SC tourism group changes name, gets new president

Associated Press Modified: November 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm •  Published: November 1, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina tourism lobbying group whose president killed himself earlier this year is changing its name and getting a new leader.

The South Carolina Hospitality Association says it will now be called the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.

The organization also named John Durst as its new president Thursday. Durst was director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism in former Gov. Jim Hodges' administration.

Durst replaces Tom Sponseller, who founded the hospitality group more than 20 years ago and served as its public spokesman and chief lobbyist.

Authorities say Sponseller shot himself to death in February after discovering that the association's accounting director had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rachel Duncan has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison.


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