The finalist for the Hardeeville city manager's post filed a lawsuit against a previous employer, was ordered by a judge to pay a bank $125,000 and once filed for bankruptcy, according to court records.
None of that explains why Art Williams didn't get the job, according to Hardeeville's mayor.
"I don't know anything about that," Mayor Bronco Bostick said Wednesday.
Instead, Hardeeville council simply failed to come to an agreement on contract terms and decided not to offer a job to the Jasper County School District assistant principal and former county administrator in Colleton and Allendale counties.
Attempts Wednesday to reach Williams, who lives in Green Pond, for comment were unsuccessful.
Bostick said he didn't think Williams' legal and financial troubles "would bother me a bit."
"I just hope we'll find someone to be our city manager, one way or the other," he said.
Bostick said Williams underwent a background check, as did the four other top candidates.
"We checked the background check, but what I'm looking for in a city manager is leadership and qualifications," Bostick said.
Council members Carolyn Kassel and David Spisso declined to comment and referred questions to Bostick.
Interim city manager Rose Dobson-Elliott, who replaced Bob Nanni when he resigned in February, also declined comment.
Attempts to reach council members Scott Ready and Mike Sweeney were unsuccessful.
Council members unanimously agreed Monday to continue looking, but have not decided whether to choose a city manager from the remaining pool of nearly 40 candidates or start the process over, Bostick said.
Council will meet today to discuss the next step, he said.
Williams worked for Colleton County in 2000 when he was asked to resign as county administrator because he did not provide financial statements for a number of months, an assistant administrator told The Press and Standard of Walterboro at the time. It was not clear Wednesday what those statements entailed.
Reached Wednesday, current administrator Kevin Griffin said Colleton County no longer has a personnel file on Williams. He was not sure why.
In January 2009, Williams sued Allendale County for not renewing his contract in 2008, according to court records provided by the county's attorney, Mary Lohr. It was unclear how much Williams' suit asked for.
A judge dismissed that suit in December 2010.
In August 2009, a federal judge ordered Williams to repay Bank of America about $125,000 for debts he incurred as an executive for the Meineke Car Care Company.
In March 2010, Williams declared bankruptcy, according to federal court documents. His filing claimed more than $1 million in debt.
Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.
- Hardeeville city manager resigns; 5th to leave since 2008, February 7, 2014