Some Horry County Council candidates have a criminal past - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Some Horry County Council candidates have a criminal past

Oliver "Bubba" Owens Oliver "Bubba" Owens
Keith VanWinkle Keith VanWinkle

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Since sitting down with each of the five candidates running in the primary for the District 3 seat on Horry County Council, WMBF News Anchor Lisa Gresci decided to do some homework, so voters wouldn’t have to. 

First, WMBF News hit Horry County court's Public Index and searched each candidate.

When looking for Oliver "Bubba" Owens, we found 13 cases, listing guilty, pled guilty, or guilty bench trial on charges including obscene use of a telephone, harassment, criminal domestic violence, business license, and hospitality fee violations.

Next, we requested a SLED criminal background check on each candidate. Three candidates came back with no criminal history. These candidates are Bob Kelly, Ethan Leyshon and Jimmy Washington.

Keith VanWinkle's public index showed one criminal conviction and it was for littering. His background check also showed a traffic conviction for disregarding a stop sign.

Owens' showed four charges. Two were misdemeanor convictions. One for unlawful use of a telephone and another for public disorderly conduct.

WMBF News Anchor Lisa Gresci asked Owens about his past during a sit down interview on Monday.

“I'm just going to keep an open door. An open door policy, I'm more than happy to sit down with anybody and talk to them face to face if they want to talk to me, on any issue. My past, everybody has a past… they even pulled up speeding tickets you know. There's no zero tolerance for nothing people do make mistakes,” Owens said.

Wednesday, WMBF News Anchor Lisa Gresci called Owens and told him about the findings through the public index. Unable to meet her in person, he sent over this statement.

“After a month and a half of trying, an opponent of mine has finally gotten a news media outlet to bite on my public index history. I have been convicted of two misdemeanor charges, one ten years and the other twenty years old. Having been born and lived here all of my life, my skeletons are available on the local public index. I haven't picked up and moved hundreds of miles away to run for elective office. I have been a businessman in District 3 my entire adult life. Like any businessman, there are good and bad periods and legal action is a part of being in business. If having suffered some setbacks in business is viewed as a disqualification for public office, then Donald Trump and several candidates in the current Myrtle Beach city election should be disqualified as well.I have tried to be above attacking my opponents in this election. It seems to me that a person who has nothing good to say about himself must resort to spreading what he believes are bad things about his opponents,” Owens said.

At the end of Monday’s interview, it's worth noting, Owen's did acknowledge his past.

“I wouldn't be running for this if I wasn't a different person today,” Owens said. 

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