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Wedding & Event Venue Near Allendale, SC.

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Your Magic Moment Awaits

Your wedding day. Without a doubt, it's one of the most significant events you will ever experience - when you and the love of your life officially seal the deal and get married. On this day, your friends and family will gather to celebrate the next step in your life. Photographers will be running around snapping photos, catering plates delicious food for guests to enjoy, and the DJ sets the mood for a night of fun and libation. You've worked extra hard to make everything look perfect and run smoothly. You have examined every moving part down to the tiniest detail. At the center of all your effort is your wedding venue in Allendale, SC.

Your event space can mean the difference between an unforgettable event and an average occasion. Capturing your uniqueness as a couple is paramount to a memorable wedding. But, without the right venue location and staff, your unforgettable event can turn into a painfully average occasion. Fortunately, at Abney Hall, you won't ever have to worry about dingy reception spaces and crummy chow halls.

Constructed in Allendale, SC, in 1962, Abney Hall is 15,000 square feet and sits on 500 acres of land, making it a large wedding venue unlike any other. Abney Hall was originally the home of Mrs. Josephine Abney, a Allendale native who was a lifelong philanthropist. Mrs. Abney devoted much of her time and effort towards supporting charities, educational institutions, hospitals, and other noble efforts. Today, Abney Hall stands tall as a symbol of love, both in our community and for the couples who choose to get married here.

Abney Hall is an exclusive event experience unlike any other, surrounded by verdant forests and sparkling ponds. Our venue is a natural fit for several occasions, including:

Special Event Space Allendale, SC

Weddings

 Event Venue Allendale, SC

Bridal Showers

 Event Space Allendale, SC

Bridal Portraits

 Rehearsal Dinner Venue Allendale, SC

Rehearsal Dinners

 Bridal Shower Venue Allendale, SC

Corporate Events

 Business Event Space Allendale, SC

Much More!

 Wedding Space Allendale, SC

The Top Wedding Venue in Allendale, SC

The beginning of your life starts at Abney Hall. With our team by your side, we can create the fairy tale wedding you have dreamed about since childhood. Whether you have 100 guests or 1,000, our waterfront ceremony locations and French-inspired courtyard are perfect for your big day. Celebrate in luxurious style surrounded by shady magnolia trees, a private forest, large ponds, and the beauty of Mother Nature. While our venue location and aesthetic have been praised far and wide, so too have the practical aspects of Abney Hall. Looking for a relaxing, comfortable spot for your bridal party to get ready in? We offer an entire floor in the Abney Hall residence to get the bridal party ready. Want to make your groomsman feel extra-special too? We've got a private, plush house just feet from a sparkling pond that is a proper hangout spot for the guys in your group.

To make life easier on you, we also offer Abney Hall as your go-to spot for rehearsal dinners. Why book an expensive restaurant or travel to another location when unmatched beauty and convenience are right at your fingertips? Abney Hall is just the place for that very important dinner the night before your big day. We are also happy to host your bridal shower at Abney Hall. Our venue makes for one of Allendale's most unique bridal shower settings, where your family and friends can gather to give gifts and be merry before you walk down the aisle.

With such a large, magnificent house and a vast property, Abney Hall also makes for an unforgettable location for your bridal portraits and other wedding-related photography needs. Don't take our word for it - book a tour and see for yourself why so many new brides and grooms choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Allendale.

 Wedding Venue Allendale, SC

What Sets Abney Hall Apart from Other Wedding Venues in Allendale?

You've already found the person you want to spend the rest of your life beside. The next step? Finding the perfect wedding venue for your ceremony, reception, and celebration of your lifelong commitment to one another. Remember, the backdrop for photos, dancing, eating, and all other activities will be at your wedding venue. That's why we work so hard to set Abney Hall apart from our competitors - so you and your guests can focus on love and living your new life while we work with your vendors and photographers to make your magic night a reality.

Here are just a few reasons why guests choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Allendale, SC, along with some helpful tips from our experienced wedding venue staff:

Venue Size

Choosing the appropriate-sied venue for your desired guest count is a critical decision. A venue's capacity affects the number of people you need to consider having at your ceremony and reception. As you're first starting out, we recommend having a guest count in mind as you're searching for the right venue. Try to stick with that number. You may fall in love with a particular venue, but if its max capacity can't accommodate your guest count, it may be time to cross them off your list.

