The South Carolina Governor and the Argentine Affair

Written by Janet

Last week the Governor of South Carolina was missing, and no one knew where he was, not even his wife….the report his office released was that he was in the mountains hiking, when in fact he hopped a plane to South America, Argentina, in fact to be with his mistress.

The governor admitted last week to a yearlong affair with a woman in Argentina. He and his wife say they will try to reconcile. Some lawmakers are calling for him to resign because he used public money to see the mistress during one trip, and because he was out of touch with his staff during his recent weeklong tryst.

Sanford repeatedly said he did not use public money for the trip, so it was not clear why he has agreed to reimburse the state for some of the more-than $8,000 in taxpayer money spent on the Argentina leg of an economic development trip to South America last year. (And in another report, his wife told him not to go on that trip.)

Today he is admitting to other encounters with his Argentine mistress than he previously has disclosed.  The governor described seven meetings with the woman, including their first in 2001. Sanford says there have been five over a 12-month period, including two multi-night stays with her in New York.

It was the first disclosure of any get-togethers with her in the United States and contradicted a public confession last week during which he admitted to a total of four encounters in the past year.

He previously announced he would reimburse the state for money spent during a government trip to Brazil and Argentina in June 2008. But he insists no public money was used for any other meetings with her.

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29 Comments

  1. newsdeskinternational

    Meet Maria: Sanford’s mistress

    Argentinian news sources have outed Gov. Mark Sanford’s mistress as María Belén Chapur—some are spelling her last name “Shapur”—a 43-year-old agribusiness executive.

    The Argentine national, Maria Chapur, if the unofficial name of the woman known only as Maria by emails that romantically link Sanford to Maria Belen Chapur..

    Reports say Maria Belen Chapur lives in Palermo quarter of the Argentine capital, and is separated or divorced from her husband. Maria Chapur is said to be a fitness fanatic and a former TV journalist for VIVO TV Argentina.

  2. newsdeskinternational

    South Carolina governor: mistress is soulmate, but trying to fall back in love with wife

    Gov Mark Sanford confessed he crossed the lines with other women, other than his mistress but he never had sex with them. The governor said he “never crossed the ultimate line” with anyone but Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine at the center of a scandal that has derailed his once-promising political career.

    He said this is a tragic love story, of a forbidden love. Sanford said Chapur is his soul mate but he’s trying to fall back in love with his wife. He said that during the encounters with other women he “let his guard down” with some physical contact but “didn’t cross the sex line.” He wouldn’t go into detail.

    Sanford said the casual encounters happened outside the U.S. while he was married but before he met Chapur, on trips to “blow off steam” with male friends.

  3. newsdeskinternational

    Call for Sanford resignation grows louder in South Carolina

    The resignation drumbeat continued in South Carolina on Wednesday, where GOP state senators continued to call for Gov. Mark Sanford to step down.

    GOP Sens. Daniel Verdin, Shane Martin and Wes Hayes joined the anti-Sanford chorus Wednesday morning, bringing the total number of Republican senators calling for the governor’s resignation to 12. There are 27 Republicans in the state Senate.

    Sanford’s support among legislators and grassroots leaders in the state eroded considerably Tuesday after Sanford told The Associated Press he had met with his mistress more times than he had previously disclosed. He also admitted to dalliances with other women.

    At least four county GOP chairmen have also called for Sanford to go. A top South Carolina Democrat also called for Sanford’s resignation Wednesday. “While I believe an investigation should still be done to determine the full extent of Mark Sanford’s abuse of power, [through] his long stream of confessions he has already revealed enough immoral and reprehensible behavior to justify asking him to step [down],” state Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler said in a statement.

    “State officials seem unable to do anything except worry and talk about Governor Sanford’s extramarital affair, which we learn more about every few hours.

    “… South Carolina can’t afford to be at a standstill for the next 18 months with a governor who ignores his job responsibilities while pursuing personal interests,” the statement said. “Any other worker in South Carolina would be fired for not showing up at work with no notice.”

    Late Tuesday, seven GOP senators, including Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, jointly issued a letter demanding that the governor step down because he has lost the trust of South Carolinians.

    “The bottom line is that the Governor’s private matters should remain private, but his deception and negligence make it impossible for us to trust him, and for him to govern in the future,” they wrote.

    Peeler told CNN that Sanford “has lost his ability to lead, and I’m afraid he has lost his ability to function as a man.”

    “He is sitting all alone in that big governor’s mansion, totally alone,” Peeler said. “It’s about leadership and moving forward and it’s time for him to resign.”

