Suit Aims To Reclaim Money From The Government For Taxpayers

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A lawsuit seeks to get $300 million for taxpayers in a South Carolina county after the county council voted against returning fees scrapped by the state supreme court.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in June that the Greenville County road and telecommunication fees were actually illegal taxes.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Jerry A. Bruce of Greer says the county collected about $30 million and contends that taxpayers are due 10 times the unreturned amount, the Greenville News reported.

The law cites the June ruling in a separate case filed by three legislators and asks for a jury trial. It notes that the Greenville County Council has voted 7-5 against returning the money.

“This was 5 votes for good government and 7 votes to keep money obtained illegally from the citizens they represent,” the lawsuit states.

County spokesman Bob Mihalic did not immediately return a call for comment, the newspaper reported.

Councilmember Joe Dill, who voted to return the fees, said he had expected a new lawsuit.

“It would have been a whole lot easier to have said let’s just refund this,” Dill told the newspaper. “We need to refund and if we need to fund this, let’s go back to the drawing board and let our administration recommend a method by which we can fund the roads and communications and comply with the law.”

Bruce, represented by attorneys David Price and Sam Tooker, released a statement repeating the lawsuit's allegations and declining to comment further.