 Corporate Conference Hall Allendale, SC
Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that this is your big day. You shouldn't feel obligated to invite the college roommate you shared a dorm with for one semester. At the end of the day, your wedding venue should be one that can accommodate those closest to you. Abney Hall is equipped for both small and large weddings, consisting of 500 acres of forest, ponds, and lush natural beauty. Whether you want an intimate wedding with only your best friends or a grand ceremony with hundreds of people, we have the right amount of room to make you comfortable.

Location and Nearby Lodging

On your big day, you're likely to have friends and family traveling in from other parts of the state or country. These folks will need a place to stay during and even after your wedding. Accessibility and ease are important factors when it comes to choosing your wedding venue for both you and your guests.

Located in Allendale, SC, Abney Hall is situated in a memorable, natural setting, giving your wedding a private vibe in the midst of Mother Nature. While we pride ourselves on having a secluded wedding event space, our venue is within an easy driving distance of hotels and vacation rentals.

Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

When you contact us for a tour, make sure to speak with our experienced venue manager about nearby hotels and shuttle service options. We understand that your guest's comfort and convenience are important, and we're happy to work with you to figure out the best way to get your guests to Abney Hall.

Venue Staff

At Abney Hall, our staff has earned its reputation as one of the industry's most friendly, accessible teams. We will provide you with a purpose-minded point of contact that can help answer questions relating to timelines, preferred vendors, and every aspect of your wedding. When you tour our wedding venue in Allendale, SC, for the first time, we want you to feel like you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

We would be happy to go over:
  • Venue Pricing
  • Ceremony Specifics
  • Reception Specifics
  • Catering Possibilities
  • Decorating Possibilities
  • Entertainment Options
  • Photography and Photo Opportunities
  • Venue Amenities
  • Bridal Party Needs
  • Groomsman Needs

At Abney Hall, our goal is to be your first resource when it comes to setting up and coordinating the details of your wedding day.

Decor

When it comes to your wedding's decor, you probably already have a few ideas in mind. We love it when our brides and grooms have a vision in mind because one of our greatest joys is turning that vision into a reality. At Abney Hall, our team is available to help you and your decorator fit, accent, and accommodate your fairy-tale wedding - whatever that may be.

Are you looking to dress up your wedding with decorations galore? Just want to add a few accents that tie into your preferred color palette? Abney Hall is versatile and ready to help however we are able.

 Reception Hall Allendale, SC
Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

If you're thinking about bringing in your own greenery, lighting, floral pieces, and more, we recommend discussing your vision with us on your initial tour of our event space. That way, we can get a head start on making your big day exactly how you envision it.

Photo Opportunities

10 years from now, when you and your spouse are celebrating your anniversary, you will pull out photographs from your wedding and will reminisce about the unforgettable time you spent at Abney Hall. Your wedding photos will be with you forever, and as such, we work closely with you and your photographer to suggest extra-special photo op spots that you can only find on Abney Hall grounds.

From the grand staircase and French-inspired courtyard to our manicured gardens and lovely pond, there is no shortage of photo-op locations for your photographer to choose from. As one of the most popular wedding venues in Allendale, SC, we have worked with dozens of photographers over the years.

Our experience has allowed us to cultivate a list of preferred photographers - all of whom have the talent to take your pictures to the next level in a setting they're familiar with. We encourage you to check out our gallery to get a sense of the scope of our wedding venue and gain inspiration from other happy couples.

Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip

The gallery on our website is extensive but be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well. We keep our social pages updated with recent wedding photographs, giving you an incredible resource that you can use for your own photography purposes.

Special Event Space Allendale, SC

The Premier Corporate Event Venue in Allendale, SC

Abney Hall is known across the United States for our stunning weddings, but we also play host to some of the largest corporate events in South Carolina. Why choose a bland, lifeless meeting space when you can enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature coupled with a professional atmosphere? If you have an important team-building event or corporate conference that you have to coordinate, look no further than Abney Hall.

The epitome of class and style, our corporate event space is large, lavish, and chock-full of onsite amenities for you and your co-workers to enjoy. If your team needs a morale boost, don't bring them to the local Olive Garden for a cheap lunch. Treat them to a refreshing experience in our main dining room, where we can work with you to incorporate your catering options with the goals of your event.

When the hard work is done, and your team needs a breather, what better way to relax than with a quick dip in our pool? To burn off a little steam, head over to our brand-new tennis court - the perfect place to get some exercise in an ultra-private setting while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Don't forget to bring your fishing poles for a couple of hours of fishing. There's even an opportunity to go hunting if you wish.

