As the City of Myrtle Beach elections draw near, one political action committee called "The Grand Strand Economic Improvement Alliance" has produced a television commercial that makes some big claims that the Carolina Forest Chronicle says doesn't add up.
Even though the commercial cites its statistics come from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, The Carolina Forest Chronicle decided to fact check and determined that the 4,028 jobs claimed to be gained since the Toursim Development Fee was passed was actually a net loss of 400 jobs. That wasn't the only discrepancy the Chronicle found. Read more here.
The Chronicle checked against the claims that these benefits have happened since the controversial tax was passed. But it could be argued that the numbers the commercial are citing weren't derived in the same way. Regardless, the ad could be open to interpretation if not misleading.
The Grand Strand Economic Improvement Alliance endorses city Council candidates Phil Render, Susan Grissom Means, and Michael Chestnut. All of the incumbents are supporters of the controversial Tourism Development Fee. Previous incumbents that supported the Tourism Development Fee received campaign contributions that are still being investigated. Even though Chamber officials Brad Dean and Brant Branham admit to delivering those contributions, they state that the donations did not involve Chamber funds or business.
The spokesperson in the video is Shelley Chapman, who is the wife of hotelier Steve Chapman. Steve Chapman currently serves on the Chamber Advertising and Marketing Committee and has served on the Chamber's Board of Directors in the past. The Chamber also recently named Chapman Citizen of the Year for 2011. In January 2010, Chapman confessed to being behind numerous political committees during the last City of Myrtle Beach mayoral race. Read more here.