Thad Westbrook of Nelson Mullins, Cor...

Thad Westbrook of Nelson Mullins, Corruption Alleged, USC Board of Trustees

Posted in the Columbia Forum


Sims, NC

#1 Mar 7, 2014
Corruption On USC Board Alleged, Thad Westbrook, William Hubbard, and John von Lehe, Jr.
Three University of South Carolina trustees, including Thad Westbrook, have been accused by fellow board members – and state lawmakers – of improperly steering tens of millions of dollars in business to a developer who has done business with their law firm.
One of the trustees – William Hubbard – is a former chairman of the USC board. Another – John von Lehe, Jr.– is the board’s current vice chairman. The third trustee is Thad Westbrook, is a political appointee who was embroiled in a major controversy last year when he failed to report $134,000 in campaign contributions sent to S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson.
All three men are partners at the powerful Nelson Mullins law firm – which represents Holder Properties, Inc., the Atlanta-based company which received the contracts.
Naturally all three of these men were smart enough to avoid personally voting on these contracts, right? Right?
Um, no.
In fact two of them – Hubbard and von Lehe – currently serve on the University’s executive committee, which unilaterally approves small dollar contracts (and recommends the approval of larger dollar projects to the full board).
One of these projects? A $94.5 million student apartment complex approved for Holder Properties by the full USC board on January 16 of this year. Not only did all three Nelson Mullins trustees vote in favor of the deal, Thad Westbrook, William Hubbard, and John von Lehe, Jr., Hubbard and von Lehe’s committee actually presented the recommendation to the board asking that it be approved. Hell, von Lehe is listed in the minutes of the USC board meeting as calling for a second to approve the committee’s motion.
In other words, not only did they fail to recuse themselves from voting on the deal – Thad Westbrook, William Hubbard, and John von Lehe, Jr., actively shepherded it through the approval process.
That’s shameless, people …
Neither the student apartment contract – nor a separate $25 million office building deal that also went to Holder Properties – were bid competitively. And our legislative sources tell us this is “just the beginning” of self-serving behavior demonstrated by these three trustees.
Holder told us that his company used Nelson Mullins in 2012 on a development project in Columbia.
Holder’s company also developed the Meridian building in downtown Columbia, S.C., where Nelson Mullins offices are located.
Sure looks like Hubbard, von Lehe and Thad Westbrook just put on one heck of an audition to get additional business from Holder …
Shady behavior is nothing new for Hubbard, von Lehe and Thad Westbrook. Three years ago lawmakers were forced to file legislation in response to his unethical self-serving actions as a member of the board.
Amazingly, Hubbard held onto his job …
Hubbard, von Lehe and Thad Westbrook did not return calls seeking comment on this story. Neither did University of South Carolina spokesman, Wes Hickman.

Sims, NC

#2 Mar 8, 2014
Nelson Mullins is a billing factory, especially as it comes to government billings. Partners like Westbrook who is Alan Wilson's cash cow, and former Speaker Wilkins, who is Haley's mr. Fix-it and entrée into big donors, are expert in trading cash and favors for eval work.

These firms also serve as "laundries" for large agencies and authorities like Ports Authority, Santee Cooper, the Universities, etc, The Government pays money to the law firms and then they pay the bills for the government…this is primarily money going to friends, associates, etc of the government high ups.

I have seen this done a hundred times. It is so easy.

Sims, NC

#3 Mar 8, 2014
I am close to the USC Development Foundation, the "partner" with the developer Mr. holder of Atlanta.

I was told, after a few drinks that loosened my close friend up a bit, that this was one of the biggest pay days ever for the Foundation and the associated insiders. I was also told, and this is the shocking part, that some of the insiders were shocked at the deal and there was worry that a deal so rich would bring the whole house down.

I was floored. This is certainly worth watching.

Sims, NC

#4 Mar 8, 2014
When you talk with those 3 Nelson Mullins trustees, ask them how much each of them makes each month on that "legal discovery" lawyer sweatshop they are running over there in the old Richland Fashion Mall. They have more than one hundred - some licensed, most not licensed - "lawyers" working for $17 an hour. These "lawyers" make less than any of the comparable lawyer sweatshops in the South. In Atlanta, in a similar situation, the lawyers make 45-50 an hour for this type work. Nelson Mullins partners make at least a million a month on whatever they are doing. I guess it's legitimate and I am probably just jealous I am not getting a piece of it. They should provide benefits for these contract lawyers, however.

Sims, NC

#5 Mar 9, 2014
"They should be disbarred if attorneys and removed from the Board of Trustees. That is an example of an incredible abuse of power. They thumbed their noses at the law as officers of the court (if attorneys), their duty to USC, taxpayers, and the State of SC. Removed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Civil actions by USC as well against them. This is just another play from the manual of a too cozy relationship between lobbyist, law firms, legislators, and big money contractors wanting to line their pockets. This runs contrary to FREE MARKET ENTERPRISE!"

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