 Event Venue Allendale, SC

Elegance at Its Finest - Only
a Phone Call Away

If you're ready to learn more about Abney Hall as your wedding venue, don't hesitate to reach out. We would love to hear more about your plans, your vision, and your needs. We know that planning a wedding isn't easy. It takes time, attention to detail, and a whole lot of patience. Our goal is to help provide you with all the info you need to learn more about our venue. Once you decide on a date, we'll work closely with you and your vendors to craft a wedding experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Our available dates for your big day are going quick, especially during peak seasons like spring and fall. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Contact us today for a FREE initial consultation
 Event Space Allendale, SC

Latest News in Allendale, SC

Weather blog | Allendale and Bamberg County tornadoes 1 week later

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In the late afternoon of April 5th a complex of thunderstorms were forming across Screven and Allendale counties, from those thunderstorms spawned a large and destructive tornado that led to a path of devastation. The National Weather Service confirmed that 7 tornadoes touched down across 4 counties in the CSRA last Tuesday.Turning back the clock to that afternoon we can use our high-resolution radar to see the storms forming around 5 o’clock. With warm temps in the 80s, high moisture levels, and plent...

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In the late afternoon of April 5th a complex of thunderstorms were forming across Screven and Allendale counties, from those thunderstorms spawned a large and destructive tornado that led to a path of devastation. The National Weather Service confirmed that 7 tornadoes touched down across 4 counties in the CSRA last Tuesday.

Turning back the clock to that afternoon we can use our high-resolution radar to see the storms forming around 5 o’clock. With warm temps in the 80s, high moisture levels, and plenty of lift in the air from the approaching front, the atmosphere was primed for severe weather. At 5:30 as the rotating thunderstorm approached Allendale, the national weather service issued a rare tornado emergency. The Charleston office confirms that at its largest, the tornado was 1,000 yards wide or about the length of 10 football fields, packing winds of 137 mph.

But this wouldn’t be the only powerful tornado of the day, another ef3 would develop just to the north of Allendale and just after 6pm we spotted a classic blue debris ball on radar. Our high-resolution radar indicated that the tornado launched debris close to 15,000 ft in the air.

On the ground Mizpah Church narrowly missed disaster. When we surveyed the damage ourselves we ran into Donnie Ayer who was thankful the church didn’t take a direct hit. He says, “at least it didn’t do any more damage than it had done. The wind came through the front, blew out 2 windows, blew out the back window and blew the shingles off, right now that’s the only damage we’ve had.

As the tornado moved past Mizpah Church it continued to strengthen with winds close to 160 mph, snapping softwood pine trees and hardwood trees.

We met up with John Quagliariello of the National Weather Service in Columbia as he and his team were out surveying the damage. The last time they saw damage like this was two years ago in April of 2020. See the full interview below:

The tornado would end up having a total track of nearly 35 miles finally dying out in Bowman, SC in Orangeburg County, and would be the last tornado-warned storm of the day.

Click through the videos below for more of our drone footage:

Copyright 2022 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

Tornadoes destroy 14 homes across 5 SC counties

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Emergency Officials tallying the damage from this week’s severe weather say a total of 14 homes were destroyed and 41 homes sustained damage.The hardest-hit counties were Allendale and Bamberg, according to a report released from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.In Allendale, four homes were destroyed and 11 homes were damaged. Three non-life-threatening injuries were reported there. Bamberg County reported five homes destroyed and 15 damaged. Orangeburg County report...

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Emergency Officials tallying the damage from this week’s severe weather say a total of 14 homes were destroyed and 41 homes sustained damage.

The hardest-hit counties were Allendale and Bamberg, according to a report released from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

In Allendale, four homes were destroyed and 11 homes were damaged. Three non-life-threatening injuries were reported there. Bamberg County reported five homes destroyed and 15 damaged. Orangeburg County reported two homes were destroyed while 10 were damaged. In Clarendon County, three homes were destroyed in the storms and Horry County reported five homes damaged but none destroyed.

The National Weather Service reported a pair of EF3 tornadoes touched down in Allendale County. The first, which was reported at 3:50 p.m., had peak winds of 137 mph. It touched down just north of the intersection of Bluff and Best Loop Roads, then destroyed a few mobile homes, and injured one person.

