Justice of the Peace Cameron Cooper (District 3, Romance) tells me that several members of the White County Quorum Court have requested that the Arkansas Appraiser & Licensing Certification Board review Mr. Charles Davis‘ appraisal licensure. An investigation is now reportedly underway.
Many questions arose last month after Mr. Davis was hired by White County Judge Mike Lincoln to conduct an appraisal on a building that the county was considering purchasing for $590,000. The building had been last sold for only $320,000 and the judge initially refused to have the building appraised, even at the request of the quorum court. He finally did have the property appraised. One appraisal was by Mr. Davis, who allegedly is not licensed to conduct such an appraisal, and another appraisal was conducted by the real estate broker for the property.
Reporting here on The Patriot about these potential violations has created quite a stir in the community about the entire OEM building debacle, and has led to many inquiries with the court, conceivably contributing to the initiation of this investigation.
Cooper tells The Patriot:
Several of us have filed a complaint/request for more info with the Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. Specifically, we want to know the exact scope of Mr. Davis’ license (can he appraise commercial property, any dollar limits he is subject to, etc.)
On Monday of last week, Cooper followed up and told me that the AALCB has told the group of JPs that this will “not be an overnight thing,” and will take some time.
Cooper says he is not sure what recourse the court has if the investigation does indeed reveal violations.
JP Bobby Burns (District 2, Beebe) has also indicated to The Patriot that he joined in the investigation request.
Cooper tells me there are other JPs listed on the complaint, but requested that I contact them individually before releasing their names. I am told there may be as many as 5 JPs listed on the complaint.
Of course, I will keep you posted on further developments.
I posted earlier today and outlined Justice of the Peace Osborn’s comments in today’s paper, his refusal to accept any responsibility for his actions, and his apparent lack of any remorse. While we wait for public comment from member of the county government, I would like to officially issue my call for Osborn’s resignation from the White County Quorum Court. I also call on Judge Lincoln & the other JPs to join me in asking Mr. Osborn to step down.
No doubt, some of you think I am taking this too far, but drunk driving is something I have never taken lightly. It is deplorable. To think a public official could be charged with such an offense and get off the hook is unconscionable.
Here are some statistics about drunk driving from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD):
- This year, 10,839 people will die in drunk-driving crashes – one every 50 minutes.
- Every minute, one person is injured from an alcohol-related crash.
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and one out of three of those is alcohol related.
- Drunk driving costs each adult in this country almost $500 per year.
I used to live out on Highway 267, only a few miles from where Mr. Osborn was pulled over. So I spent most of my day yesterday thinking, “What if my sister had been in that left lane, driving home from school, when he swerved across the center line? What if it had been my mom or my dad?” Imagine if your teenage child had been in that left lane. Imagine if it had been any of your loved ones.
Thankfully, for me, these are only hypothetical nightmares. For thousands of families across the country, this is reality. They have lost loved ones from this type of reckless behavior. It is inexcusable.
When Osborn got behind the wheel of that vehicle last Thursday afternoon, he took the lives of everyone in his path into his hands. The lives of my friends, your friends, your family.
This is not about politics, folks. I could not care less what political party Mr. Osborn belongs to. His conduct is unacceptable. Politicians should be held to a higher standard, not granted waivers for public decency and safety.
Mr. Osborn, it is time to resign.
I wanted to give you an update about my FOI request to the White County Judge’s office–a request that was originally made nearly 2 weeks ago.
I wrote the county attorney last Wednesday morning and quoted several sections of the FOI law to show that the county was in violation. I also agreed to allow the county a bit more time to comply, given the volume of my request. As I was making my way out of town for the holiday last Wednesday afternoon, I received a response from the county attorney: “Thanks. They are working on it.”
Later that afternoon, I received this response from the judge’s office:
Tamara Jenkins has already began to transfer e-mails onto a disc to answer your request so there will be no need for you to bring a thumb drive by our office today. I anticipate having most of the information ready for you by early next week. There are a few e-mails that contain sensitive information that will have to be redacted before being released. Those are e-mails containing applications from citizens for assistance for storm shelters, flood assistance from FEMA etc. containing social security numbers and such that are not to be made public. Redacting this information may be time consuming, depending on the number of e-mails and the amount of information contained that is sensitive. This office will supply information as efficiently as possible.
White County Judge’s Office
Today, the county attorney emailed to tell me the requests were ready:
Lisa tells me that she has the emails ready for you to pick up. Her scanner was not functioning properly, so she has them available on disk and some “privacy sensitive” ones printed off.
When I went by the judge’s office to pick up the emails around 1:00 p.m. today, only the sensitive emails were available–and they were in print, not electronic format as requested (this is an FOI violation–they should’ve been made available in the format I requested). Continue reading
Well, the White County Quorum Court did do something other than purchase a $320,000 building for $590,000 on Tuesday night. They also passed the 2012 county budget.
Here are some facts about the budget, according to the paper:
- The 2012 budget is a staggering 31% increase in spending. The total 2011 budget expenditures were $26.2 million. The 2012 budget will spend $34.2 million.
- Projected revenues are $41.75 million. That means the county will be taking in approximately $7 million more than they need next year.
- The county plans to spend $2 million on a new 911 office.
- County employees received a 3% raise, with no cuts being made.
My favorite quote from the article comes from the esteemed JP Mike Cleveland:
‘All of the items people asked for were granted,’ Cleveland said. ‘There were not cuts and the county employees received a 3 percent raise.’
$7 million in excess revenue. $7,000,000. No cuts. 31% spending increase. Employee raises, while every business and household in White County is cutting back. All while the prospects of another recession next year are looking more and more likely. This is financial lunacy.
My question is simple: Is there anyone in this county who still thinks this county is broke or that we needed a tax increase to fund a $6 million road project?
Do you remember the ‘ghost committee?’ Weren’t those guys great? Well it appears they have some relatives in the appraisal business in White County. As promised, I’ve gathered some more information about “Appraisers Inc.,” the company that White County Judge Mike Lincoln reportedly hired to conduct an appraisal on the proposed OEM building.