Boyer campaign after his recent “party incident” and resulting police report. Perhaps they’ve realized that just because the matter was “settled,” it still represents an alarming lack of mature judgement and restraint for an aspiring government official. A few folks are so invested in Boyer’s campaign, they’ll apparently say anything to detract from the candidate who is obviously more qualified and prepared for public office. Belinda’s broad base of supporters (who actually live and vote in the district) have no doubts or reservations about the Gergel’s personal conduct or ethics. They are well-known and very respected in our community.

  9. west_rhino

    How long before ties to Columbia Organic Chemical’s old site behind Cedar Terrace Shopping Center are added to the speculations and howlings. Not that they are relevant, just that Max had a share in the company…

  10. Fredrick

    I can’t believe any honorable person would want association with the City of Columbia.
    The Gergles are “Columbia Insiders”…and Boyer wants the same title.
    A pox on all their houses…

  11. Jimmy

    The fact is, Lexington-based Starboard Communications is Brian Boyer’s lead consultant. According to his SEC filings, he’s been paying Columbia-based Campaign Research & Strategy to be his consulting firm. Whether CRS is laundering his consulting money is unknown, but the fact that it’s going to Starboard makes a lot more sense, since this smear first appeared on SCHotline.
    Considering that Mike Green helped start SCHotline with Jeffrey Sewell, and he’s now at Starboard, the dots begin to connect. As does the fact that CRS regularly advertises on the Web site. So, the questions should be, what’s Sewell’s role, and what is the extent of cooperation between CRS and Starboard and the Boyer campaign?

  12. Steven

    “Why can’t Boyer’s people stick to the issues? If he had questions, how many public debates and meetings have there been, for goodness sakes??”
    I think you are confused. The article states that the PDF came from one of “Boyer’s supporters.” It doesn’t state that it came from Boyer himself or anyone employed by his campaign, and was sent anonymously. Whether the documents being released had any connection at all from Boyer is undetermined. I could send a similar email out anonymously to Mr. Warthen and claim I was a Gergel supporter, but that doesn’t mean my anonymous emails are being sent on her behalf.
    It is a little ignorant to say this was sent by “Boyer’s people” without more information.

Comments are closed.