Horry County Council candidate thought envelope of cash was ‘mysterious campaign contribution’

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Horry County Council District 4 candidate Dick Withington says he will not drop out of the race despite his arrest in connection with allegations he offered to accepts thousands of dollars in bribe money to withdraw.

Withington, Horry County Council District 4 and South Carolina State Senate District 34 candidate, was jailed Tuesday on accusations he offered to accept thousands of dollars from four people to drop out of an upcoming election. In a phone interview Friday with News13, Withington says the allegations are not true and he expects the entire case against him to be dropped.

“I believe the allegations that have been raised are false and we’ll deal with those, and I’m hoping that this whole thing will be dismissed long before there’s any trial,” Withington said.

According to online booking records from J. Reuben Long Detention Center, Richard “Dick” Withington, 72, of Myrtle Beach, was booked into jail Tuesday and is charged with inducement to file for, or withdraw from, candidacy for election.

“This was a sting operation and they stung me before I could sting them, but believe me there’s going to be some more stinging I believe,” predicts Withington.

The candidate went on to explain that he will not let his arrest or the allegation made against him deter his goal of winning the county council seat to be the voice of the people in District 4.

“People are not being represented, my campaign is for the people and residents come first,” says Withington. “I’m staying in the race because I’ve been committed to it for months and there’s no reason not to continue. I still think if the voters look at what I want to do for them and for this county and this district, then I’ll have a pretty good chance at being elected to one or both.”

Withington went on to dismiss any possibility of the state election commission removing his name from the ballot.

“I’ve also confirmed with the state election commission that I will be on the ballot, filed properly, my statement of economic interest is done correctly and there’s not legal reason that the state party in Columbia can not put me on the ballot,” Withington confirms.

Withington (right) at Wednesday's arraignment with his lawyer, Greg McCollum (left).
Withington (right) at Wednesday’s arraignment with his lawyer, Greg McCollum (left).

An Horry County Police incident report documents that Withington contacted four victims and attempted to have each of them pay him $20,000 to drop out of the race for Horry County District 4. The report states that an officer contacted all four victims to make them aware of the investigation and then enlisted the help of one of the potential victims to arrest Withington.

The report states that an officer partnered with an unnamed victim to arrange a meeting with Withington in which the council candidate thought he would be receiving $5,000 from the victim. The meeting was arranged for 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, where Withington accepted an envelope with $5,000 in it, according to the police report, and was subsequently arrested.

“I was in shock. I was just worried that my knees were scraped,” says Withington of his arrest. “I had a little puncture wound to my wrist and the handcuffs were too tight. I was in total shock that I was arrested. I considered this to be some kind of a mysterious campaign contribution.”

The arrest warrant for Withington says the suspect contact four victims and told them “he would accept a bribe from them of $20,000 to drop out of the race for the District 4 County Council Chair.” The warrant goes on to confirm that Withington had filed for candidacy for the race prior to sending the email.

Withington says the only reason he accepted the envelope full of cash was to take it to a lawyer as proof he himself had been bribed.

“I was going to take it to one of the attorneys in town and say ‘look, look I think I’ve been given a bribe. What should we do?'” Withington explains.

In an arraignment Wednesday afternoon, Withington was granted a $10,000 bond and as part of his bond agreement, he can have no contact with victims. Withington was represented by Greg McCollum during his bond hearing and he was released from jail Wednesday.

Withington says he has no reason to worry about the charge against him.

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,” states Withington. “I believe in God and I believe that right prevails.”

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