Entries in South Carolina (6)


Infidelity Dating Site Ashley Madison Uses Mark Sanford in Ad

Davis Turner/Getty Images(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- Residents of Columbia, S.C., were greeted Tuesday with a new billboard advertising a dating website for married people, which featured an image of former South Carolina governor and admitted philanderer Mark Sanford.

The ad, spread across two stacked billboards, reads, "Next time use… to find your 'running mate.'" Emblazoned in the ad is an image of Sanford, who is attempting to revive his political career with a bid for South Carolina's vacant 1st Congressional District seat. A special election is set for May 7.

Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman told ABC News that the controversial ad, created by him and his internal team, is meant as social commentary. He sees his campaign as a way to show that those who cheat on their spouses should not be made into pariahs.

"We are trying to get people to distinguish between capability, and what goes on in bedroom," Biderman said. "There are few voices speaking on behalf of those who are unfaithful. Once we found out [Sanford] was back in business, that's the story we want to attach ourselves to. We believe careers shouldn't be lost because you choose not to sustain monogamy."

Sanford made headlines in 2009 when it was revealed that instead of hiking the Appalachian Trail, as he had told staffers, he was in Buenos Aires with a woman who was not his wife. He later became engaged to her, after divorcing his wife, Jenny, and paid the largest ethics fine ever in South Carolina, $70,000.

Sanford's office did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on the ad.

Sanford's is not the first story of infidelity that Ashley Madison has attached itself to. In the past, the company, which was created in Canada in 2002 and came to the U.S. in 2007, has winked at potential customers by hinting at the affairs of former President Bill Clinton, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and London Mayor Boris Johnson. Biderman sees the campaigns as successful.

"We thought this would be digested and talked about locally," he said. "But you see new membership that you didn't expect...sometimes we will be cemented further in the folklore of political unfaithfulness -- though the tail effect may not be there the next day."

For Biderman, part of the strategy of political ads is a means to further his brand as "the Kleenex of cheating." This effort at creating a household name out of his company hit a snag in 2009 when NBC banned an Ashley Madison ad from appearing during the Super Bowl. But Biderman was undeterred.

"If the NFL rejects an ad, we still find a way," he said. "American society is not there yet. Despite the fact that we stopped painting people with scarlet letters a long time ago. My role is to keep pushing this forward, so it becomes digestible."

As for Sanford's bid for a comeback, Biderman is rooting for him.

"I want him to win very badly. If I could find a way to help him accomplish that … It would be a testament for people to evaluate people on their skill set," he said. "If you took the unfaithful out of the equation, we would have very unsuccessful society."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Five Men Found Guilty for Playing Poker in a Private Home

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled Wednesday that due to state laws, a poker game held in a private home six years ago has been determined as illegal.

Twenty-five civilians were arrested at a house in Charleston in 2006 for playing a game of “Texas Hold’Em” style poker, in which players were charged fees for food and beverages, thereby classifying the situation as a “gambling house,” according to a statute dating back to 1802 as part of the basis of arrest. Police found thousands of dollars worth of cash in the house.

Five of the 25 players arrested fought the charges, bringing up the case to the state Supreme Court, where, due to the results of the case, their arrests have been reinstated. Neither the prosecutors nor the defense attorneys could be reached for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Deceased' BofA Customer Alive, But With Thousands in Costs

Courtesy Arthur Livingston(PROSPERITY, S.C.) -- Arthur Livingston of Prosperity, S.C., is hoping Bank of America will reimburse thousands of dollars incurred after the company erroneously reported that he was deceased on his credit reports.

Bank of America has been reporting him as deceased to the three major credit agencies since May 2009, he said.  His credit report states "file not scored because subject is deceased."

The mistaken code was finally removed on Feb. 22, four and a half months after Livingston, 39, learned about the error and complained to the bank.

The regional manager of a chemical company, Livingston discovered the dilemma when he tried to obtain a loan from a mortgage company in October.  The problem may have begun when Livingston, who said he has been a Bank of America customer for 14 years, sold his home in May 2009.

His mortgage company is now able to obtain his credit score to give him a loan for his new home, but the incident has added thousands of dollars to the building process and affected his credit score after he made a dozen credit inquiries.

His family's plan for their new home was to begin construction in mid-December and move in by April.  Livingston, along with his wife, son and daughter, 8 and 5, respectively, have been living in a rental home while they wait.  It has cost them $6,000 in rent so far and will likely cost another $6,000 as they wait for the new home.

Livingston is asking Bank of America for compensation for rent "because we've established no equity in our home for over four and half months."

