Thomas Ravenel

Last updated
Thomas Ravenel
Treasurer of South Carolina
In office
January 10, 2007 July 24, 2007
Governor Mark Sanford
Preceded by Grady Patterson
Succeeded byConverse Chellis
Personal details
Born (1962-08-11) August 11, 1962 (age 57)[ citation needed ]
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. [ citation needed ]
Political party Independent (formerly Republican)
Spouse(s)Mary "Katy" Ryan (19961998)
Alma mater The Citadel
University of South Carolina, Columbia

Thomas Ravenel (born August 11, 1962) is an American politician and former State Treasurer. He is the son of former South Carolina Congressman Arthur Ravenel Jr.

Arthur Ravenel Jr. politician and United States Marine

Arthur Ravenel Jr. is a businessman and a Republican politician from Charleston, South Carolina.


As of 2019, he previously starred on the Bravo reality-television series Southern Charm and was an Independent candidate for the United States Senate in the 2014 election in South Carolina. He is also a member of the French Huguenot Church in Charleston. [1]

<i>Southern Charm</i> television series

Southern Charm is an American reality television series that debuted on March 3, 2014 on Bravo. The series chronicles the personal and professional lives of seven socialites who reside in Charleston, South Carolina. The show focuses on the Southern culture and political history of the area, and has featured local historical places like Lewisfield Plantation and the Mikell House. The series originally focused on Craig Conover, Cameran Eubanks, Jenna King, Thomas Ravenel, Shep Rose and Whitney Sudler-Smith. The series currently focuses on Conover, Eubanks, Rose, Kathryn Calhoun Dennis, Austen Kroll, Chelsea Meissner, Naomie Olindo and Eliza Limehouse. Of the original charmers, King left after the first season, Sudler-Smith departed after the third, and Ravenel left after the fifth. The remaining charmers joined in later seasons, Calhoun Dennis in the second, Olindo in the third, Kroll in the fourth, Meissner in the fifth, and Limehouse in the sixth. Past charmers include: Landon Clements.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.


Prior to running for office, Ravenel founded the Ravenel Development Corporation, a commercial real estate company. [1]

Ravenel ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, seeking the seat left open when Fritz Hollings retired. He came in third in the Republican primary election. After Ravenel endorsed Republican Jim DeMint, DeMint went on to win the Republican runoff and the general election. [2] Subsequently, Ravenel was fined over $19,000 by the Federal Election Commission for improperly filing the required forms for the election. [3] Ravenel ran for South Carolina Treasurer in 2006, defeating nine-term state treasurer Democrat Grady Patterson in the 2006 general election. [4] Ravenel endorsed Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican primaries. [5]

Fritz Hollings Politician from the United States

Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings was an American politician who served as a United States Senator from South Carolina from 1966 to 2005. A conservative Democrat, he was also the Governor of South Carolina and the 77th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. He served alongside Democrat turned Republican Senator Strom Thurmond for 36 years, making them the longest-serving Senate duo in history. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living former U.S. Senator.

Primary elections or often just primaries, are the process by which voters can indicate their preference for their party's candidate, or a candidate in general, in an upcoming general election, local election, or by-election, with the goal of narrowing the field of candidates. Depending on the country and administrative divisions within the country, voters might consist of the general public in what is called an open primary, or the members of a political party in what is called a closed primary. In addition to these, there are other variants on primaries that are used by many countries holding elections throughout the world.

Jim DeMint United States Senator from South Carolina

James Warren DeMint is an American political advocate, businessman, author, and retired politician who served as a United States Senator from South Carolina and as president of the Heritage Foundation. DeMint is a member of the Republican Party and a leading figure in the Tea Party movement; he is also the founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Ravenel was previously in the cast of Bravo’s Southern Charm . [6] Ravenel lives at Brookland Plantation, an estate he purchased in 2006. [7]

Brookland Plantation United States historic place

Brookland Plantation is a plantation located on Edisto Island, South Carolina along Shingle Creek.


Ravenel graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, receiving his B.S. in 1985. He later received his M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina [8] in 1991. His M.B.A. studies were focused on finance and real estate.

University of South Carolina University in Columbia, South Carolina

The University of South Carolina is a public research university in Columbia, South Carolina. It has seven satellite campuses throughout the state and its main campus covers over 359 acres (145 ha) in downtown Columbia not far from the South Carolina State House. The university is categorized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as having "highest research activity." It has been ranked as an "up-and-coming" university by U.S. News & World Report, and its undergraduate and graduate International Business programs have ranked among the top three programs in the nation for over a decade. It also houses the largest collection of Robert Burns and Scottish literature materials outside Scotland, and the world's largest Ernest Hemingway collection.

Federal drug charges

In June 2007, Ravenel was indicted on federal cocaine distribution charges by US Attorney Reginald Lloyd. [9] The filed charges allege that Ravenel purchased less than 500 grams of cocaine through an intermediary in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2005, prior to his election as treasurer but after his abortive entry in the 2004 Senate race.

