In The News

Suit Might Undo Huge Tax Breaks for Student Housing

February 11, 2016

By Clif Leblanc, The State

Plan favors some projects at the expense of others, attorney argues.  

A new lawsuit threatens to unravel millions of dollars in student housing tax breaks that led to a burst of high-end, dormitory-like construction in the Capital City in the past two years.

Sloan Case Heads to Supreme Court

March 29, 2011
By Cindy Landrum, The Greenville Journal

Ned’s Sloan dispute with the Friends of the Hunley over financial records is headed to the South Carolina Supreme Court – again.
This time, the court will decide whether Circuit Court Judge Joseph Strickland’s order that the Friends of the Hunley pay Sloan attorney fees totaling $138,529.51 in the case that is now 10 years old will stand. 

Sloan Suits Start with Sunshine Law

March 17, 2010
By Joanne Brooks, Staff Writer, The Greenville News

Now 80 years old, retired road builder Edward “Ned” Sloan has sued various governmental entities on more occasions than either he or his lawyer can remember.

Sloan’s guess: more than 40 times. His attorney James Carpenter thinks the number is around 50 or 60.

His courtroom opponents have included Greenville County Schools, the state Department of Transportation, the governor of South Carolina, the Greenville Hospital System, the City of Greenville, Greenville County and Friends of the Hunley, among others.

Additionally, the South Carolina Public Interest Foundation, which Sloan set up about five years ago, has filed lawsuits in Spartanburg, Colleton County, Greenwood County, Pickens County, several in Richland County against state government entities, and “maybe a few other places,” his attorney says.

Sticking to His Guns

August 1, 2008
B Bill Davis, Editor, S.C. Statehouse Report

If he were cuter or fuzzier, Ned Sloan might remind people of the Energizer Bunny because of the way he keeps going and going and going. 

But the way the 79-year-old retired Greenville construction executive keeps suing and suing and suing government, he must seem more like the T-800 model Terminator to bureaucrats across the state.    

In total, Sloan, with the help of attorney Jim Carpenter and the South Carolina  Public Interest Foundation, has sued South Carolina governments and agencies as many as 60 times since 1989.

High Court Rebukes DOT

August 26, 2008
By Andy Paras, The Post and Courier

The state Transportation Department broke the law four years ago when it used an emergency provision to hire a contractor on the long-delayed Ladson Road project without soliciting bids, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The Supreme Court agreed with Ed Sloan, a citizen watchdog from Greenville, who alleged in a lawsuit that no emergency existed to justify the DOT hiring anew company, Sanders Brothers Construction, without soliciting public bids.

“Even though it was a political crises and a PR fiasco, it was not a case of an emergency,” said Jim Carpenter, Sloan’s attorney. 

Another Win for Ed Sloan, S.C.’s Top Citizen Watchdog

August 31, 2008
By Barbara S. Williams, Editor Emeritus, Charleston Post and Courier  

Sloan has also proven to be a friend of the state’s Freedom of Information Act and still is in litigation with the Friends of the Hunley. While he quickly got the information he sought, the lawsuit stayed alive for nearly five years before it was declared moot. Carpenter cites as one of the most positive outcomes the Hunley support group’s concession that it is a public body. He currently is attempting to recover $140,000 in attorney’s fees.

One of the most significant aspects of the Sloan lawsuits has been the high court’s finding on numerous occasions that the private citizen had “standing” – the right to sue government agencies even though he had no direct interest in the outcome.

No-Bid Contract Not Justified by Project Delays

September 1, 2008
By Gregory Froom, Editor, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly

Although residents were aggravated with a dragging Charleston County road-widening project that presented highway hazards, it wasn’t an emergency that would allow the Department of Transportation to sign a no-bid contract to get the done quickly, the state Supreme Court ruled August 25.

The DOT’s construction director testified that an emergency existed based on “just the safety of the individuals getting in and out of their driveways….the entrances and exits for the businesses and just…….general traveling through that work zone.:

Said Carpenter, “If you say that, though, every construction project is an emergency.” According to him, examples of true emergencies would be hurricane and flood damage or where a ship hits a bridge.

DOT contended that the statute required only that the director determine an emergency existed and that the contract be made public at the next DOT commission meeting. It argued that the director’s decision was discretionary.

The majority rejected that view and remanded the case for further proceedings. 

Latest Sloan Win Further Chips Away at Government Arrogance

September 10, 2008
By Cindi Ross Scopee, Associate Editor, The State

I don’t agree with all of Mr. Sloan’s priorities when it comes to selecting litigation targets. I certainly don’t agree with all of his politics. And his proclamation that his new S.C. Public Interest Foundation’s “method is litigation, not political persuasion” is one I would normally find off-putting, since determining public policy is the exclusive domain of the political branches.

Except that there’s a world of difference between trying to twist the law on the constitution to make them apply in creative new ways that their authors never imagined- as public interest groups usually do when they rely on litigation rather than politics – and asking merely that the government live by the rules it has written for itself. Don’t like the rules? Then change them. But as long as they’re on the books, abide by them.

