The Lexington County Republican Party held dueling meetings for the second time in a little more than a month, with one of those meetings being lead by Pamela Godwin, whom the party’s official channels claim has been removed as chair of the group.
The Lexington County Republican Party held dueling meetings for the second time in a little more than a month, with one of those meetings being led by Pamela Godwin, whom the party’s official channels claim has been removed as chair of the group.
The dueling meetings were held Sept. 11 by 1st Vice Chair Mark Weber and Godwin. A party meeting had been scheduled to be held at the Lexington Chamber at 311 W Main St., but, according to a Facebook post made by the party, the official meeting led by Weber has been moved to the Flight Deck Restaurant, just up the street at 190 Old Chapin Rd.
The party previously held dueling meetings Aug. 7, with the same two factions splitting due to ongoing issues.
According to the Sept. 10 post, Weber’s meeting was moved for safety reasons and to avoid physical confrontation.
Angelle LaBorde, president and CEO of the chamber, confirmed to the Chronicle that due to safety concerns, police were hired to provide extra security.
The ranking party official told the Chronicle that Pamela is still holding a meeting at the chamber.
At Weber’s meeting, the party established an interim rules and regulations committee, which they say will take all the resolutions passed since Godwin was elected chair in April and put them through the correct process. They say these resolutions are currently invalid and “do not exist” as they did not go through the proper steps.
A new party chair is set to be elected next month, at which point the committee could have its interim tag removed.
Among the invalid resolutions is the recent censorship of Rebecca Blackburn Hines, the chair of the Lexington-Richland District 5 school board. At the Sept. 11 meeting, a party member attempted to make a motion to appeal that resolution, but was unable to do so due to the original resolution being invalid.
Weber told the Chronicle that since Godwin took the position as chair, a majority of the party’s committees have dissolved.
According to the party’s Facebook post, Godwin was served with a letter of dismissal last weekend, following the gathering of necessary signatures through a petition.
Godwin didn’t immediately respond to the Chronicle’s requests for comment.
A Sept. 8 post announcing her removal included a copy of the letter Godwin was allegedly served.
“Please be advised that this correspondence is your official notice that you have been removed from the office of chairman of the Lexington County Republican Party, effective immediately,” the letter reads. “As evidenced by the enclosed petition with signatures from two-thirds of the voting members of the Lexington County Republican Party Executive Committee, your continued failure to follow the rules has resulted in your removal.”
The letter is signed by Weber, who, according to the ranking official, has assumed the position as acting chair.
Reached by the Chronicle, Weber confirmed this information but didn’t elaborate further.
The Sept. 10 Facebook post from the party states that three members are being sued by Lisa Dowdy, who is co-chair of a “Disciplinary Committee” the post says was created by Godwin.
The three people allegedly being sued are 3rd Vice Chair John Allen, Treasurer Jackie Fowler, and Preston Baines. According to the post, Dowdy is asking for $7,000 per person and other miscellaneous items.
Allen’s case was set to be heard Sept. 11 but was postponed after a request for a continuance. Fowler and Baines' cases are set to be heard Sept. 25. The Chronicle has been unable to confirm if continuances were requested for these dates as well.
Weber told the Chronicle that they don’t know the exact reason why Godwin is pursuing legal action against them, mentioning that throughout the years she and Angus Godwin, her husband, have been involved in multiple legal activities.
“It is solely an intimidation tactic,” said John Allen.
According to another party Facebook post from Sept. 6, the county GOP has had continuous problems with Godwin. including claiming that Fowler is no longer the treasurer. The post emphasizes there was never a vote taken to remove Fowler from her position.
“Pamela Godwin without any authorization, removed all LCRP funds from its original bank account which had Treasurer Jackie Fowler as the cosigner,” the post reads. “This was not discussed or voted upon by the Steering Committee, Executive Committee, or the Treasurer. This was a direct violation of rule: 9a in our party rules. Pamela still hasn’t informed the Steering Committee as to the whereabouts of the funds.”
The letter of dismissal calls for Godwin to immediately return the amount of $6,894.87, plus any interest accrued and any other funds obtained, to Fowler by Sept. 8.
“Pamela Godwin unilaterally emptied the checking account with no authorization from the Executive Committee violating county GOP rules,” Weber told the Chronicle.
At Weber’s meeting, he told the Chronicle that they will pursue action to retrieve the money, as it belongs to the party. He emphasized that they haven’t done anything yet because they want to make sure that they go about retrieving it the right way.
The Sept. 6 Facebook post states that Godwin continues to claim that the Aug. 7 meeting led by Weber’s faction was illegitimate. The post states that “everything voted upon in that meeting has been certified, and Pamela’s attempt to have a separate meeting without a quorum is completely illegitimate.”
The post further states that Godwin sent out multiple letters to party officers and members informing them that they had been suspended from any meetings, with these suspensions lasting between three and six months.
“Nowhere in our county rules, our state’s rules or Robert’s rules does it allow for any form of suspension of a party member,” the post states.
While Godwin has followers, Weber told the Chronicle that those following her would be welcomed into party meetings if they are able to behave. He said the situation with Godwin has made the group stronger.
“Her attempts to divide us have actually just failed miserably and it brought us all together and so I'm happy about that part,” he said. “Not happy about potentially getting sued, but I'm happy about about us coming together because it is forcing people to not worry about the minor differences and focus on the bigger picture.”
This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here
Other items that may interest you