Whistleblower: He has bragged about having sexual relations in the bathroom at the job
COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Sexual harassment, bullying and a long line of nepotism are what a whistleblower says the Executive Director brings to the Richland County Recreation Commission. A person with ties to the commission spoke exclusively with WACH FOX News and The State newspaper, saying they and many others are scared for their lives.
"We're scared. I mean, we've heard that he carries a gun in the office.. so we're.. we never know when he will flip and turn on us because he has said many times that if he goes down, he's taking all of us with him."
The whistleblower says Executive Director James Brown III has been making threats for at least two years, but they have gotten worse since the first of multiple lawsuits were filed.
"He has bragged about having sexual relations in the bathroom at the job, and he's also bragged saying he only needs to throw fifty dollars to certain people- you know, out of his pocket, to get what he wants."
The whistleblower says people at the commission are having trouble doing their jobs, and the agency is suffering because of it.
"The people he puts in these positions have no clue what they need to do, and they are even told they don't have to do anything. So other people have to take on major responsibilities just to keep up with what he does."
Brown's daughter, brother, son's girlfriend and her father work for the commission. His son was fired Wednesday after being arrested on drugs and weapon charges last month. According to the whistleblower, Brown promoted his girlfriend recently to the Director of HR, and they say that has only helped his case as SLED and the FBI have been investigating the agency.
"The only time the FBI came to the office, they went straight to the Chief of Staff and to our HR."
The unidentified person says they believe nepotism is giving Brown and others their job safety.
"I've been right there when he has made comments and have said 'well I've got that board wrapped around my finger."
The whistleblower says in the last year, about fifteen people have been fired- most of them in retaliation for speaking out against him.
"He thinks it's a joke, and he thinks he's the most powerful black man in South Carolina, and he has said that and said that he knows he can get away with anything."
Although the whistleblower says they want Brown removed from the commission, they fear what could happen next.
"Let's say he did get suspended or get fired. I think he would take it out on us. We were talking about one day even, in reality, how would we escape from him?"
The Richland County Legislative Delegation sent a letter to the board of commissioners last week advising them to suspend Brown with pay until the investigations are complete. The Recreation Commission's next meeting is scheduled for July 18th.