MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A lawsuit filed last week by Myrtle Beach resident Karon Mitchell claims the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce played favorites by providing more money to eight "crony companies" because of their ties to the Chamber.
Every year, the Chamber provides companies money from the Tourism Development Fee, the Myrtle Beach Accommodations Tax Fee and the Horry County Accommodations Tax Fee. The lawsuit claims those eight companies received more money than others because people in those companies either used to work for the Chamber or currently work for the Chamber.
But are the claims made in the lawsuit accurate? WMBF News looked into public records to find out.
The lawsuit says each company received a certain amount of money over the last three years. WMBF News fact checked by looking at records kept on the Chamber's website.
For the most part, the claims in the lawsuit were fairly accurate. While there were discrepancies between the claims in the lawsuit and WMBF News' findings, most of them weren't too far off. There was one large discrepancy, however.
The lawsuit claims the company Visibility and Conversions, LLC received about $28 million over the last three years. WMBF News' investigation revealed the actual number was just over $4 million.
While there's no way to prove whether the Chamber provided the money to the companies solely because of connections to the Chamber, the Chamber announced it will hold a news conference on the lawsuit Tuesday at 1 p.m.