June 18th, 2010
07:19 PM ET
4 years ago

'Connected' Haley helped engineering firm

GOP gubernatorial front runner Nikki Haley made her 2009 tax records available to reporters Thursday.
GOP gubernatorial front runner Nikki Haley made her 2009 tax records available to reporters Thursday.

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) – The engineering executive who hired Nikki Haley for consulting work while she served in the South Carolina legislature said Friday that Haley's political and business connections helped his company get ahead.

Haley, now the frontrunner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, was paid $2,000 in 2008 by the engineering firm, Wilbur Smith Associates. The income was disclosed Thursday after Haley made her 2009 tax records available to reporters. Her 2008 paycheck did not clear until 2009, she said.

Her opponent in the June 22 runoff election, Rep. Gresham Barrett, had previously revealed his income and tax records in keeping with federal disclosure laws.

Haley was hired as a consultant by Robert Ferrell, the southeast region business development manager for Wilbur Smith Associates.

Ferrell told CNN that Haley, a state representative from Lexington County, entered into "a business relationship" with the firm in 2007 or 2008. Their relationship extends back to when the two served together on the Lexington Chamber of Commerce board of directors, he said.

"I knew her to be a connected person who had access to a lot of folks and information, and in my business, that sort of information is critical to get ahead," Ferrell told CNN. "If she would hear about things that were going on, primarily county-type stuff, or developers who were getting ready to do stuff, she would give us a heads up, and we would see where it went."

He said Haley no longer does work for the company. Haley, who has made transparency in government a central plank of her campaign, has not elaborated on what specific kind of work she did for the engineering firm.

Ferrell said he has made a practice of hiring well-connected people to keep the company apprised of potential business prospects. But he stressed that Haley "was not a lobbyist" and did not tip the firm off to forthcoming state contracts.

"She was simply a contact person who had access to information through the normal course of her business and contacts," Ferrell said. "Periodically we will retain people who have connections to certain parts of the industry that we do business with. They give us leads. They help us with things."

Haley told The State newspaper Friday that she recused herself from votes involving the company.

The newspaper also reported that Haley had previously failed to disclose her work for Wilbur Smith Associates in state ethics filings. The State Ethics Commission, however, said Haley did not violate any laws by failing to disclose the income.

Asked about the income on Friday, Haley told reporters in Charleston, "I have always followed the rules of the law. I will continue follow the rules of the law."


Filed under: 2010 • Gresham Barrett • Nikki Haley • South Carolina
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. timz

    A real "reformer."

    June 18, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. Ndubueze Chuku

    Here they go again. When will this guys stop. Soon someone will come out and say they overheard Haley talking with Osama Bin Laden. Holy Moses!!!!

    June 18, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Sounds like another conflict of interest for her benefit.

    June 18, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. They call me "tater salad"

    "When asked about the income Haley replied", "I always follow the rule of law and I will continue to follow the rule of law". WOW!!!........Guilty conscience much!? How about you answer the question as it was asked and save the double speak for the halfwit lemmings that are uneducated enough to listen to it for more than 5 minutes!!.........PHONY ALERT!!!!!

    June 18, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. William Jefferson

    A connected republicon using government to get rich. Sounds like she should get along great with bush and cheney and rove and the rest of those good old boys who so readily sell the United States for a fat check and a country club membership. Heck, they'd sell their own mothers if the price was good, and their kids if the price was even modest........

    he is like a frumpy palin. Not much "there" there. No real ideas, no real plan, just a skirt mouthing republicon platitudes and stealing from the public.

    June 18, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    How nice that this company did well. Did nikki leave a little of herself behind here also?
    The rules of the law she follows. The rules of decency she is not familiar with it seems.
    We stil haven't seen the quitter's medical records. What are they both hiding?

    June 18, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  7. gr

    There is alot to learn about this woman that like living in the gray area. One day she is going to tip over.

    June 18, 2010 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. gr

    The newspaper also reported that Haley had previously failed to disclose her work for Wilbur Smith Associates in state ethics filings. The State Ethics Commission, however, said Haley did not violate any laws by failing to disclose the income.

    Asked about the income on Friday, Haley told reporters in Charleston, "I have always followed the rules of the law. I will continue follow the rules of the law."
    -------------------------------–

    She is begging to look like Sara Palin living in the gray area of Ethicis rules.

    June 18, 2010 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  9. gr

    The engineering executive who hired Nikki Haley for consulting work while she served in the South Carolina legislature said Friday that Haley's political and business connections helped his company get ahead.

    Republicans is all for helping out the Big greedy Corps. but never one to help out the American working middle class. What is her record on helping the average Joe?

    June 18, 2010 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. ChristianLibrul

    It's time for America to eradicate the disease of cancervatism once and for all as we did with polio in the 1950s.

    June 18, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. George of the jungle

    sure she did not tip anyone. Right. Got paid for just being a contact person. Right again You believe that and i have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

    June 18, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. Gil

    Who knows what the people in S. C. think is legal and illegal? I know in my state Haley would be sighted for a conflict of interests and probably removed from government. In light of Barton's comments who, in the right mind, could vote for a member of the Party of NO withtheir ties to big business and big oil???? Some fool probably still exists!!

    June 18, 2010 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. Aaron

    She fits right into the corrupt world of SC politics. She's a shoo in for governor. They'll line up for miles to vote for her come Nov.

    June 18, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |