At least two current or former members of the South Carolina General Assembly are connected to the litigation over Aiken’s Project Pascalis redevelopment project.
Filings on the S.C. Judicial Department’s website provide information about the attorneys representing the nine people and entities that are plaintiffs in the lawsuit and 40 people and entities named as defendants in the suit.
Project Pascalis is the city’s name for an estimated $75 million redevelopment project focused on the block bounded by Laurens Street, Richland Avenue, Newberry Street and Park Avenue in downtown Aiken.
Current plans call for the demolition of the vacant Hotel Aiken and a building next to it on Laurens Street and the construction of a 100-room hotel in their place. The Holley House and several buildings located between it and Newberry Street would be demolished to make way for an apartment complex and a parking garage. The city’s former municipal building would be expanded into a conference center.
A lawsuit challenging the actions of the Aiken City Council, Aiken Municipal Development Commission, Aiken Design Review Board, RPM Development Partners, Raines Company, Aiken Economic Development Director Tim O’Briant and Aiken City Attorney Gary Smith on the project was filed on July 5.
The plaintiffs in the suit are David Blake, Luis Rinaldini, former City Councilman Dick Dewar, Jenne Stoker, Beatrice McGhee, Gail King, the Historic Aiken Foundation, the Green Boundary Foundation and the South Carolina Public Interest Foundation.
Charleston attorney Andrew Gowder, Summerville attorney Michael Rose and Greenville attorney James Carpenter are listed as attorneys for the plaintiffs.
Gowder is a partner in the Charleston firm of Austen and Gowder.
Rose is a sole practitioner and a former member of the South Carolina Senate. He served in the Senate from 1988-1997 and from 2008-2012.
Carpenter is a sole practitioner.
Daniel Plyler accepted service of the lawsuit on behalf of the city of Aiken, Rick Osbon as mayor and a member of the city council and council members Kay Brohl, Gail Diggs, Ed Girardeau, Andrea Gregory, Lessie B. Price and Ed Woltz on July 15.
Plyler is an attorney in the Columbia office of the Smith Robinson law firm.
South Carolina House Speaker Murrell Smith is a partner in the firm. He works out of the firm’s Sumter offices, according to the firm’s website.
Plyler does not acknowledge that he’s representing the city or the city council in the acceptance of service.
However, Rule 4(j) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure only allows people or companies that have been sued or their attorneys to submit an acceptance of service.
Andrew Lindemann accepted service for the Aiken Design Review Board, Board Chairman McDonald Law and board members John McMichael, Katy Lipscomb, Ben Lott, Ahmad Mikell, Hannah Robbins and Josh Stewart on July 28.
Lindemann is a partner in the Columbia firm of Lindemann and Davis. He acknowledges he is the lawyer representing the board and its members in the acceptance of service.
Ray Massey, registered agent for RPM Development Partners, accepted service of the summons and complaint on Aug. 3 for the company.
No information about RPM’s attorney is listed on the website of the South Carolina Judicial Department.
Smith was served with a copy of the lawsuit on July 12, according to the website of the South Carolina Judicial Department.
Aiken attorneys Clarke McCants III and Clarke McCants IV are listed as Smith’s attorneys in documentation on the website of the South Carolina Judicial Department.
The Aiken Municipal Development Commission and its commissioners – Keith Wood, Catina Broadwater, Marty Gillam, David Jameson, Stuart MacVean, Philip Merry, Chad Matthews, Doug Slaughter and Chris Verenes – have not been served.
Aiken Economic Development Director Tim O’Briant, who also serves as executive director of the commission, has also not been served.
The suit has also not been served on Raines Company.