Every time Mr. Sloan is granted standing to sue merely because he’s a citizen who expects his government to follow the rules, he makes it a little harder for our government to keep ignoring the rules. And whether you agree with those rules or not, this is something that should encourage us all. 

 Under The Microscope

October 13, 2008
By Rick Brundrett, Special To South Carolina Lawyers Weekly

Many men Sloan’s age might prefer spending most of their time hitting golf balls or playing with their grandchildren. While Sloan is no doubt proud of his grandson – a picture of the boy hangs on the wall next to the 23 checks he’s received over the years for attorney’s fees and costs awarded to him – he says he’s on a mission.

“Defending the Constitution – fundamentally, I don’t know anything more important than that,” Sloan said. “Some of the Bible-thumpers might have a different answer, but I’m not one of them.”

Greenville attorney James G. Carpenter has stood by Sloan’s side in court over the past 10 years.

“Hes a no-nonsense guy,” Carpenter told South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, “Some people stand around and grip but he takes action.”

50 Most Influential People of 2006

December 2006
Greenville Magazine
12. Ned Sloan

He’s sued the Phoenix Center. He’s sued the state. He’s sued the city and the county. He’s fought for better terms on gaining information from public entities. Although some may see him as a nuisance, one thing is definitive – Ned Sloan, retired contractor, “citizen activist” and “taxpayer watchdog” is influential. Though suits may be won or lost, he has challenged our local government at all levels. Keeping us all a little straighter in line. 

 Citizens Take Note of FOIA

March 13, 2005
By Associated Press, The Post and Courier

“Everybody should have to follow the law. That include governments too,” said Sloan who takes on all comers from the local school board’s building plans to the Legislature’s attempts to pack a number of unrelated items into popular bills.

The former president of an Upstate road-paving firm has been taking on government for more than three decades. It started when officials would tell him he wasn’t following government policy.

“It was intimidation. But I got tired of bureaucrats telling me I was violating some regulation and a copy of it wasn’t available.”

Sloan is like many people who use the state Freedom of Information Act law to ask for government records when their initial requests are rejected.

 The Litigator

July 7-13, 2004
By Eric Ward, The Free Times

Carpenter, who handles most of Sloan’s cases, says people appreciate the gadfly’s efforts. “People come up to me every so often and say, ‘I know you represent Ned Sloan and I just want you to know I really appreciate what he’s doing.’”

Suing Government Becomes Passion For Former Businessman

December 29, 2003
By Associated Press

On a wall in his Greenville office, retired businessman Edward D. Sloan Jr. displays 14 checks from state and local governments reimbursing him for legal fees incurred in lawsuits.

The checks are the spols of one of Sloan’s greatest passions- using the court to make sure governments do not overstep their authority. He said he puts them on the wall “like farmers used to nail skunks’ hises to the barn door.”

From his cluttered five-room office in the basement of a small business strip, the 74-year-old Sloan, retired as president of Sloan Construction Co., runs a thriving personal litigation enterprise from which he wanders into any legal territory that suits his sense of justice. 

Obey The Law

December 28, 2003
By Tom Langhorne, Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Greenville attorney James G. Carpenter, who estimated he has represented Sloan in more than two dozen procurement cases against governmental agencies, said Sloan is usually right when he says something is against the law. Carpenter pointed to Sloan’s engineering degree from The Citadel and his experience as a paving contractor.

“Mr. Sloan is a knowledgeable client,” he said. “He has a wealth of practical experience with government contracts and he knows procurement law – but he has continued to educate himself on state and local procurement codes. He’s a good resource for me.

Bringing taxpayer lawsuits, we have established some precedents and some case law. I’ve heard of government agencies in the Upstate who have refused opportunities to skirt the law because of fear of Ed Sloan.”

Constitutional Watchdog Warning

December 14, 2003
The Post and Courier

Gadfly or not, it’s refreshing to find a citizen who cares enough about the state constitution to try to hold government at all levels to its test.

Contract to Construct Three Middle Schools Void

August 20, 2003
By Bob Dill, The Times Examiner

Circuit Court Judge John C. Few has granted Edward D. Sloan, Jr. a declaratory judgment that the School District of Greenville County, “illegally declared an emergency when no emergency existed,” in order to avoid the required competitive bidding process on the construction of three middle schools.

Court documents indicate that each of the three identical determinations is invalid in its form fro lack of a sufficient factual justification for using an emergency exception and that the contracts procuring the construction are unquestionably void for failure to strictly comply with the procurement statutes.

Sloan was represented in the case by the Carpenter Law Firm.

Just Say No!

February 16, 2002
By James Shannon, Creative Loafing   

Name the single individual who has had the greatest impact on local government policy in recent years. Greenville County Council Chairman Dozier Brooks? Maybe. Greenville Mayor Knox White? Probably not. House Speaker David Wilkins? Perhaps. But serious consideration has to be given to 72-year-old retired paving contractor E.D. Sloan, Jr. who has waged a one-man campaign to force state and local government to comply with the law. Or at least the law as Ned Sloan sees it.

“Mr. Sloan believes that local government should follow the law when the spend the taxpayers’ money, “says James G. Carpenter, a Greenville attorney who represents Sloan in many of his cases.