Georgetown council member under investigation for fraud

Georgetown NAACP accuses Georgetown council member of fraud

GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - A Georgetown Council member is under investigation for fraud after a Georgetown election commission meeting on Wednesday night.

There will be a hearing concerning the investigation within the next 10 days.

On Tuesday night, the Georgetown chapter of the NAACP went to the county council meeting to confront the council and council member James Austin Beard about his possible fraudulent activity when filing for office.

When running for office in Georgetown County, the candidate must live in the district they want to represent. But the Georgetown chapter of the NAACP says that Councilman James Austin Beard is not following that rule.

They claimed he lives on Huger Street in Georgetown at the house under his new wife’s name, when he should be living in Andrews.

When Beard filed to run for office in 2016, he gave a P.O. box as his residing address which is also not allowed under Georgetown law.

Beside the P.O. box address on his file for candidacy is a handwritten address for a home in Andrews, but Marvin Neal with the NAACP says that home is vacant and has been for a while.

“They have to show bills in the district and there’s no evidence of him paying utility in Andrews,” said Wesley Gibson, a member of the NAACP Executive Board and a member of the Citizens for Progress Group.

The group says that when Beard first ran for office, he lived with his wife in Andrews, making him a legal representative of District Five.

They say the trouble started when he got divorced in 2013. That is when they claim he moved to Georgetown, but began using a P.O box address or an address in Andrews that to them never had a valid paper trail.

“If he lived in District Five, it can be easily proven tonight. Bring a cable bill, electric bill, a lease, bring anything to prove you live in that district,” said Marvin Neal, the NAACP Georgetown Chapter president.

When the group arrived at the monthly council meeting they didn’t see Beard in attendance and the councilman’s chair remained empty through the entirety of the meeting.

“I hope that James Austin beard will do the right thing, step down, take his name out for chairmen, and resign,” Gibson says.

Live 5 News called, emailed, and went to the listed Andrews address and the Huger Street address in attempt to get answers, but got no reply or answer at the door.

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