Greenville County Councilman and Convicted Felon
Tony Trout was killed in a fall from a tree on the evening of 25 July 2018. Trout was a former Greenville County Councilman who made history and changed Greenville County government significantly.
Trout and two other candidates who were unknown to local Republicans were recruited by Democrats who had been unable to pass an ordinance requiring Greenville County to require the county to give county employees a paid holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King.
The Republican majority of Greenville County Council had refused to be forced to pass the paid holiday because no other person other than presidents of the United States was honored with a paid holiday. Democrats took advantage of the unpopular South Carolina open primary system that allows Democrats to vote in Republican primaries. They openly urged democrats to cross over party lines and vote for Democrats running as Republicans. Trout narrowly won the Republican Primary over Steve Selby with cross over Democrats and a few other non-Republican votes.
Trout and other King Holiday advocates threatened several Republican, including Rev. Stan Craig and this Publisher. The council chairman was undecided about how to vote on the issue. Rev. Jesse Jackson brought his Operation Push from Chicago ND Atlanta to fill Council chambers on several occasions. During one meeting a King holiday support chocked an opponent without being arrested although many Deputy Sheriffs were present.
That was the meeting that Jackson, the Democrats on council and others with the group chased the Council Ch=airman and other members of council out of their chairs and out the back door and occupied the chambers until morning.
One of the newcomers became the chairman of council and Trout became part of the power structure. He was accused of abusing a female employee of the county and eventually decided to clean up the county procurement system that had many legitimate critics.
As a critic of the arbitrary procurement, Trout became brave and violated federal law by hacking into the county administrator's county computer; and publishing contents of personal correspondence of a sexual nature between the administrator and a woman from a previous job. Trout was removed from office by the Governor, tried in federal court, convicted and sentenced to a year in federal penitentiary. He was later convicted of tampering with a county grand jury and served another six months.
Trout had served as a policeman in Mauldin and had been fired for abuse of citizens. In some respects, he wanted to clean up the problems he discovered; in the county, but his support from Democrats and civil rights groups apparently had him thinking he was above the law. Abuse of power destroyed a man with potential.