COLUMBIA (AP) — A former South Carolina county’s councilwoman, accused of paying for vacations and shopping sprees with taxpayers’ money, has been temporarily barred from practicing law.
The South Carolina Supreme Court, in an order posted Tuesday, suspended ex-Richland County Councilwoman Dalhi Myers’ law license following her indictment on Dec. 17 on 24 charges, including embezzlement, news outlets reported. She is listed as being “Not in good standing” and under “interim suspension” without a specified length of time, the order said.
She is barred from working as an attorney “until further order of this court,” wrote Chief Justice Don Beatty, who appointed another attorney to take over her clients’ cases.
Her attorney, in a statement Tuesday, called the court’s suspension normal procedure based solely on the indictment.
An interim suspension of a law license occurs “when any lawyer is indicted for a felony or what the Court defines as a ‘serious crime,’ ” read the statement from Desa Ballard, an attorney representing Myers on the professional disciplinary matter but not the criminal charges.
“The Court has made no review or analysis of the merits of the accusation” against Myers, she said, adding that her client “maintains her innocence on all charges.”
Myers graduated from Howard Law School in 1995, according to the South Carolina Bar. The state’s bar admitted her in 2002. She specialized in business law.
The state grand jury indicted Myers on charges that included embezzlement and using her position for personal gain, news outlets reported. The 24-page indictment details $27,000 in public funds that prosecutors said Myers spent on herself since March 2018.
Myers used her county issued credit card to take a trip to Greece, travel to Detroit, pay for family to go to Illinois and stay in a resort hotel in Nashville, according to an indictment. She also spent taxpayer money on everyday expenses like her phone bill, phone repairs and items at department stores.
Asked in June to reimburse the county, she wrote a $27,000 check that bounced and later denied fault and blamed county officials for not better monitoring her card, a state attorney said. She knew the money wasn’t in her account, according to state prosecutors.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the corruption case against Myers, who was elected to Richland County Council District 10 in 2016.
District 10 covers the majority of Lower Richland, including Eastover, Gadsden and Hopkins. Myers, whose term was set to end Dec. 31, was removed from office two weeks early by Gov. Henry McMaster. The Republican governor appointed Cheryl English, who defeated Myers in the Democratic primary and was set to replace her Jan. 1.