    Peeler issued the statement along with Sens. Hugh Leatherman, Paul Campbell, Thomas Alexander, Jake Knotts, Larry Martin and William O’Dell.

    Earlier Tuesday, two of Sanford’s top conservative allies in the senate — Larry Grooms and Kevin Bryant — also said Sanford must go.

    The Greenville News, one of the largest papers in South Carolina, also issued a sharply worded editorial Wednesday telling Sanford to go. It wrote that Sanford has “acted like a heart-sick school boy, and he’s revealed facts that clearly demonstrate he is capable of exceptional deception, arrogance and narcissism.”

    After returning last week from a secret trip to Argentina that his staff and wife didn’t know about, Sanford admitted to an extramarital affair with a woman identified as Maria Belen Chapur. Sanford also told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he’s “crossed lines” with other women, although Chapur was the only one he had sex with.

    Sanford wrote in a message to his political action committee e-mail list Monday that while he considered resigning, “I would ultimately be a better person and of more service in whatever doors God opened next in life if I stuck around to learn lessons rather than running and hiding down at the farm.”

    The attorney general of South Carolina asked the State Law Enforcement Division to review Sanford’s travel records after the governor admitted Tuesday to more visits with his mistress than previously disclosed.

    The review by law enforcement officials would be the first formal investigation into whether Sanford abused his power while carrying on his affair.

    State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd said he would not characterize the review as a criminal investigation.

    He told reporters on a conference call that law enforcement officials are reviewing documents from the governor’s office going back to 2003, when Sanford came to power. He said the review should be concluded by the end of the week.

    Attorney General Henry McMaster, a Republican, had been reluctant to move forward with calls for an investigation into Sanford, saying he is wary of mixing legal matters with political score-settling from longtime Sanford opponents. However, an aide to McMaster told CNN on Tuesday that “that all changed this morning when the governor disclosed additional trips that were not disclosed last week.”

    Sanford said in a statement Tuesday that he’s “pleased that [the State Law Enforcement Division] will look into this matter.”

    “There’s been a lot of speculation and innuendo on whether or not public moneys were used to advance my admitted unfaithfulness. To be very clear: no public money was ever used in connection with this.”

  4. newsdeskinternational

    SC gov’s revelations befuddle residents, lawmakers

    South Carolina residents — and the simply curious around the world — have watched Gov. Mark Sanford’s lovelorn saga unfold, the central character spewing an odd script that would seem more appropriate for a soap opera than state government.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jVGOp2bl5_prbLYsoPOvD96f55bgD9960COG0

  5. newsdeskinternational

    SC governor silent as clamor grows for resignation

    After days of soul-baring and often odd confessions and apologies about an adulterous affair, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford went silent as the clamor for his resignation grew.

    http://channels.isp.netscape.com/news/story.jsp?floc=ne-us-10-l2&idq=/ff/story/0001%2F20090702%2F0352176659.htm&sc=1110&photoid=20090630SCMC110

  6. newsdeskinternational

    SC 1st lady says she may forgive husband’s affair

    The wife of embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford called his affair with an Argentine woman “inexcusable” but said Thursday she is willing to forgive him.

    Jenny Sanford’s e-mailed statement was her first public comment since her husband told The Associated Press earlier this week that his mistress is his soul mate but he is trying to fall back in love with his wife.

    http://home.peoplepc.com/psp/newsstory.asp?cat=national&id=20090702/4a4c3ed0_3ca6_1552620090702-1073332327

  7. newsdeskinternational

    SC gov leaves mansion, plans Fla. trip with family

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has left his official residence in the state capital and appears to be heading to spend the weekend with his wife and children.

    Sanford left the governor’s mansion in Columbia on Friday morning in the passenger seat of a state security sedan. A day earlier, his spokesman said Sanford planned to fly to Florida accompanied by state security for the long holiday weekend.

    The two-term Republican says he does not intend to resign. He and wife Jenny also hope to reconcile despite an interview during which the governor told The Associated Press that his Argentine mistress is his soul mate.

    Jenny Sanford said in a statement Thursday that she may be able to forgive her husband, but true reconciliation will take time and won’t be easy.

  8. newsdeskinternational

    Friend: Sanford lover got e-mailed threat

    A TV anchor in Argentina who is friendly with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s lover says she and the governor received an anonymous online threat.

    Eduardo Feinmann said Maria Belen Chapur received the threat before Christmas 2008, apparently from the same person who hacked into her e-mail account and intercepted exchanges with Sanford, The (Columbia, S.C.) State reported Friday. The couple were warned “you don’t know who you are messing with,” Feinmann said.

