Court ruling voids former county admin's $1.1M severance agreeme - FOX Carolina 21

Court ruling voids former county admin's $1.1M severance agreement

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Joey Preston (file/FOX Carolina) Joey Preston (file/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The South Carolina Court of Appeals said a controversial severance agreement for a county administrator has been ruled void.

In November 2008, Anderson County Council voted to approve a $1.1 million severance agreement for Joey Preston, outgoing county administrator. According to court documents, at the time of Preston's departure the political environment in the county was "toxic."

In September 2008, Preston hired an attorney and announced plans to seek damages against the county for breach of contract when council members made statements saying they planned to "prevent him from carrying out his duties," according to court records.

To settle the issue, Preston agreed to resign and received a severance package of $1,139,833 from Anderson County.

County officials later sued Preston over the agreement.

In the court ruled filed on Wednesday, Preston's severance agreement was determined to be "null and void" due to the absence of a quorum.

The ruling states four of the seven council members who approved the agreement had a personal interest in the matter and should have been disqualified from voting in the issue.

The case will be referred to a circuit court to determine how "rights and remedies of the parties" should be handled.

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