Figures, phone calls revealed to jury in Pinson case - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Figures, phone calls revealed to jury in Pinson case


Demond Pearson, a friend from Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin's past, testified Monday in the Jonathan Pinson trial.

According to Pearson, Benjamin convinced him to invest $50,000 in the Village at River's Edge project with a promise he'd double that amount. Pearson went on to refinance his home to come up with the money in 2007, but he only received a fraction of the money after three years.

With no answers from Benjamin, Pearson said he eventually threatened to give that information that Benjamin's mayoral re-election opponent last year. But Pearson said Benjamin finally came up with the rest of the cash paying the final installment three weeks ago.

But Pearson was just one of the witnesses to take the stand to confirm the messy business dealing with Pinson and his friends.

Recorded phone calls between Pinson and a prosecution witness were played for the jury Monday afternoon.

Among the topics of discussion in the phone calls were how much was being paid to contractors and others involved in projects including the Village at River's Edge housing complex in Columbia.

Figures that were exchanged ranged from the tens to even hundreds of thousands of dollars were talked about as well as calculations that often center on how big the cut will be for Pinson and his partners.

"Is it fair," a prosecutor said, "to suggest you could not figure out how much you were keeping and how much you were paying out?"

Those numbers, said Phillip Mims, were "a moving target."

Earlier in the day, LaSonya White took the stand to testify.White was hired to sell three dozen homes in the project. But White's remarks also point out how chaotic the building scheme was.

According to White, none of the homes were built not even models and they were priced as high as $156,000. However, they were located next to subsidized or low income house in a less desirable part of Columbia.

With Monday's testimonies complete, the government seems to be more than halfway through its case. As of now, there is still no indication whether Benjamin will testify.

But there is still a long way to go with both Pinson's defense and that of co-defendant Eric Robinson.

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