GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Georgetown County councilman is under investigation for fraud after accusations were made in early January that he does not live in the district he represents.
The county's Board of Voter Registration and Elections is holding a public hearing on Friday to review the residency complaint filed against Councilman James Austin Beard.
Beard as well as those who filed the complaint against him will each have a chance to present their case.
Georgetown County spokesperson Jackie Broach-Akers said they don't have a comment at this time.
“This is strictly an issue for the elections board as council nor administration has no type of oversight or ability to take action on an issue of council member residency,” Broach-Akers said.
When running for office in Georgetown County, a candidate must live in the district they want to represent. But the Georgetown chapter of the NAACP says that Beard is not following that rule.
In January, that chapter, along with other groups including the West End Citizens Council, claimed Beard lives on Huger Street in Georgetown at a house under his new wife's name, when he should be living in Andrews.
They also say he gave a P.O. box as his address which is also not allowed under Georgetown law.
The groups say that when Beard first ran for office, he lived with his wife in Andrews, making him a legal representative of District Five.
They are arguing that the trouble started when he got divorced in 2013. That is when they claim he moved to Georgetown and began using a P.O box address or an address in Andrews that to them wasn't valid.
During Friday’s hearing, the elections board will hear evidence from each side, have a chance to ask questions, and then take a vote on this issue.