Batesburg-Leesville, SC 11/01/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Batesburg-Leesville Town Councilman Steve Cain, currently a candidate for mayor against popular incumbent Lancer Shull, was recently placed on trespass notice by a local apartment complex’s manager after he was accused of verbally abusing the staff of that property. Officers from the Batesburg-Leesville Police Department responded and acted as witnesses to the warning for Cain not to come back on the property that was given by the complex’s management. Since that warning is now on record, if Cain returns to that property, he can be arrested without any further warning. The police officers made sure that Cain left the property that day to ensure the safety of the complexes staff.
According to a compliant made by Annette Thomason, the manager of the Augusta Springs Apartments, Cain recently showed up at the complex riding a bicycle. Once he arrived, he asked to inspect an apartment that had recently experienced a flooding incident. When asked why a town councilman was inspecting an apartment after the complex’s maintenance and administrative staff had already addressed the matter with Batesburg-Leesville’s Code Enforcement Department, he told them that he had a longtime family friend who lived there and he, “looks out for his people.”
Using one’s influence as an elected official to intervene on any issue for a friend is frowned upon by the SC State Ethics Commission and is usually considered unethical. This is especially true when the town’s staff is already working through the process of solving that issue with management while following the town’s adopted codes and guidelines as they should.
In this recent incident, Cain continued to interfere with the complex’s staff who were working to mitigate the flooding that day. The apartments’ manager, Thomason, said that Cain approached her while she was on her phone discussing repairs with an individual who was already on the property. Cain asked if he needed to speak with that tradesman but was told they didn’t need him to interfere with the repair work already going on. Thomason said that at this point, Cain became aggressive and verbally abusive to the point that a member of her maintenance staff moved to stand beside her in fear Cain might become physical. At this point, Thomason felt that Cain’s presence was hindering their work and asked him to leave. Instead of heeding her request, Cain said, “F**K you,” and then told her and the maintenance technician together, “F**K both of you!” That’s when Thomason called the police and a Batesburg-Leesville officer responded.
Before he left, Cain threatened Thomason again, according to her statement. He told her that he would get the state involved in the maintenance issue and he’d make sure they found something wrong with their apartments. All this appears to have been an attempt by Cain to intimidate the staff and gain special treatment for his friends on the repair work that was already being addressed.
In closing her statement that fund its way into the hands of the town, Ms. Thomason asked if Cain’s behavior was encouraged by the town. She described Cain as a, “ticking time bomb.” and said, “I have never witnessed such an abuse of power.”
Cain in no stranger to legal problems. He has been arrested in 2019 on an outstanding warrant from Lexington County for failure to pay child support. It was alleged that Cain had been hiding out of state to avoid having the warrant served prior to his arrest.
Prior to that, in May of 2014 can had to be physically removed from a town meeting after he refuse to follow Robert’s Rules of Order, the standard guidelines that are used to keep order in most governmental meetings. Cain was ruled out of order and would not yield the floor openly arguing with then Mayor Rita Crapps until she asked that Police Chief Wallace Oswald remove him from the meeting. Oswald and other officers tried to escort Cain from the meeting but instead of leaving as asked, he began a struggle that ended with him being forcefully removed and complaining of back pain.
At one point while serving on town council, Cain was removed from his seat after it was proven that he was not living full-time in the district that he represented. He moved back into that district, later ran again, and was reelected to the town’s council.