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The Emperor has no clothes

A Column by the Editor
web posted February 5, 2009
COLUMN – As news reports document the continued problems at Mt. Vintage and the empty promises by Bettis Rainsford to those purchasing lots and the comments in the Wandering Minds Section has come under fierce attack by Mr. Rainsford, (my replyMayor Ken Durham, (my reply) and supporters of Mr. Rainsford. They tout the many good things that Mr. Rainsford has done for our county. Don’t ask me why, but the song by Janet Jackson, “What have you done for me lately,” just popped into my head.

I can tell you what Mt. Vintage and Bettis Rainsford has done for me lately; they have provided an unparalleled amount of news that is being read far beyond the Edgefield County borders. I am getting email from across the southeast regarding the stories and the situation that is taking place. I have even been contacted from readers “up north”.

That is a good thing for EdgefieldDaily.com, but it is a very bad thing for our county and how we are perceived by others.

Some want to blame me personally for airing our dirty laundry out for others to see. Well, quite honestly, I’m not the one that soiled the diaper – I’m just the one that points out the baby needs changing. Excuse me for caring.

My wife collects birdhouses in our kitchen. They line the walls, counter tops, windowsills, and are above our cabinets. One reminds me of Bettis Rainsford. It is a cat with the mouth of the cat as the entrance, a sort of feline Hotel California where you can check out but never leave.

Aside from my personal view of Bettis Rainsford, what has he done for the county lately?

He has taken up a majority of the time of the county council dealing with dissatisfied property owners who complain that the county has not enforced its laws when it came to Mt. Vintage and their dissatisfaction of the lack of interest by the county council to rectify the situation.

That is bad enough. But now, because of the same empty promises by Bettis Rainsford, the county has now been named as a defendant in a legal action seeking damages. Gee, thanks Bettis, way to go.

As if our county does not have enough problems dealing with budget shortfalls, we now have to expend funds to defend against a lawsuit that is directly the fault of Rainsford’s “empty promises” and “misrepresentations” since 2006.

The county council has voted to require a performance bond from Mt. Vintage Development LLC to finish the required infrastructure at the “New Nine”, but what fool will issue a bond they know would be called due at the time it was issued? Hint – nobody.

It was proper for the county council to “request” the bond, but in reality it was a moot point. There will be no bond in my opinion. What the county needs to do is request that the 150% cost of completion of the infrastructure be delivered to the county in cash so that the work can be performed with proper oversight.

Of course, we’d have to hire someone to oversee that project as those responsible to oversee it was done in the first place were abject failures in performing their duties. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

I would also like to point out the arrogance of Bettis Rainsford for not attending the past meeting of the county council when he knew they would be addressing the problems he and his company created in this county. I guess he was too busy dealing with the $660,000 lien and the pending foreclosure on over $10 million in loans to be bothered with having to answer tough questions.

County Council Chairman Monroe Kneece and County Attorney Buzzy Bird wanted to lay all the blame on Rainsford and Mt. Vintage and informed those who were implying they were going to sue to look beyond the county saying that their problems were not the result or culpability of the county.   

I guess that the most recent court filing suggests otherwise.

Who will be the fall guy for the county? Will it be former County Administrator Wayne Adams who had his head so far up Bettis’ butt that when he sneezed Bettis farted? No.

Will it be Howard Gibson, the former Building and Planning Director who was the puppet of Adams who was to assure Mt. Vintage Development complied with the laws? No.

Will the county seek to find an innocent victim to be the scapegoat rather than admit their incompetence? Absolutely.

The sad part is the person responsible for all of it, in my opinion, is the one person who did not find it necessary to attend a meeting about his actions – Bettis Rainsford. How far will the majority of the county council go to protect their chosen one? The one they see as the giver of all things good for the county.
The house of cards has begun to fall and the dominoes have been aligned. How much this will cost the county is incalculable at this point. However, Bettis Rainsford and his layers of LLC’s at Mt. Vintage will escape the brunt of the costs. I believe we, the taxpayers, will absorb the burden.

I hope I am wrong, but I fear I am correct.


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