SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – It's a small restaurant with a large number of supporters.
That was clear Monday when a Surfside Town Council meeting full of Nibils fans showed up to see who would be bidding on the site of the restaurant.
When the crowd learned Cecil LLC, backed by Cecil Chandler, was the other bidder, they were not very happy.
Surfside Mayor Allen Deaton couldn't make a decision on who would get the bid because he said both bids were incomplete.
"Nibils did not submit a bid. They submitted a cover letter with a previous lease," Mayor Deaton said.
He says you have to meet 21 criteria. Deaton says Cecil LLC fell short in other ways.
"There was some financial information missing," he said.
But some question why the town of Surfside Beach decided to ask for bids in the first place.
"It's nothing but big money taking over," James Braswell said.
Nibils manager Jack Cahill has operated at the Surfside Pier for 22 years. But since the Town of Surfside bought the pier two years ago, town law says they have to make public buildings available to other businesses to be fair.
WMBF News also learned former Surfside Town Administrator Ed Booth, who resigned last month, is considering investing with Cecil LLC.
"He's after the money like the rest of them. That's why he's where he is now and doing what's he doing," Braswell said.
Mayor Deaton says he knows nothing about it.
"We're following the letter of the law," Mayor Deaton said. "There's no underhanded stuff going on here or back room deals or anything of that nature. We're just following the letter of the law."
He also says if anyone feels this is all part of some political game, they should look to Nibils.
"I think they have raised an excellent campaign on their side and that's very political, so I think the political maneuvering has been on the other side," he said.
Mayor Deaton says both bidders will have to re-submit a bid and he hopes Surfside Town Council can make a decision in no more than 60 days.