New twist in missing lobbyist case

Posted February 24, 2012 11:02 am | Filed under State/Regional News

The search for missing South Carolina Hospitality Association CEO Tom Sponseller has  apparently taken a startling new direction.

Tom Sponseller has been missing since Saturday (Courtesy: SC Hospitality Association)

The State newspaper is reporting that multiple law enforcement officials who confirmed off-record that an ongoing federal investigation was already looking into missing money at the organization prior to Sponseller’s disappearance. The officials described the amount of money as “substantial” – more than $100,000 and possibly up to $900,000.

The officials told The State newspaper that the association’s accounting director, Rachel Duncan, is a person of interest in the investigation. She has not been charged in the case. The officials declined to talk on the record because they are not authorized to speak about an investigation that has not been made public.

Duncan’s attorney Greg Harris declined to comment on allegations of missing money. But he did say Duncan has cooperated with city investigators as they search for Sponseller.

Sponseller was reported missing Saturday after he did not show up at a family event. He last reported seen at the Hospitality Association offices in downtown Columbia. His car was found in a nearby parking garage.