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Attorney sends ‘cease and desist’ letter to BOOST

October 23, 2009

Attorney sends ‘cease and desist’ letter to BOOST
By Mola Lenghi

An attorney for two men who say they’ve had their reputations tarnished
by a Myrtle Beach business organization over campaign donations, says
he’s sent a cease and desist order to the organization that orders the
group called “BOOST” to stop making further claims about the donations. 

BOOST President Robert Kelly told NewsChannel 15 Friday that they have
received the cease and desist letter and turned it over to their
attorneys. He said BOOST has no further comment on the issue until they
hear back from their attorneys.

At issue, 24 campaign contributions of $1,000 each to Myrtle Beach Mayor
John Rhodes and the incumbent city council candidates, among others. The
group Business Owners Organized to Save Tourism has alleged the
donations somehow came from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
and were funneled through businesses.

The attorney, Karl Bowers, represents Brant Branham, the chairman of the
board of directors for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and
Shep Guyton, the former chairman. Bowers said the attacks made by BOOST
against Branham and Guyton “have been irresponsible and sad.”

BOOST has questioned if the money came from chamber advertising dollars.
They’ve also asked about the status of some of the businesses that made
donations, saying they were shell businesses created to distribute
campaign funds.

At Friday’s news conference, Bowers said BOOST’s claims are false. He
added that the LLC’s in question are all legitimate business entities,
that none of the contributions were associated with the chamber of
commerce, and that no public funds were used.

“These attacks have sullied the reputations of our elected officials.
It’s not just attacks on Mr. Branham or Mr. Guyton or other upstanding
members of the business community in Myrtle Beach. Those are attacks
against our elected officials and should be taken seriously,” said
Bowers.

Bowers says Branham and Guyton are examining all their legal options,
including possibly seeking damages for defamation.

BOOST did not return our call for comment Friday.

The State Ethics Commission has already said it is not investigating the
contributions.

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