Johnson, who served as post commander for many years before resigning in March, had used his personal vehicle to conduct Legion business, representing not only Post 22, but District 8, which includes Union, Spartanburg, Inman, Chesnee, Gaffney, Woodruff and Boiling Springs.
A vote on whether to buy the car was supposed to have taken place during the annual Veterans Day Banquet, but for some reason, it was not. A board member suggested that other members be polled by telephone and nine of the 12 approved buying the car, Johnson says.
Later, Johnson traded in his old Ford Escort for a Nissan, paying $13,000 for the new vehicle.
Johnson insists there was no wrongdoing on his part.
“I think the majority of the members of my post wanted this to happen,” he said Monday. “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Had the money Johnson used to buy the car been just Legion funds, the matter probably would have been settled internally. However, since Post 22 receives $24,000 each year from Union County and $1,000 from the City of Union for the operation of Veterans Park, news of the purchase raised warning flags, especially among other Post 22 members.
Acting post commander Paul Davis met with Mayor Harold Thompson and city attorney Billy Whitney on Tuesday to discuss the matter, along with operational issues related to the park.
If nothing else comes from this controversy, Post 22 should take better care of the money it receives from the city and county. By the same token, the city and county should provide Post 22 with guidelines on how the money can be spent.