Lawyers for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce have requested the use of the word "crony" and "crony companies" be removed from a lawsuit filed by Karon Mitchell earlier this month.
The lawsuit accuses the chamber of paying “crony companies” more than $30 million in tax money over the last three years without competitive bidding.
The suit argues the chamber directed money to businesses started by current or former employees. Those businesses received money for “unsubstantiated goods” and marked-up service prices, the lawsuit alleges.
The tax money allegedly came from the controversial tourism development fee and accommodations tax.
Now, the request states that the use of the words "is a blatant attempt to cast the Plaintiff and various private persons and companies in a prejudicial and negative light, bordering on slander."
The request also states that the use of the word "crony" is "impertinent, improper and scandalous."
In arguing for the words to be stricken, the request states that "crony" is not necessary to the issues and is impertinent and derogatory.
The request compares "crony" to the words "criminal defendant," "corrupt companies" and "evil person."
Last Tuesday, the chamber issued a statement on the lawsuit during a press conference.
"The legal action filed by Karon Mitchell against the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is a baseless, vindictive attack on the chamber's staff, board of directors, marketing council and several member businesses, filled with unsubstantiated allegations," board chair for the chamber Carla Schuessler said during the conference.
In response, Mitchell, who was at the conference, stated, "I will tell you how I will respond to that. The facts will come out and the evidence will be there."