    The State received electronic copies of the couple’s e-mails Dec. 30. After being missing for almost a week, Sanford admitted in June he had been visiting Chapur in Argentina after a reporter for the newspaper confronted him about his story he was alone there.

    Feinmann, who got to know Chapur while she was a translator for a television station, said he was told of the threatening e-mail recently by a Chapur relative. He said he believes the story is true because “Belen Chapur and her family never lie.”

    The governor is reportedly spending the holiday weekend with his family in Florida. A spokesman would not comment on the threat.

  9. newsdeskinternational

    The emails are now being made public…

    State e-mails detail SC gov’s Argentina plans

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford pushed for a packed schedule but wanted to keep an evening free on the tax-funded trip to Buenos Aires where he says his friendship with an Argentine woman turned physical, e-mails released Thursday show.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090710/ap_on_re_us/us_sc_governor;_ylt=AuB56Xe7.koQBN02znVu7aes0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFocTNlZGI1BHBvcwMxNARzZWMDYWNjb3JkaW9uX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNzdGF0ZWUtbWFpbHM-

  10. newsdeskinternational

    SC gov cancels state meetings for trip with wife

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has cleared his schedule this week to take a personal trip with his wife, three weeks after announcing his extramarital affair with an Argentine woman, his office announced Wednesday.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jVGOp2bl5_prbLYsoPOvD96f55bgD99EUHQG0

  11. newsdeskinternational

    AP INVESTIGATION: ‘Frugal’ SC gov flew in style

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford shed his fiscal conservatism on several taxpayer-funded international trips, including a South American jaunt that included time with his mistress, choosing expensive first-class or business-class seats while his aides sat in coach.

    http://channels.isp.netscape.com/news/story.jsp?floc=ne-us-12-l9&idq=/ff/story/0001%2F20090717%2F1041217212.htm&sc=1110

  12. newsdeskinternational

    Governor’s Wife Moves Out of Mansion

    Jenny Sanford, the wife of Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, will move from the governor’s mansion in Columbia to Charleston with the couple’s four sons, she announced on Friday, signaling that she intends to keep her distance from her husband.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/08/us/08sanford.html

  13. newsdeskinternational
  14. newsdeskinternational

    South Carolina Lt. Gov. to Sanford: Resign

    A spokesman for South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer says Bauer will call for embattled Gov. Mark Sanford to step down.

    Communications director Frank Adams says Bauer at a Wednesday news conference will call on Sanford to leave office. If Sanford does, Adams says Bauer will renew his offer to stay out of the 2010 gubernatorial race.

    The lieutenant governor would fill the remainder of his fellow Republican’s term if Sanford steps down.

    Bauer is the most prominent Republican to call for Sanford’s resignation. He was widely expected to run for governor next year.

    Sanford has come under scrutiny since his June admission of an affair.

  15. newsdeskinternational

    SC lawmakers to take up impeachment

    South Carolina lawmakers plan to formally consider impeaching Gov. Mark Sanford for the first time next week, the chairman of the committee beginning that work said Friday.

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison told The Associated Press he is appointing an ad-hoc committee of four Republicans and three Democrats who will begin meeting Tuesday. He said he expects to have a resolution to impeach ready before Christmas for the full Judiciary Committee to consider.

    Sanford spokesman Ben Fox declined to comment and his lawyers did not immediately respond to questions.

    Sanford, a Republican, left the state for five days in June to rendezvous with his Argentine lover. Since he returned and tearfully confessed the affair, he has faced questions about his travel and whether he should be removed from office for misconduct. He has resisted calls to resign.

    The meeting is to take up the issue at the heart of an impeachment resolution that four Republicans filed this week. It says Sanford left no one in charge of the state, a dereliction of duty, while he “directed members of his staff in a manner that caused them to deceive and mislead the public officials” about where he was. His staff told reporters he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

    Harrison, R-Columbia, announced his plans two days after the State Ethics Commission said it would move forward with charges against the two-term governor. The commission spent three months investigating Sanford’s use of state planes for personal and political purposes, unreported trips on donors’ and friends’ planes, pricey commercial travel despite a state low-cost travel rule and personal reimbursements from his campaign account.

    The Ethics Commission could release details of those charges as soon as Monday. But Harrison said the ad hoc panel would begin work without that information.

  16. newsdeskinternational

    SC gov faces 37 charges he broke state ethics laws

    Gov. Mark Sanford is accused of breaking 37 ethics laws regarding campaign finances and travel, including using taxpayer money for high-priced airplane tickets that took him around the world and to Argentina for a rendezvous with the woman he once called his “soul mate.”

