Anderson County Council member Eddie Moore
The severance-pay battle between current and former Anderson County leaders has cast light on the past of county council member Eddie Moore, who admitted he once belonged to the Ku Klux Klan.
Moore made the admission in a deposition that was included in court documents filed Monday as part of the lawsuit between Anderson County and its former administrator, Joey Preston.
The county is suing Preston to try to reclaim a $1.1 million severance package awarded him in November 2008. A Spartanburg judge is hearing motions in that pay case on Tuesday.
During Moore’s deposition in the severance-pay case, it was Preston’s attorney, Lane Davis, who asked the council member about an affiliation with the KKK.
Moore admitted during the deposition that he did have an affiliation with the organization during his "early younger days … probably as a teenager."
Moore said in the deposition that his affiliation with the KKK "probably lasted a couple of years."
Then, Davis, Preston’s attorney, asked Moore directly: "Were you a member?"
Moore responded: "I was."
Moore spoke briefly with the Independent Mail on Monday, but declined to answer most questions about his time in the KKK.
"I was a sheriff’s deputy at the time," Moore told the Independent Mail.
He referred all other questions to his attorney, Kurt Gibson. Gibson could not be reached Monday night.
In the deposition where the KKK affiliation is addressed, there is no mention of Moore’s service as a deputy.
Moore said in the deposition that he never participated in any KKK ceremonies and "never went to a cross burning."
He was also asked about owning a KKK garment.
"I don’t recall ever owning a hood," he said. "I went to some meetings and that was it."
According to the deposition, Davis was asking Moore the questions to explore whether Moore’s attitudes are based on a prejudice against blacks.
"One of his co-council members (Gracie Floyd) is an African-American and throughout this case there have been allegations that she was a sympathizer of Joey Preston," Davis said. "And I’m exploring the potentiality that her being cast as such was not born out of fact, but out of some sort of prejudice that Mr. Moore may or may not have."
A few minutes later in the deposition, Davis questioned Moore about former county administrator Michael Cunningham, who was hired to replaced Preston, but was fired just a few months later. Cunningham is also black.
"Mr. Moore, did you ever make a statement accusing Joey Preston of hiring ‘a nigger’ to replace him in order to spite the incoming council?" Davis asked him.
"I don’t ever recall making a statement like that," Moore said. "I don’t recall that."
Davis asked: "Did you ever refer to Michael Cunningham as a nigger?"
"I never, ever that I can ever remember calling him that," Moore said.
Davis asked Moore if he denied making the statement or if he just did not recall making it.
"I don’t ever remember making that statement," Moore said.
Views – 25