Lawsuit claims Charleston County Sheriff’s Office failed to pay former deputies money owed through incentive program

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A former deputy with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office has filed a lawsuit claiming the department failed to pay money owed to them through an incentive program.

The lawsuit, filed by Don Frichtl, a former master deputy for the sheriff’s office, says he never received promised incentive pay through a program that was established under previous sheriff Al Cannon in 1995.

According to the lawsuit, Frichtl says he’s missing more than $8,000 in payments from 2018 until April of this year. A violation, according to the lawsuit, of the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act and breach of contract.

Frichtl is being represented by Co-counsel Brett Ehman and Riesen DuRant. Ehman says his clients recently realized the missing money from his pension payments dating back to 2018 and filed suit.

“From that point until 2021 when Sheriff Graziano became the elected Sheriff I think about five or six months into her term, there were no payments being made to the deputies through the plan,” says Ehman. “Now it’s my understanding that Sheriff Graziano reinstituted that plan somewhat recently. But there is over three years those deputies weren’t getting those payments.”

The lawsuit was filed against both Charleston County and Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano.

Frichtl began working for the department in March 1996 and retired after 25 years in April 2021. He was assigned to maximum security, the juvenile detention center, and the jail transport unit during his time.

The program was supposed to incentivize education by paying deputies between $2,000 and $4,000 to receive college degrees. The ‘Educational Incentive Program’ was established in 1995 under former Sheriff Al Cannon.

Ehman says the plan was discontinued sometime in 2017 but claims employees were never notified of the change prevented current and past employees from receiving owed money and pensions.

Court records show Sheriff Graziano filed a similar lawsuit for missing payments back in 2019 but the case was dismissed in January 2021 after she took office as Sheriff.

We reached out to Sheriff Graziano’s office and Charleston County about the lawsuit. Both told us they cannot comment on pending litigation.

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