City of Columbia economic development director fired; accused of embezzlement

Wayne Emerson Gregory, Jr is charged with embezzlement of public funds/City of Columbia

COLUMBIA (WACH) â?? 36-year old Wayne Emerson Gregory, Jr, has been fired by the city of Columbia.

The cityâ??s former Economic Development Director was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with embezzling public funds.

Authorities say Gregory committed the crime while serving as Economic Development Director of Georgetown County.

According to the Georgetown County Sheriffâ??s Office, it was notified by the
Georgetown County Administratorâ??s Office concerning a number of fraudulent purchases made by then economic director Wayne Gregory. An investigation later revealed that between January 2010 and September 2013, Gregory did use a Georgetown County purchasing card to misappropriate funds from Georgetown County.

Gregory is accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from the county.

Georgetown County investigators traveled to Columbia on Tuesday and arrested Gregory at his home. Gregory is currently being taken to the Georgetown County Detention to await a bond hearing.

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson issued a statement following Gregoryâ??s arrest. It says in part:

â??While employed with the City Of Columbia, Wayne Gregory served as the Economic Development Director. Mr. Gregory started working for the City of Columbia on September 3, 2013 and was terminated today, April 1, 2014. As of today, Ryan Coleman will be the Acting Economic Development Director and will serve in that role until further notice. Mr. Coleman serves as the City of Columbiaâ??s Development and Business Manager in the Economic Development Department. Mr. Coleman has been employed with the City of Columbia since 2006 and has held previous positions in the Office of Business Opportunities as the Small Business Liaison and in the Economic Development Department as a Business Liaison. â??