A former SCDOT Commissioner and the son-in-law of powerful state Senator Hugh Leatherman, Hardee was an executive with Lamar Outdoor Advertising – a company that has an unheard of 12-year contract with SCDOT to advertise restaurants and gas stations at exits on all SC interstates.
Those "blue signs" raked in millions for his company.
At the same time, Hardee was part of a kickback scheme to improperly fund candidates, lobbyists and personally profit himself using government funds that were intended to purchase public service announcements.
AG Wilson and SLED need to open a criminal investigation to answer the following questions:
- Did Hardee knowingly use his official office as SCDOT Commissioner and/or his connection to his powerful father-in-law (Leatherman) to extort state agencies by overcharging for the PSAs and funneling the difference to political candidates, lobbyists and himself?
- How exactly did Hardee's company, Lamar, secure a lucrative, and frankly unheard-of, 12-year "blue sign" contract with SCDOT?
- Did his father-in-law's position overseeing state procurement have anything to do with Lamar's unheard-of 12-year contract "blue sign" with SCDOT?
- Did Hardee attempt to use his office to influence governmental decisions in which he and/or his father-in-law has an economic interest?