WINNSBORO — Sparks flew and crossed racial lines during Monday night’s Fairfield County Council meeting when District 3 Councilman Mikel Trapp said he has been called a racial slur by more than one member of a local citizen’s group.
“This group (Saving Fairfield) promotes hate and racism,” said Trapp, who is African-American. “If you think you can get me to resign, it ain’t gonna happen. Beat me at the ballot box.”
Following regular session, Trapp did not identify any person by name or a time the verbal assault occurred.
When asked who specifically called him the N-word, Trapp said there was nobody specific. “It was just a member of their (Saving Fairfield) group,” he said.
Trapp claims that people have called his employer attempting to have him fired. He is a vocational teacher at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.
In a written statement from Saving Fairfield spokesman Bob Carrison, Carrison stated he is aware of Trapp’s allegations but believes they have no credibility.
“I can assure you that I have never heard any of our members use a racial slur, in regards to Mr. Trapp or in general,” he wrote. “I am not aware of anyone contacting his employer, and if I found that someone in our group had done so I would ask them to quit their association with Saving Fairfield.”
Carrison said that Saving Fairfield has one objective — to bring good, transparent governance to Fairfield County. He expanded on the group’s values by stating that members are comprised of mixed race.
“We are a mixed race, mixed political affiliation organization,” Carrison wrote. “We regret that Mr. Trapp holds this particular opinion.”
Trapp’s remarks trailed the public comments of District 3 constituent and Blair resident William Coleman.
Coleman’s comments addressed Trapp’s remarks from the Feb. 10 meeting when Trapp stated that members of the Saving Fairfield group are targeting S2 Engineering because it is an African-American owned company.
“I was both shocked and appalled that you (Trapp) pulled out the race card,” Coleman said. “Skin color has nothing to do with all the bad workmanship and expensive cost to this county.”
Coleman said he had no idea s2 owner Sam Savage was African-American until he appeared at a council meeting.
“It didn’t matter and still doesn’t matter,” Coleman said.
Coleman said he supported Trapp by both voting and contributing to his campaign, but questioned Trapp’s credibility on the issue of being called a racial slur since he is being questioned about tuition reimbursement payments, payments in lieu of health insurance and missing multiple council meetings.
Trapp said he had no record of Coleman’s support and that he didn’t want his support.
“I don’t need support from people who promote racism and hatred,” Trapp replied. “That not only goes for him (Coleman), but for anyone else in District 3 who feels that way.”
Coleman wrapped up his public comments by stating he would not vote for Trapp in the upcoming election.
Trapp’s accusations during the Feb. 10 meeting came more than a month after a portion of the Drawdy Park retaining wall collapsed.
“For those in the audience who are not familiar, S2 Engineering firm is a black firm,” Trapp said during the Feb. 10 meeting. “So, some of the blacks can probably relate. It’s the only black firm in the county and who’s all complaining about them? They happen to be all white Fairfield County citizens.”
The collapse sparked criticism of the project manager (S2) and caused Councilman David Brown to call for a motion to review all S2 projects, which Trapp voted for.