    The governor’s attorney said he looks forward to answering the “technical questions” regarding Sanford’s travel and finances at a State Ethics Commission hearing early next year. Details of the civil charges were released Monday and carry a maximum $74,000 in fines.

    They came after a three-month investigation by the panel and could be pivotal in a push by some South Carolina lawmakers to remove the Republican governor from office before his second and final term expires in January 2011. The state attorney general is deciding whether Sanford would face any criminal charges.

    The civil charges include 18 instances in which Sanford is accused of improperly buying first- and business-class airline tickets, violating state law requiring lowest-cost travel; nine times of improperly using state-owned aircraft for travel to political and personal events, including a stop at a discount hair salon; and 10 times he improperly reimbursed himself with campaign cash.

  17. newsdeskinternational

    S.C. Gov. Sanford Impeachment Debate Begins

    Legislators irked for months over Gov. Mark Sanford’s summertime vanishing act and his tearful revelation that he was in Argentina for a rendezvous with his lover plan to start debating a measure Tuesday that ultimately would remove him from office.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/24/sc-gov-sanfords-impeachment-hearings-begin/?test=latestnews

  18. newsdeskinternational

    Bulk of Sanford ethics charges dropped

    A South Carolina House judiciary panel dismissed most of the ethics charges against Gov. Mark Sanford, all pertaining to allegations that the governor illegally used taxpayer funds to upgrade to business class flights and that he improperly reimbursed himself from campaign funds.

    http://www.palmettoscoop.com/2009/12/03/bulk-of-sanford-ethics-charges-dropped/

  19. newsdeskinternational

    SC Gov. Sanford wants to reconcile with first lady

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he still wants to reconcile with first lady Jenny Sanford and doesn’t begrudge her for speaking out in a nationally televised interview.

    http://channels.isp.netscape.com/news/story.jsp?floc=ne-us-12-l5&idq=/ff/story/0001%2F20091210%2F1306016136.htm&sc=1110

  20. newsdeskinternational

    I can’t say that I blame her…

    S.C. Gov. Sanford’s wife seeking divorce

    Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, said Friday she is filing for divorce from the state official in the wake of his extramarital affair.

    Jenny Sanford confirmed in a released statement she is seeking a divorce from the South Carolina governor months after his admitted extramarital affair with an Argentinean woman this summer, The State (Columbia, S.C.) said.

    Jenny Sanford said in her statement she chose to announce her divorce filing before the information became known to the public in another way.

    “This came after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation, yet I am still dedicated to keeping the process that lies ahead peaceful for our family,” she said of her divorce filing.

    The State reported Jenny Sanford relocated with her four sons from the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion to a home in Charleston, S.C., in August.

    “I remain thankful to so many across this state and nation for their words of encouragement and prayers during this difficult time. Please know the boys and I are doing well and are blessed with the incredible support of friends and family and bolstered by our faith and the unfailing love of our God above,” she said.

  21. newsdeskinternational

    SC gov apologizes in final state-of-state speech

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford praised the wife he cheated on and apologized for what he says is the last time in his final state-of-the-state address.

    Sanford praised his wife for her grace in handling what he called the storm of his affair during the Wednesday speech in the House chambers.

    He told the audience he was apologizing for the last time for an affair with an Argentine woman. It prompted investigations and ethics charges. Legislators last week formally rebuke Sanford for the embarrassment he brought upon the state.

    Sanford offered a slimmed-down legislative agenda that included an overhaul of the state Employment Security Commission and state spending limits.

    Sanford’s wife, Jenny Sanford, filed for divorce last month.

  22. newsdeskinternational

    SC gov to pay $74K in ethics fines

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has agreed to pay $74,000 in fines to resolve dozens of charges that he violated state ethics laws with his campaign spending and travel, including a taxpayer-funded rendezvous with his Argentine mistress, the State Ethics Commission said Thursday.

    The commission brought the 37 civil charges against the Republican last year. Sanford, who is term-limited and will leave office in January, still could face criminal charges.

    Sanford said in a statement he thinks he would have been vindicated if the commission had heard the case, but didn’t want to continue what he called “an endless media circus.”

    Scrutiny of Sanford’s travel started over the summer, when the then-married governor vanished for five days after telling some staff he was going hiking on the Appalachian Trail. He was actually in Argentina, and he returned to tearfully confess a yearlong affair with a woman he later told The Associated Press was his soul mate.

    The agreement came within minutes of a judge’s decision Thursday afternoon finalizing Sanford’s divorce.

    Sanford was considered a potential 2012 presidential candidate until the bombshells about the affair. Ensuing AP investigations questioned his use of state, commercial and private airplanes and bruised his image as a penny-pinching politician who once required staff to use both sides of Post-it notes.

