State Rep. Andy Patrick must appear in court next month to explain why he has not paid all the money he owes to the attorney who represents his estranged wife.
Legal papers requiring Patrick, R-Hilton Head Island, to be at a June 23 hearing were delivered on Tuesday during a session of the House of Representatives in the State House. A process server gave the papers to Patrick's lawyer, Doug Brannon, who also is a representative, outside the House chamber.
The process server, Claude Gillion of Columbia, said that after several failed attempts to encounter Patrick and Brannon in their offices and in the Statehouse, he had no choice but to go to the door of the House chamber and ask a courier to walk messages in to Patrick and Brannon, asking them to come out to the lobby.
Gillion said Brannon came out, "but the other guy (Patrick) either wasn't in there or didn't want to come out."
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When Gillion asked Brannon where Patrick was, Brannon said, "I haven't seen him; I don't know," Gillion said. Brannon accepted the papers on Patrick's behalf.
Gillion served the papers personally because that is required in cases when a contempt-of-court citation could result in jail time. The hearing June 23 is to determine whether Patrick should be found in contempt of court.
A judge ordered Patrick to pay $4,000 to Hilton Head lawyer Lauren Martel after a Feb. 19 hearing in Beaufort County Family Court. Martel represents Patrick's wife, Amee Patrick, in the couple's divorce case. The money was to cover legal expenses incurred by Amee Patrick, who was then unemployed.
The money was to be paid by March 31, but Patrick has paid only $1,000, according to Martel and Amee Patrick.
Martel has spent six hours trying to collect the money from Andy Patrick, so she now seeks $2,000 for the extra time plus the $3,000 he still owes, according to a sworn statement she filed.
Patrick declined to comment Thursday, saying his lawyer, Brannon, would speak for him.
Brannon said Patrick would pay what he owes, but he would not say when.
"All I'm going to say is that (Martel) is going to get the money that (Patrick) has been ordered to pay," Brannon said.
Patrick has previously said he can't get a job, so he has been unable to pay Martel. He owns a Hilton Head security firm, Advance Point Global, but has not drawn a salary from it since April 2013, according to court filings. He also has said he should not have to pay Martel until she sends him an itemized bill. However, Martel was not required by the court to send him such a bill.
Patrick unsuccessfully sought a congressional seat last year and launched a short-lived campaign for state superintendent of education this year. He has said he will resign from the legislature after his current term ends in November.