"It's been a complete waste of time," he said of the "inexcusable" mistake.

In addition, the builders will have to clear the land for his new home again, which cost $2,450 the first time back in October.  And since October, the contractor sent him a bill indicating that his building costs, like copper wire and concrete, have increased $4,000.

"We were unable to lock into a contract because we were unable to obtain a loan," he said.  "If [the contractor] starts building tomorrow we are looking at an additional $4,000 that we don't think we should have to pay."

Livingston said he would be "impressed" if Bank of America offers reimbursement for the related extra costs, but the impression he has received is "they don't really care."

"They're not going to lose a customer other than me and that doesn't seem to bother them," he said.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America said for privacy reasons the bank does not discuss details of individual customer concerns.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bank of America Declared Customer Dead for Three Years?

Courtesy Arthur Livingston(PROSPERITY, S.C.) -- Arthur Livingston, of Prosperity, S.C., may be alive, but his credit report says, "File not scored because subject is deceased."

That's because Livingston's bank, Bank of America, has been reporting him as deceased to the three major credit agencies since May 2009, he claims.

Bank of America has still not resolved the issue, even after media attention, causing headaches for Livingston, 39, and his family in South Carolina.

A regional manager of a chemical company, Livingston discovered the dilemma when he tried to obtain a loan from a mortgage company in October. The problem may have begun when Livingston, who said he has been a Bank of America customer for 14 years, sold his home in May 2009.

Five months since he discovered the problem, Bank of America still does not have a solution, and his mortgage company has not been able to obtain his credit score to give him a loan for his new home. He also fears the inactivity on his credit will negatively affect his credit score.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America told ABC News on Thursday the company is working with Livingston directly to "resolve this issue as quickly as possible."

Livingston said he regularly pays off his credit card bill in full, including $2,000 to $4,000 in travel expenses for work. But none of that, he fears, is being recorded on his credit record.

"[Bank of America] is well aware that the account is very active on a daily basis," he said.

That has been "frustrating" for Livingston and his family's plan for their new home, which was supposed to begin construction in mid-December. He was hoping the home would be half finished by now.

"It's been a complete waste of time," he said of the "inexcusable" mistake.

He along with his wife, son and daughter, 8 and 5, respectively, have been living in a rental home while they wait. Construction of the home is estimated to take four to six months, weather permitting. The Livingstons had hoped to move into their new home by April.

"Obviously, that's not going to be remotely possible," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Discount iPad Turns Out to Be Made of Wood

Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office(SPARTANBURG, S.C.) -- A South Carolina woman’s desire to purchase an Apple iPad at a discount came back to bite her Monday when she forked over $180 dollars to strangers for an “iPad” that turned out to be a painted block of wood. quotes a report from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office as saying 22-year-old Ashley McDowell was approached in a McDonald’s parking lot by two men who claimed to have purchased a large number of iPads and were selling them for $300 each.  Authorities say when McDowell told the men she only had $180, they agreed to take that amount and handed over a FedEx box.

McDowell didn’t open the box immediately, but instead waited until she got home where she discovered that the iPad was actually a piece of wood painted black with a “screen” framed with black tape and stickers of iPad icons for photos, mail and an iPod.

Investigators dusted the fake iPad for fingerprints and are now searching for the suspects.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Breaks Silence about Boeing v. NLRB Labor Dispute

PRNewsFoto/Continental Airlines(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama broke his silence Wednesday about the dispute between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over a proposed plant in South Carolina.

The move by the NLRB to block Boeing's plan to move a plant to the Southern state has incited a wave of indignation from Republicans and the business community, who accuse the group of endangering jobs in an already weak economy.

The president on Wednesday put distance between his administration and the labor board stressing that it is “an independent agency.”

“We can't afford to have labor and management fighting all the time, at a time when we're competing against Germany and China and other countries that want to sell goods all around the world,” Obama said at a Wednesday’s White House press conference.

The NLRB is suing Boeing for allegedly moving part of the production of its 787 Dreamliner jet from Washington, a unionized state, to South Carolina, a right to work state, to retaliate against Washington workers for going on strike.

“As a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate -- they have to follow the law, but that's part of our system,” Obama said. “What I think defies common sense would be a notion that we would be shutting down a plant or laying off workers because labor and management can't come to a sensible agreement.

“And obviously, the air -- airplane industry is an area where we still have a huge advantage.  I want to make sure that we keep it,” the president added.

Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has spoken out against the case. The pro-business Workforce Fairness Institute called on each candidate to make their opposition to “the NLRB’s job-killing actions” a centerpiece of their campaigns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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