The tornado then continued to the northeast across Burton Road and Allendale- Fairfax Highway, where it produced significant damage to a building and many trees, NWS officials say. From there, the tornado then moved across Confederate Highway and then across the northern end of Sycamore, ending on the northeast side of Sycamore, near Williams Road. Most of the damage around the Sycamore area was to trees, as well as minor damage to some structures. It was on the ground for approximately 20 minutes.

The second EF3 tornado to touch down in Allendale County had a peak wind of 160 mph and was on the ground for approximately 50 minutes tracking nearly 35 miles. The tornado tracked through Allendale, Bamberg and Orangeburg Counties before dissipating.

The tornado touched down near Ulmer, around 6:03 p.m. as an EF2 and snapped trees and telephone poles. The initial touchdown point was along Wells Branch Road near the Barnwell County line in Allendale County and crossed into Bamberg county near the intersection of Highway 321 and Highway 301.

After this point, the tornado rapidly intensified and moved through a large forest of mostly softwood pine, with hardwood oaks in the forest for some stretch. As it approached Popeye Road in Bamberg County, the tornado strengthened into a strong EF3 with winds estimated at 160 mph.

“Remarkable damage was done to both softwoods and hardwoods in this forest, with an estimated 2 miles of 80-100% forest blowdown,” a National Weather Service damage survey report states.

Strong EF3 damage is estimated to have continued from Popeye Road across Kirkland Creek and then towards Wild Flower Road in Bamberg County. From here, the tornado weakened a bit as it approached Alligator Road. The tornado was near its peak width at this time, then striking a more residential area along Carver Road where, one mobile home was destroyed, with a home having its roof completely gone and some partial wall collapses.

On either side of the center of the track, other homes sustained different degrees of damage to their roofs and siding. The tornado continued northeastward and maintained some EF2 strength as it did so, primarily to trees.

Much of the damage on Macedonia Church Road was from trees falling on homes.

“The tornado showed signs of weakening by this point as it approached Orangeburg County, and it is distinctly possible that there were multiple weak vortexes impacting only the tops of trees,” the storm report states. “EF0 and weak EF1 damage was noted until the county line with Orangeburg, where the tornado regained some of its strength and continued doing damage.”

The report states the tornado approached the North Fork of the Edisto River and impacted a couple of homes, doing some significant tree damage on both properties.

As the tornado approached Freedom Road in Orangeburg County, it produced EF0 and EF1 damage continuing to snap trees. The tornado continued to weaken gradually as it approached the city of Bowman, finally dissipating about 2 miles north of the city around 6:53 p.m.

A weak tornado of EF0 intensity touched down Tuesday at 7:12 p.m. with peak wind speeds of 73 mph in Dorchester County near the intersection of U.S. 78 and Horne Taylor Road. The tornado continued northeast across a mostly-wooded area, producing sporadic tree damage.

It ended approximately seven minutes later just northeast of East Main Street in Harleyville.

Another EF0 tornado, with peak winds of 75 mph, touched down in Colleton County Wednesday night at 10:59 p.m. just west of Alison Lane, where it snapped and uprooted a few trees.

The report states it moved east across a wooded area snapping additional trees before moving across Sandy Springs Circle, ending just east of there after snapping and uprooting trees and destroying a fence.

The report listed a total of six tornadoes affecting South Carolina and a seventh in Bryan County, Georgia.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Industry News News West Fraser to acquire Georgia Pacific OSB mill in South Carolina

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Georgia Pacific’s oriented strand board (OSB) mill near Allendale, S.C., for approximately $280 million. The transaction is anticipated to close following successful completion of U.S. regulatory reviews and satisfaction of customary conditions. Management will provide an update and further details about the transaction on West Fraser’s third quarter earnings call o...

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Georgia Pacific’s oriented strand board (OSB) mill near Allendale, S.C., for approximately $280 million. The transaction is anticipated to close following successful completion of U.S. regulatory reviews and satisfaction of customary conditions. Management will provide an update and further details about the transaction on West Fraser’s third quarter earnings call on Oct. 28, 2021. All dollar amounts in this news release are expressed in U.S. dollars.

The Allendale facility, which initially began producing OSB in 2007, has been idle since late 2019 and has an estimated stated capacity of approximately 760 million square feet (3/8-inch basis). The company intends to invest an estimated $70 million of additional capital to upgrade and optimize the facility in preparation for its restart and this upgrade is anticipated to take approximately nine months to complete. The mill is expected to directly employ approximately 135 people and be one of the lowest cost mills in the company’s OSB portfolio after the optimization is complete and the mill has ramped up to full production, a process that typically takes 18-24 months after restart.

