Loris councilman requests forensic audit, claims taxpayer dollars used ‘incorrectly’

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 7:55 PM EDT
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LORIS, S.C. (WMBF) - Loris Councilman Carroll Padgett requested a forensic audit just this week to see if the money from the city’s hospitality tax fund is being spent properly.

Money made from the hospitality tax must be used on tourism-related projects, such as renovating cultural buildings, maintaining beach accesses or even road upgrades.

Padgett said he believes $1.45 million from the city’s hospitality tax fund were incorrectly used. He claims no one on the Loris City Council was aware of this money being spent or agreed to it.

“The council has to authorize the spending of the money, you can’t just decide oh that’s a good project,” Padgett said.

Padgett said he learned that some of that money was used to pay off certain loans and other city projects.

One is a mural on Duncan Street he claims that money wasn’t supposed to go toward it.

Loris Mayor, Todd Harrelson, however, said he disagrees.

“Hospitality can go into streetscape, it can go into these lights, our baseball fields, to our storefronts. To things that make people want to come to Loris and visit Loris,” he said.

Councilman Padgett said the entire audit could be completed in less than two months.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.