The Spartanburg County Transportation Committee is set to review a widening project for Lake Lyman Heights Road following a 7News Investigation.
Every time you fill up your gas tank, 2.66 cents per gallon head back to be split up among the counties. From those funds, Spartanburg County receives around $4 million. 10% of that, or around $400,000 is divvied up among the representatives for the area, depending on their population size. With that money, the representatives can recommend projects to the Spartanburg County Transportation Advisory Committee. These recommended projects are usually within their own district.
This year, Representative Steven Long, in District 37, requested from all of the Spartanburg County Delegation to allocate their leftover road funds for a widening project on Lake Lyman Heights Road. The project is actually located in Representative Rita Alison’s district.
Several legislators tell 7News that it is unusual for Representatives to work on projects outside of their district, without collaborating with the corresponding legislator.
The road is 15-feet-wide, and was on the county’s list to be widened at some point within the next 8 to 10 years. The road dead ends to a new subdivision, Blue Harbor, that was approved in October. Enchanted Construction is building 42 homes on the 24 acre lot. It was not required that the road be widened for the neighborhood to be approved.
5 of the Spartanburg County Delegation allocated their leftover money for the widening project to a total of $181,489. They allocated the following amounts:
Rep. Steven Long: $12,726
Rep. Derham Cole: $13,618
Rep. Josiah Magnuson: $60,750
Rep. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers: $64,395
Rep. Bill Chumley: $30,000
Ryan Kaiser, owner of Enchanted Construction, sent a letter to Spartanburg County’s public works director stating the construction company would donate $100,000 to the project to add to the $181,489 from the “C” funds and the county would add $93,511 from the Steve Beleu infrastructure fund.
Just two months after the widening project was approved by the CTC Advisory and full committee, Kaiser established a new business, Cornerstone Real Estate. Representative Long and his father now work for that business, selling homes build by Enchanted Construction. Long says that he and his father will not be the “listing agent” for any of the homes in Blue Harbor, but they will have the ability to bring buyers to those homes.
As we dug deeper into Long and Kaiser’s relationship. We found that Long purchased a home built by Enchanted Construction in October 2017. Enchanted Construction owns the home, granting Long a 3 year mortgage.
Kaiser also donated $4,000 to Long’s campaign and $3,000 to Rep. Magnuson’s campaign in December of 2017. Kaiser did not donate to any of the other Representatives who allocated their leftover “C” funds to the Lake Lyman Heights Road project. Magnunson told 7News by phone that the reason only Long and himself received the donations, is because they share the same conservative Christian values as Kaiser.
Long states that his relationship with Kaiser has benefited Spartanburg County taxpayers because Kaiser chipped in money on the road widening project.
7News reached out to Kaiser through Enchanted Construction several times, but has not heard back.
The Spartanburg County Transportation Committee is meeting Tuesday evening at 5:30pm at the Spartanburg County Administrative Building in Conference Room 1.
State Law Enforcement confirmed on Monday that they have received documents related to the project and are reviewing them.