Governor Mark Sanford suspended Ravenel from his duties as state treasurer upon learning of the charges, and appointed Columbia attorney Ken Wingate to replace Ravenel on an interim basis. Meanwhile, Ravenel decided to enter a rehabilitation facility, according to prosecutors. [10]

Ravenel had been volunteering for the Rudolph Giuliani presidential campaign, serving as his South Carolina state chairman. Ravenel resigned from that post after the indictment, according to Giuliani campaign officials. The campaign subsequently replaced Ravenel with Barry Winn, who was co-chair of South Carolina finance committee. [11]

On July 24, Ravenel resigned as Treasurer. [12] The South Carolina General Assembly elected state Rep. Converse Chellis to serve out the remainder of his term. [13] [14]

Ravenel underwent a rehabilitation program in Arizona, and then returned to plead guilty to "conspiring to buy and distribute less than 100 grams of cocaine" in September 2007. [15] [16]


On Friday, March 4, 2008, Thomas Ravenel was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for drug charges against him, but was not immediately ordered to report to begin his sentence. [17]

2014 campaign for U.S. Senate

On Monday, July 14, 2014, Thomas Ravenel submitted more than 17,000 signatures, officially placing him on the ballot as an independent candidate against incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham. He finished in third place, garnering 3.9% of the vote. [18]

Personal life

Ravenel was married to Mary "Katy" Ryan, daughter of the former Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Michael E. Ryan, for two years. They divorced in 1998.

He and his ex-girlfriend, Kathryn Calhoun Dennis, have two children, a girl (Kensington Calhoun) and a boy (Saint Julien Rembert). [19] [20]

Assault and battery allegations

In April 2018, Ashley Perkins, a Florida-based real estate agent, claimed that Ravenel sexually battered her mother, Debbie Holloway Perkins, after meeting him on the dating app Tinder in December 2015. Perkins claims her mother later told her that Ravenel "stuck his penis in her face" and held her arms back while sticking his fingers inside her vagina and anus. Perkins said she did not witness the battery, but that her mother seemed "very withdrawn" and finally confided in her. [21] According to Perkins, her mother is unable to publicly discuss the case due to a non-disclosure agreement negotiated by attorney Gloria Allred as part of an alleged $200,000 settlement with Ravenel. However, Perkins, who claims to be a witness to the mediation process between her mother and Ravenel, was not bound to such an agreement and therefore able to publicly disclose the details of the case. [22]

Richard P. Terbrusch, Ravenel's attorney, denied Perkins' allegations, stating that his "client enjoys a certain degree of fame and unfortunately has become—unfairly—a target for an individual who has, in my opinion, dubious motivations." [23] Bravo and Southern Charm production company, Haymaker, announced on May 4, 2018 that it was taking the "allegations very seriously" and launching its own investigation into their validity. [24]

In May 2018, a second accuser—Dawn Ledwell, former nanny of Ravenel's children—came forward with new allegations of sexual battery against Ravenel. "Nanny Dawn" (as she was known to Southern Charm's viewers,(and close friend of Kathryn Dennis) claims that in January 2015, Ravenel assaulted her after a night out with his friends: "I went upstairs to get my jacket which had the key to my vehicle in the pocket. I was corralled into the master bedroom, and he shut the door behind me. I turned around, and he had his pants dropped, not wearing underwear," she said. "He was blocking the door. I was mortified, embarrassed, and scared." [25] Charleston police opened an investigation into the alleged assault after the nanny filed an incident report in early May.

In September 2018, Ashley Perkins published on her official website that Ledwell had first contacted her that spring, prior to going to the police. At that time, Ledwell shared with Perkins "very intimate details of her life and events with Thomas". By May, however, Perkins said she had "serious doubts" about Ledwell's accusations, stating that Ledwell's police report and public accounts of "forcible rape" differed from what Ledwell had told her privately. As a result, Perkins cut off her relationship with Ledwell, but "wished her the best". February 2019, Dawn Ledwell amended her original summons and complaint through the courts where the sexual contact is no longer listed.

On September 11, 2019, Ravenel pled guilty to third-degree assault and battery in connection with an attack on Ledwell. He will pay a $500 fine but serve no jail time. He also settled a civil suit with Ledwell, agreeing to donate $80,000 in her name to a charity for sexual assault survivors in lieu of paying her damages. [26]

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  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2007-06-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  20. Southern Charm's Kathryn Dennis Gives Birth to a Baby Boy November 10, 2015
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  25. "Southern Charm's Thomas Ravenel Accused of Sexually Assaulting Ex-Nanny Who Appeared on the Show". People . Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  26. Coello, Sara (September 11, 2019). "Former 'Southern Charm' star Thomas Ravenel avoids jail time in assault plea deal". Post and Courier.
Political offices
Preceded by
Grady Patterson
Treasurer of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Converse Chellis