Man accused of blackmailing school district apologizes

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – The community activist accused of blackmailing the Charleston County School District is speaking out more than a month after the incident that forced him to resign.

Constituent School Board Member Tony Lewis apologized Friday for a voicemail where he alluded to sexual misconduct between a teacher and a student. “I was angry,” said Lewis, “it came out the wrong way.”

In August, then District 20 School Board Chairman Tony Lewis left a message for the CCSD Human Resources Director saying that he would expose an inappropriate relationship at downtown school unless the district gave five women he mentioned in the voicemail jobs.

Lewis denied the blackmail allegations – citing he would not benefit personally. “I didn’t blackmail nobody because again I didn’t get a nickel, a dollar or no job out of that situation,” said Lewis. The 54-year-old says he was “advocating” for the women he mentioned in the voicemail.

“This is a ploy to keep me off the school board,” added Lewis. He is running for CCSD’s consolidated board in November.

The Charleston Police Department is still investigating Lewis’ claims. CCSD officials say they have not determined if they will press charges on Lewis for blackmail.

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