COLUMBIA — Former South Carolina state treasurer and multimillionaire Thomas Ravenel was arrested this week and charged with drunken driving in the Hamptons in New York.

Ravenel, 50, was arrested around 2:30 a.m. Monday in East Hampton Village, according to a police report. The real estate developer drove onto the shoulder of Montauk Highway and crossed a double yellow line.

An officer smelled alcohol on Ravenel’s breath, and he was unsteady on his feet, police said in the report. Officers also said Ravenel failed several field sobriety tests and refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

Ravenel said in a statement he had been drinking but wasn’t drunk and plans to fight the charges. He was released on $650 bond and is due in court later this week.

Ravenel is a multimillionaire land developer and his father, Arthur Ravenel Jr., represented South Carolina in Congress in the 1980s and 1990.

Ravenel resigned as treasurer just six months after taking office in 2007. The Republican pleaded guilty to buying cocaine for himself and to share with friends. He served 10 months in prison.

Since then, Ravenel has been mentioned as a candidate for future political office, including as a potential challenger to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2014.

In the run up to the 2012 presidential race, Ravenel sent out an email saying his experiences as a victim of the government’s costly “war on drugs” were among the reasons he opted to support Republican Ron Paul’s campaign.

Ravenel alluded to that sentiment Tuesday, saying that he had “never believed recreational drug use within one’s home to be something worthy of criminalization” but stepped up and took responsibility for his actions when charged with the federal drug crimes.


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