Track record of mill restarts and strategic rationale

The Allendale acquisition offers another opportunity for West Fraser to create value by deploying the company’s expertise at successfully reinvesting in and restarting idled OSB mills. Recent West Fraser OSB mill restarts include Chambord, Que., in March 2021 as well as Huguley, Ala., (2017) and Jefferson, Texas (2013). After modernization, the Allendale facility will enhance West Fraser’s OSB portfolio with its attractive location in the U.S. South where fibre is abundant and low-cost. The mill’s additional OSB capacity will also give West Fraser the flexibility to better meet customer demand, particularly from large, growing end-markets in the southeastern U.S.

“We look forward to acquiring and upgrading the Allendale mill to make it another component of West Fraser’s low-cost production portfolio. Further, the additional production capability will provide greater operational flexibility across our OSB mill portfolio to meet demand growth for our engineered wood products, including for our specialty and value-added products,” said West Fraser’s president and CEO, Ray Ferris. “We have the leadership, people and know-how to execute on the capital and upgrade plan for this mill and expect to be ready for a restart within nine months of the acquisition closing based on current demand conditions.”

West Fraser intends to finance the acquisition with cash on hand. The total investment for the Allendale acquisition is expected to be at a significant discount to the costs of an equivalent greenfield OSB mill while requiring a shorter time to initial production. Based on West Fraser’s latest internal analysis, the returns of this mill acquisition and investment are expected to be commensurate with those for other capital projects of similar magnitude.

Queen Wood Products expanding operations in Allendale County

More than $6 million investment will create 19 new jobs COLUMBIA, S.C. – Queen Wood Products, a subsidiary of Queen Horse Bedding, today announced plans to expand operations in Allendale County. The more than $6 million investment will create 19 new jobs.Founded in 1998, Queen Wood Products is a family-owned and -operated business that specializes in providing wood shavings for barn stall...

COLUMBIA, S.C. Queen Wood Products, a subsidiary of Queen Horse Bedding, today announced plans to expand operations in Allendale County. The more than $6 million investment will create 19 new jobs.

Founded in 1998, Queen Wood Products is a family-owned and -operated business that specializes in providing wood shavings for barn stalls.

Expanding to 538 Multitex Street in Ulmer, Queen Wood Products’ new location will increase the company’s capacity to meet growing demand.

The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Individuals interested in joining the Queen Wood Products team should call (803) 584-4777.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a $250,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to Allendale County to assist with costs related to the project.

QUOTES

“Queen Wood Products is excited to announce its expansion to the old Mohawk Carpet facility in Ulmer, S.C. The move to Ulmer is just minutes down the road from our original location in Allendale, where we have enjoyed doing business since 1998. We will be spending over $6 million and the expansion will allow for 19 additional jobs. We are hoping to be up and running in Ulmer with the first phase in September and should have the next phase in operation by the end of 2021.” -Queen Wood Products Owner Skip Queen

“Queen Wood Products’ decision to expand in Allendale County is a testament to our state’s world-class workforce and strong business environment. We congratulate them on this $6 million investment and the addition of 19 new jobs and look forward to seeing them continue to succeed in our state for years to come.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“I am proud that Queen Wood Products has decided to expand their Allendale County operations and create 19 new jobs in one of our state’s rural communities. This expansion is great news for Allendale County and the entire state of South Carolina.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“Allendale County congratulates Skip Queen on this achievement of expanding his company’s footprint. We appreciate the impact Queen Wood Products has in our county, providing direct and indirect jobs to many families in the region. We look forward to working with his team to make sure we provide the best business environment for his continued success.” -Allendale County Council Chairman Rick Gooding

“SouthernCarolina Alliance (SCA) salutes Queen Wood Products, a great renewable resource industry that has flourished in Allendale County. We are proud of Queen Wood Products’ success, which is a great American success story built on ingenuity and determination combined with the hard work of local employees and resources. SCA congratulates Skip Queen and will continue to assist him in growing his operations in our region.” -SouthernCarolina Alliance Chairman Marty Sauls

“We welcome Skip Queen and Queen Wood Products to Ulmer. Their investment and job creation will boost our local economy, and we are happy to have this longtime Allendale County business expanding in Ulmer.” -Mayor of Ulmer Ervin Mathias

Forensic audit of Allendale County finds severe mishandling of finances

ALLENDALE — The sheriff of Allendale County withdrew thousands in cash with no explanation. The clerk of court paid thousands in Christmas bonuses to staff, and to herself, without reporting them to the IRS. And the tiny, rural county has at least 45 bank accounts, some in individuals’ names, according to findings in a new forensic audit.The audit, by Burkett Burkett & Burkett of West Columbia, examined several years of financial records and cited a range of severe accounting deficiencies that left the county at seriou...

