Robert Miller, a longtime member of the Charleston Transportation Committee, was replaced by lawmakers on Wednesday after “offensive comments on Facebook” were brought to the attention of local members of the state Senate.

State Sen. Larry Grooms tells the City Paper that Miller, of Mt. Pleasant, denied making the posts and told him and state Sen. Marlon Kimpson on Wednesday that his Facebook page was “hacked.” Miller subsequently removed some of the posts, Grooms said, “but nonetheless, he was replaced today as a member of the Charleston Transportation Committee.”

State senators from Charleston County have approved former Mt. Pleasant town councilman Paul Gawrych to assume the position, Grooms says. Miller’s term on the board, which he had held since 2005, had already expired and he was serving in a carryover capacity, Grooms clarified.

In a tweet yesterday, one of the members of the delegation that voted to oust Miller, state Sen. Marlon Kimpson posted screenshots of racially-charged Facebook updates describing former President Barack Obama using a racial slur.

“That’s all I needed to see,” Grooms said, referring to the post depicting President Obama. [embed-3]
“With people like Bobby Miller making decisions impacting our communities, its [sic] no wonder we have large racial disparities in Charleston,” Kimpson said in a tweet yesterday. On her own account, Sen. Margie Bright Matthews alleged that Miller called U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham “the ‘f’ word.”

Miller has served in “various capacities” for 20 years, Grooms said, and that he “apologized for putting the delegation in a position to act like we did today.”

“We’ve been looking for folks in the woods with robes and hoods, while he sits in plain view spewing hate from the CTC,” Kimpson tweeted.
[embed-1]In a statement, Charleston Democratic Party leader Brady Quirk-Garvan also called on state and local Republican parties to denounce Miller and remove him from leadership positions in the Charleston County Republican Party.

Charleston County Republican Party Chairman Larry Kobrovsky told the City Paper that he’s not friends with Miller on Facebook and hadn’t seen the posts in question, but that “it’s unacceptable to have someone like that representing us in any capacity.”

Kobrovsky said he was reviewing the rules to determine if he had the power to remove Miller as a precinct captain.

Efforts to reach Miller on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.