    After those investigations, the ethics panel charged him with improperly buying first- and business-class airline tickets, violating a state law requiring lowest-cost travel; improperly using state-owned aircraft for travel to political and personal events, including a stop at a discount hair salon; and improperly reimbursing himself with campaign cash.

    Among the violations the commission alleged were:

    approving the purchase of four first- and business-class commercial airline tickets for a June 2008 trip during which he met with his mistress in Argentina.

    personal use of state-owned aircraft for trips such as the birthday party of a campaign contributor in Aiken.

    reimbursing himself nearly $3,000 using campaign contributions, including about $900 for expenses to attend a Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami and a hunting trip in Ireland several days later.

    Some of the allegations about Sanford’s use of campaign funds first were revealed by The State newspaper in Columbia.

    Under the agreement, Sanford also agrees to compensate the Ethics Commission nearly $36,498 for its investigative costs. He also agrees to pay back:

    $18,000 to the state Departments of Commerce for first- and business-class airfare;

    $7,792 to the Division of Aeronautics and $1,003 for personal use of state-owned aircraft.

    In addition, Sanford says he will pay $2,941 to his own campaign account as a reimbursement for personal use of campaign funds.

    The governor’s signature on the consent agreement means he does not admit to violating state ethics laws but does not dispute the accusations either.

    A month later, lawmakers said they believed the accusations were not serious enough to warrant impeachment and instead censured him, a reprimand that had no practical effect.

    Sanford again said he took full responsibility for his affair and personal failings, but said he felt his use of state planes was justified and the Ethics Commission was judging him by a different standard than other governors.

    “I think it’s important at this point to distinguish between a personal failure and the use of tax dollars,” he said.

    Also Thursday, a judge finalized Sanford’s divorce, granting Jenny Sanford’s request for an accelerated decision based on Mark Sanford’s infidelity. In South Carolina, couples have to be separated for a year to be granted a no-fault divorce.

    Jenny Sanford, who recently completed a book tour promoting her memoir about their relationship, filed for divorce in December. During a brief hearing in Charleston last month, she recounted her discovery of a letter that revealed the affair.

    “I confronted him shortly thereafter, and he told me he would end it,” she said. “We worked very diligently to put the marriage back together. … Ultimately, we were unsuccessful.”

    The governor did not attend that hearing.

    In her four-page order, Family Court Judge Jocelyn Cate said the agreement is fair to both Sanfords. She refused to release details of the settlement, saying that would hurt the couple’s four sons, who are living with their mother in a beachfront home in Sullivans Island.

    “Plaintiff has carried her burden of proof in convincing the Court of Defendant’s adultery,” Cate wrote in the four-page order filed Thursday afternoon. “Due to the very public nature of Defendant’s actions and his admission of adultery, no further corroboration was necessary.”

  23. newsdeskinternational

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has closed two chapters of his life, agreeing to pay $74,000 in fines to resolve ethics charges brought against him after last summer’s revelation of an extramarital affair, and receiving word that a judge had formally ended his 20-year marriage to his wife, Jenny.

    The term-limited Republican agreed Thursday to pay the fines to resolve dozens of ethics charges, including a taxpayer-funded rendezvous with his Argentine mistress, marking the end to a months-long saga.

  24. newsdeskinternational

    No criminal charges for SC governor in ethics case

    South Carolina’s top prosecutor said Monday he will not criminally prosecute Gov. Mark Sanford for travel and campaign reimbursements that drew dozens of civil charges and the largest ethics fine in state history.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ir_DL40QlRzCkC9bkfbQf_szTp5wD9FFF0T80

  25. newsdeskinternational

    Jenny Sanford says SC gov is still seeing lover

    South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is still seeing the Argentine woman who broke up his marriage, his former wife said Tuesday.

    http://www.theolympian.com/2010/10/19/1408716/jenny-sanford-says-sc-gov-is-still.html

  26. newsdeskinternational

    SC’s governor mum on plans, affair as tenure ends

    Things are looking up for Gov. Mark Sanford as he prepares to leave office on his own terms more than a year after the international affair that derailed his once-promising political career.

    Netscape

  27. Janet

    Ex-SC governor, Argentine lover hit Uruguay resort

    A week after divorced South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford left office, he and his Argentine lover he called his “soul mate” were spotted frolicking on the beach in the same resort where their romance began.

    Netscape

  28. Janet

    Former South Carolina Gov. Sanford engaged to ex-mistress

    Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he’s engaged to the Argentine woman he secretly left the state to visit under the cover story he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

    Fox News

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