Former S.C. State officials indicted on felony charges

Michael Bartley, a former S.C. State University campus police chief, walks into federal court today in Charleston where he pleaded guilty to conspiracy. (Photo/Lauren Ratcliffe)

Michael Bartley, a former S.C. State University campus police chief, walks into federal court today in Charleston where he pleaded guilty to conspiracy. (Photo/Lauren Ratcliffe)

By Lauren Ratcliffe
lratcliffe@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 10, 2013

A former police chief of S.C. State University pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy charges in federal court this morning in Charleston.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore talks to reporters. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore talks to reporters. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
Michael Bartley pleaded guilty to his role in a kickback scheme whereby the university was to purchase a property in Orangeburg County. Bartley had expected to receive $30,000 and an all-terrain vehicle for his role, according to prosecutors.

The conspiracy charge had three components: violation of the Hobbs Act, wire fraud and accepting illegal payments as an agent of an organization which receives more than $10,000 in federal funds annually.

According to assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore, Bartley acted with Jonathan N. Pinson, the former chairman of the board of trustees at S.C. State.

Pinson and Bartley attempted to persuade university officials to purchase the Sportsman’s Retreat, a property located in Orangeburg County about 10 miles from the university. In exchange for their actions, they were to receive automobiles.

Court documents indicated that Pinson was to receive a Porsche Cayenne, valued at more than $100,000.

Pinson and Eric Robinson were indicted on charges of attempting to affect interstate commerce by extortion. Pinson and Robinson are charged with conspiring in a scheme where Pinson would receive a kickback for the university’s hiring of Robinson’s entertainment company as the primary promoter for homecoming in 2011.

Both were arraigned before a federal magistrate in Columbia this afternoon. The men entered not-guilty pleas and were released on $25,000 bond for Pinson and $15,000 for Robinson.

S.C. State University has scheduled a news conference at 5 today in Orangeburg to discuss the charges.

Reach Lauren Ratcliffe at 843-849-3119. James T. Hammond contributed to this report.

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