A deceased real estate developer who helped transform the Charleston area in the 1990s and early 2000s through its subdivisions and marinas was identified in a plea hearing on December 15 as a co-conspirator in a scheme to defraud a federal low-rental housing program. .

Edward “Butch” Clark conspired with contractor Charles Mincey and others to defraud a federal program that provided money to repair homes owned by low-income people and veterans, federal prosecutor said during Mincey’s plea hearing on December 15.

Wednesday’s disclosure hinted at the potential scope of a federal investigation that has already entangled a former City of Charleston project manager and former Lowcountry bank executive.

Clark was a leading real estate developer who moved from Greenville to Charleston in 1989. In Greenville, he made a name for himself developing some of the community’s most prominent neighborhoods.

In the Charleston area, Clark has developed over 250 subdivisions and three marinas, including Sunset Cay Marina on Folly Beach.

In 1999, Clark and three partners struck a $ 5 million deal to develop homes on Long Island, an uninhabited 143-acre island off the coast of Folly Beach. The plans fell through after state officials rejected Clark’s plans to build a bridge to the island, citing environmental concerns.

Later in his career, Clark started an affordable housing development company, renovating more than 1,000 housing units in the South East.

In 2020, State Senators Sandy Senn and Karl B. Allen proposed to rename the Oak Island Bridge on Folly Road in honor of the developer after his death in 2018. The bill died in committee.

Former Charleston employee admits taking bribes for city contracts

The U.S. Attorney’s Office first disclosed charges in July against Brian D. Herndon, a former project manager with the City of Charleston’s Housing and Community Development Department, accused of accepting bribes. vin to direct home repair contracts to local builders, including Mincey.

Herndon has pleaded guilty to bribery as part of a cooperation deal with federal authorities.

In September, Karl Henry Zerbst Jr., former market chairman of First Reliance and Ameris banks, admitted to participating in a conspiracy to defraud a federal social housing program.

Zerbst falsified information on forms submitted for grants to pay for repairs to homes owned by low-income people and veterans, according to court documents. These programs, administered by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, were supposed to cover the costs of repairs to the roof, flooring, heating and cooling systems, and other projects.

Eligible homeowners could receive up to $ 12,500 each in funds sent by the Bank of Atlanta to local lenders for disbursement.

Zerbst was responsible for selecting the contractor who would carry out the repair work, as well as filing documents with the bank certifying that there were no conflicts of interest between the parties involved.

Former SC banker pleads guilty to defrauding social housing program

But there were conflicts. Mincey admitted during his plea hearing on December 16 that he paid Zerbst 43 times to ensure he got contracts for work done between 2012 and 2019.

Zerbst withdrew $ 250,000 from the program, according to court records.

Mincey pleaded guilty at the conspiracy hearing to five years in prison, a $ 250,000 fine and three years on probation. A plea agreement was filed in the case last month.

None of the defendants was convicted.

To reach Steve Garrison at 843-607-1052. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT.


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