Developer pleads guilty in SCSU land scheme
CHARLESTON, Feb 08, 2013 (The Times and Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A Florida developer admitted his role in a land scheme involving South Carolina State University on Friday.
Richard Zahn pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston. He was released on $100,000 bond while he awaits sentencing. He faces up to five years in prison.
Federal authorities alleged he conspired with former S.C. State Board of Trustees Chairman Jonathan Pinson to sell the university the $3.2 million Sportsmans Retreat in Orangeburg County. Zahn's company owns the 120-acre property, which is located on Wild Heart's Road off Highway 301.
Pinson, business partner Eric Robinson and the university's former chief of police, Michael Bartley, are facing federal corruption charges.
Bartley pleaded guilty and is out on bail while awaiting sentencing.
Pinson and Robinson have pleaded not guilty. They are out on bail and awaiting trial.
Using evidence gained through phone taps, court filings allege Zahn and Pinson discussed the issue over the phone on eight different occasions between September and November 2011.
The filings claim that during a phone call on Oct. 7, 2011, "Defendant Zahn agreed to provide Pinson with a new Porsche Cayenne automobile as a 'thank you' if Pinson arranged SCSU's purchase of the Sportsman's Retreat."
The filings claim that Zahn told Pinson during one phone call he wanted S.C. State to sign a contract concerning the purchase and Pinson replied that he was "on top of that."
Zahn is a former Orangeburg County resident. His company, Zahn Realty Group, SC LLC, purchased about 80 acres at the Wild Heart's Road site in 2006 for $1.3 million.
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