Solicitor asked to investigate Nibils bid process

Surfside Beach, SC - SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The controversy continues to grow over a popular local restaurant and its future in Surfside Beach.

Mayor Allen Deaton wants answers on the recent bidding process to lease Nibils restaurant. He says it raised a red flag for him when the former town administrator Ed Booth got involved in the bidding process soon after he resigned.

Deaton says he wanted to make sure Booth did not supply any inside information to TV personality Cecil Chandler, who put in a bid for the space.

Deaton asked the Horry County Solicitor to investigate and says the solicitor's office has conducted interviews with town employees.  However, Solicitor Greg Hembree says he can't comment on whether or not there is an investigation is ongoing.

It is such a hot topic in Surfside that someone started a Facebook page named "Surfside Residents Against Cecil Chandler."  The page has almost 200 fans.

Sam Lackey lives in Surfside and hopes Nibils will ultimately win the bid.

"I hope they stay," Lackey said.  "I'm pulling for them to win the bid.  I can remember going there. They've been there for a long time. They're an institution, so I guess I'm pulling for them."

Resident Fred Bellomo says he does think its fair the bidding process is open because the town owns the property.

"It's an open bid, and it's open, that, right there tells you what's going on," Bellomo said.  "Why not? Why can't someone else bid?"

Cecil Chandler could not be reached for comment Thursday. Ed Booth says he welcomes the investigation and hopes other people will also put in bids on the property.

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