ALLENDALE — The sheriff of Allendale County withdrew thousands in cash with no explanation. The clerk of court paid thousands in Christmas bonuses to staff, and to herself, without reporting them to the IRS. And the tiny, rural county has at least 45 bank accounts, some in individuals’ names, according to findings in a new forensic audit.

The audit, by Burkett Burkett & Burkett of West Columbia, examined several years of financial records and cited a range of severe accounting deficiencies that left the county at serious risk of fraud. County Council members heard details of the new report on June 29.

The county lacks checks and balances in its accounting practices, has issued payments without invoices and hasn’t kept a general ledger — one of the most basic of accounting tools — for the past 13 years, the auditors found.

Council members and the county administrator pledged to make improvements and cited changes already underway. They sought the audit after complaining that the county treasurer, who is elected, was not providing them basic information about revenue, among other concerns. The treasurer, Gerzell Chaney, resigned two weeks ago, just days after state lawmakers wrote to Gov. Henry McMaster urging him to take action.

William Goodson, who took over as county administrator in late 2019, has been working to address the escalating crisis since. “This is not a complicated county to run. This is a small business. We do not need 45 bank accounts,” he said.

Ronald Burkett, the auditing firm’s president, presented the audit to council. He said he couldn’t determine if employees had committed financial crimes but pointed to inept accounting that diminished hope of detecting it.

Among top concerns: Sheriff Tom Carter took out a “drug fund” account in his personal name and did not disclose it to the county administrator.

“I can’t imagine why you would have an account (for county funds) in an individual’s name,” Burkett said.

In 2020, more than $11,000 was deposited into sheriff’s “drug fund” account, including one deposit for $10,565 labeled simply “drug money.” Yet, the deposit wasn’t linked to any court proceedings, the audit says.

Carter also personally withdrew thousands of dollars from the account, the audit says. He took out nine cash withdrawals totaling $5,095 but provided no explanation of why he was withdrawing $3,695 of that money, the audit says.

“There was no approval process for these cash withdrawals, no dual control, and no reporting to the County Administrator,” the audit says. “This is a material weakness and creates the potential for fraud.”

Carter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The audit’s revelations come amid a decadelong parade of scandals involving South Carolina sheriffs. Roughly one in three South Carolina counties have seen their sheriffs run afoul of the law.

All told, 14 sheriffs have been accused of violating laws they were sworn to uphold. A fifteenth, this one in Orangeburg, funneled public funds into a bogus credit union to buy a $72,000 mobile home.

The audit is also another blow to a county that has long struggled with soaring poverty, failing schools and government mismanagement. In the past five years, the state took over the county’s low-performing school district for the second time while three of Allendale’s public officials went to jail on embezzlement charges.

All this occurred after the county lost its lone newspaper, the weekly Allendale Sun, in 2015 — depriving residents of a key agent to scrutinize the actions of government officials.

Time and again in South Carolina, a lack of scrutiny and financial controls has led to allegations of mismanagement or worse, The Post and Courier has detailed this year in its Uncovered series. The newspaper has partnered with 16 news outlets to expose misconduct and questionable government actions across the Palmetto State, and explore the roots of those problems.

Beyond the Sheriff’s Office, the Allendale County audit shows far-reaching risks given a lack of checks and balances and a serious lack of accounting across departments:

• Officials have kept no master list of capital assets.

• Payments for women’s jail renovations were made without invoices.

• The county clerk alone has nine bank accounts and is the sole person receiving and distributing money in them. She paid $13,195 in Christmas bonuses to her staff, including herself, out of a discretionary fund in 2020 but didn’t account for them in the county payroll system or report them to the IRS on W-2s. The clerk, Elaine Sabb, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“It’s been going on and going on,” Burkett said. “All of this leads to potential for fraud.”

Tony Bartelme and Glenn Smith contributed to this report from Charleston.

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