Mayor Riley calls political group's actions 'cowardly, full of lies'

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Mayor Joe Riley spoke out against a local political group Tuesday, calling their actions cowardly and full of shameful lies.

The "Citizens For a Better Charleston Group" formed anonymously and Riley says the group has been attacking him on his work as mayor on its two websites.

Riley said during a news conference Tuesday that the group has been spreading lies about him and he is calling for it to come to an end.

Riley said the individuals involved in the mudslinging are the same individuals attacking him on his support for the cruise industry in Charleston.

"They're doing it in opposition to my candidacy. So, I take it seriously," Riley said. "That's why I'm having this press conferences and want the citizens of Charleston to know that the information they may be receiving is untrue."

Riley is up against four opponents in the Charleston mayoral race including William Dudley Gregorie who is seen on the group's website. David Farrow, Craig Jelks and Joshua Kennedy are also running for mayor.

Live 5 News asked a representative of the group "Citizens for a Better Charleston" who they were and which candidate they were supporting. Those questions were not answered, but a representative released the following statement.

"Now that the citizens of Charleston have dared speak out against him, Joe Riley is throwing a fit.

The people of Charleston have Riley Fatigue. They're fed up, they're standing up, and they won't be bullied by Joe Riley into giving up their First Amendment right to speak out.

Citizens for a Better Charleston came together because we're tired of Joe Riley playing favorites, rewarding his contributors and punishing anyone who dares speak out against his policies. The fact that we have engendered so much support in such a short amount of time just underscores that there is widespread dissatisfaction with Joe Riley and his 36-year reign.

That's the real story.

All we seek to do is level the playing field. For years, local citizens and business owners have feared retaliation from Joe Riley for simply speaking out."

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