By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
COLUMBIA — A state lawmaker is calling for a formal audit of a South Carolina Department of Agriculture proposal to pay the state’s Ports Authority chairman millions for private property he owns at the State Farmers Market.
“It was a cooked-up deal,” said developer and state Rep. Ralph Norman, R-York, contending that a recent appraisal of the property owned by Ports Authority Chairman Bill Stern was grossly inflated.
No one is accusing Stern or state Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, who made the proposal to buy Stern’s property, of doing anything illegal.
But in a June email to Weathers, a copy of which Norman provided to The Nerve, Norman described the income figures used in the appraisal as “unsubstantiated,” and the properties used for comparables as “unrealistic,” noting he reviewed the appraisal and interviewed the appraiser.