WINNSBORO — The Friday edition of the Herald Independent contains a story on allegations of County Administrator Phil Hinely using his county computer to view and send pornographic emails, allegations that have surfaced some three years after the alleged activity took place. Hinely told the Herald Independent that in 2010 “questionable adult material” was emailed to him by a friend, and up until 2010 he had some of it on his county computer.
The story of Hinely’s activity may reveal more, since WIS-TV reporter Jody Barr was informed one of the options required for him to have access to all of Hinely’s emails, some 5,000, of them would be to pay the county $29,395 in legal fees and copying fees. That solution to Barr’s request for access to the documents did not sit well with Bill Rogers an attorney with the South Carolina Press Association.
“This represents outrageous abuse of the Freedom of Information Act. My rule is the bigger the secret, the more they charge for you to see it,” Rogers said. “These are public documents and the public should be allowed to view them for free. The law does not allow for the county to charge for the time a lawyer takes to review the documents. Citizens should be outraged. This is a total abuse of power. There may be things they need to redact, but it should not cost $30,000. This is one of the more outrageous bills I have seen in over 25 years.”
For more information, see Friday’s edition of The Herald Independent.