Thomas Legare Jr., former Republican County Council candidate and co-owner of Legare Farms on Johns Island, has been found guilty of failure to timely file an initial campaign disclosure report, according to documents from the S.C. State Ethics Commission. Legare faces a possible $6,500 fine, unless he pays the commission $1,500 within 90 days.
When reached for comment Thursday, Legare said he was unaware of any fine, but called the ruling, “Typical South Carolina politics.”
The complaint against Legare was first filed by Brady Quirk-Garvan, Charleston County Democratic Party chairman, in June 2014. Since that time, the Ethics Commission found that Legare filed three reports, including his Statement of Economic Interest and pre-election Campaign Disclosure Report, after deadline, but the documents were submitted three days prior to the commission receiving the complaint.
According to court documents, Legare told investigators in July 2014 that his Statement of Economic Interest was late because he “erroneously pressed the save button rather than the file button on his computer.”
Legare further stated to investigators that he was unaware that he needed to file both an initial Campaign Disclosure Report and a pre-election report. The commission’s findings state that since Legare was a candidate for both a primary and general election in 2010 and pre-filed disclosure reports for each, he was aware of the requirements to file these forms.
Commission members held a hearing in August to consider the findings of the investigation. Legare did not attend, but court documents say that a notice of the hearing was mailed to his address and he was called several times by investigators in the days leading up to the trial. These calls were never returned.
Legare says he hasn’t been able to receive voicemails on his phone in a year and was unaware of the charges against him.
“This is news to me. I didn’t know anything about it,” he says. “They can’t very well have a hearing without me.”
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