MCBEE, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — You can’t throw a peach in McBee without hitting someone who knows the name Glenn Odom. Odom was once a town magistrate, the mayor, then a sitting councilman, and was sworn into office as mayor again in February.
Odom was also the president of Alligator Rural Water and Sewer Company, the largest water company in Chesterfield County. After retiring in the summer of 2021, Odom became what he describes as an unpaid “consultant” for the water company.
Alligator Water and Odom still have a financial relationship. Odom told Queen City News Chief Investigator Jody Barr he still runs the day-to-day operations of the water company through a private company bearing Odom’s name: Odom and Associates.
Odom earns $120,000 a year from Odom and Associates, he told Barr in an October 2023 interview inside McBee’s town hall.
Odom was sworn into the mayor’s office in February 2023 and one of his first official acts in his first 24 hours was to vote on a motion allowing Alligator Water to take over the operations and maintenance contract for the town’s water department from Oliver Environmental, a local company hired by the previous town administration to run the town’s water department.
The vote essentially shut down the town’s water department, handing that over to Alligator Water. Odom told Barr he stands behind his vote, despite a potential ethics violation over it.
Citing a SC Department of Health and Environmental Control inspection from September 2022 finding the town’s water department as “Needs Improvement” and other failed inspections, Odom said his vote was to address what he believed was a “public health” threat within the town’s water department.
Odom was one of four councilmen present at the Feb. 11, 2023, council meeting when the water vote was taken.
Odom wasn’t the only official with an apparent conflict of interest who cast a vote in February. McBee Town Councilman James Linton is also employed by Alligator Water. Council minutes show Linton not only seconded the motion but also voted for it.
Linton and Odom’s votes helped ensure Alligator Water’s takeover of the town’s water services. Town Councilman Robbie Liles also voted for it. Odom told QCN Liles does not work for Alligator Water or Odom and Associates and we could not find any evidence tying Liles to those companies. The only connection we could find was in county property records showing Liles’ home is owned by Glenn Odom.
Councilman Charlie Sutton didn’t vote on the motion to hand over the town’s water service to Alligator Water “temporarily,” council minutes show. Alligator Water has controlled the town’s water service for seven months now. Bids to take over the town’s water permanently will be opened at McBee’s next council meeting in November, Odom said.
The South Carolina Ethics Commission is actively investigating the February water vote, Odom confirmed in multiple conversations with him on – and off the record. The mayor asked to keep the details of his conversations with ethics investigators off the record.
State law bans members of the ethics commission from even simply confirming the existence of an investigation. A Supreme Court ruling struck down the state’s ban against complainants and the subjects of a state ethics investigation from disclosing the existence of a state probe.
Our ‘Unreal Deal’ investigation also digs into how Alligator Water ended up with 0.73 acres of town property in June. The town council voted in 1998 to give Alligator Water the plot of land, but council records show, the council never finished conveying the property to Odom and Alligator Water in the past 25 years.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina told QCN that municipalities are required to pass ordinances to legally convey public property. McBee’s clerk could not find an ordinance showing the council ever held two public readings to pass an ordinance to give the property to Odom and Alligator Water.
The land deal closed just four months after Odom took office.
Watch our ‘Unreal Deal’ investigation, Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Queen City News.