Payback time for Ron Mathieu 

Director reimburses airport $3,000 for charges.

click to enlarge CUSTOMIZED: Airport Director Ron Mathieu in one of the customized shirts the airport has bought in bulk from Lands' End.
  • CUSTOMIZED: Airport Director Ron Mathieu in one of the customized shirts the airport has bought in bulk from Lands' End.

Since the Arkansas Times first reported Nov. 12 on expenditures at the airport, including a $40,000 check to a private school for a football field, Little Rock National Airport executive director Ron Mathieu has reimbursed his employer $3,001.13 for charges made during 2010.

They include a $366.88 tab at Arthur's Prime Steakhouse with airport commissioner Jesse Mason and several other meals; country club dues, tuxedo rental and gas.

In light of the scrutiny of the spending at the airport, Mason and fellow commissioners Virgil Miller and Tom Schueck have decided not to attend the Airport Issues Conference in Kona, Hawaii, in January. "Going to Hawaii in January just doesn't look good to people," Schueck said Monday. He said he dropped out after seeing e-mails that indicated Miller and Mason would not attend. Airport spokesman T.J. Williams said Monday the airport was reimbursed $8,021.73 for the plane tickets, about $50 shy of the cost of the three fares.

Mathieu said he reimbursed the airport for some of his expenses after meeting Nov. 19 with Schueck, who was asked at the Commission's November meeting to look into airport expenditures and policy by Commission Chairman Bob East. Mathieu said he and Schueck discussed upcoming policy changes, including one requiring employees to pay for their spouses' meals, and Schueck asked Mathieu to look at his 2010 expenses with "new eyes." Other reimbursements have been made by assistant director Bryan Malinowski, manager Elwin Jones and planning department contract administrator Julieta Carrasco-Meza.

Though Schueck asked Mathieu and staff to reexamine their charges for 2010, the airport's heavy pattern of spending — employees put $272,000 on Visa and American Express cards in the past year — goes back much farther.

In August, Mathieu and his wife, Yasmine, took commissioner Jesse Mason and his wife, Dr. Gail Reede Jones, to dinner at Arthur's Prime Steakhouse to celebrate Mason's birthday. The four dined on calamari, lump crab cocktail, filet mignons and two kinds of wine, on the airport's tab. The airport has said previously alcohol purchases are allowed by policy only with business prospects.

Mason said he did not know the airport had paid for the meal and would not have approved it had he known. He said he believed it was only appropriate for the airport to pick up the tab for employees and commissioners "if we were on a trip, at a conference."

Mathieu, who earlier told a reporter for the Times that the airport had not paid for a country club membership, also reimbursed the airport $523 for dues for September and October at Chenal Country Club, in West Little Rock, near Mathieu's home. Mathieu said that he'd used the club previously for staff retreats and had paid for it; after talking to a couple of commissioners, he said he got a "social membership" in anticipation of needing the club for meetings when airport construction, which begins next year, tears out the administrative offices. Mathieu said the club membership was never used. He said Schueck instructed employees to repay anything that anyone could perceive as "problematic," so he terminated the membership. "Now I have to find a new place for us to hold meetings," Mathieu said.

Mathieu also reimbursed the airport $694 for an Oct. 23 meal at Ruth's Chris steakhouse in Rogers. Mathieu said he'd inadvertently used his airport card, rather than his personal card, to pay for dinner for "six or eight people," he said. He didn't explain why he didn't reimburse it until after the Times investigation began.

Both Mathieu and Malinowski reimbursed portions of some $400 worth of meals at Arthur's Steakhouse Oct. 14 with a consultant. Their wives attended. Mathieu reimbursed the airport $71.86 and Malinowski $87.86 for their wives' portions.


Speaking of...

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Hot Springs Fine Arts Center closes

    The Hot Springs Fine Arts Center, founded in 1947, has lost its lease at 626 Central Ave. and will close Oct. 1, the center announced on its Facebook page.
    • Sep 27, 2016
  • Delta Cultural Center new director: Prophet Kyle T. Miller

    Kyle T. Miller, who describes himself as a "licensed and ordained prophet" and says he has been "prophesying and interpreting dreams for almost 15 years," has been named the director of the Delta Cultural Center at Helena.
    • Sep 26, 2016
  • Arkansas Arts Council names artist fellowship winners

    Painters Dustyn John Bork of Batesville, Heidi Carlsen-Rogers of Bella Vista and Steve Spencer of Little Rock have been awarded Individual Artist Fellowships in the visual arts category from the Arkansas Arts Council and will be recognized at a reception 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Historic Arkansas Museum.
    • Sep 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas's new anti-gay law forgets history

    It turns back the clock on civil rights.
    • Feb 26, 2015
  • A child left unprotected

    State Rep. Justin Harris and his wife adopted a young girl through the state Department of Human Services. How did she, six months later, end up in the care of a man who sexually abused her?
    • Mar 5, 2015
  • The hart

    It is hard for a straight person, The Observer included, to imagine what it would be like to be born gay — to be shipwrecked here on this space-going clod, where nearly every textbook, novel, film and television show, nearly every blaring screen or billboard or magazine ad, reinforces the idea that "normal" means "heterosexual."
    • Feb 26, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Most Viewed

  • The discipline gap

    Research shows Arkansas schools punish African-American students more frequently and more harshly than their white peers.
  • Democrats' last stand in NE Arkansas

    Nate Looney vs. Rep. Brandt Smith for District 58.
  • Rising arches

    The Broadway Bridge was closed to traffic on Wednesday to allow its demolition and replacement by a new bridge. The so-called "basket-handle arches" being assembled in the Arkansas River are part of the new span, which is projected to be complete by March 2017.
  • John Walker and the police

    In my experience John Walker has always been the perfect gentleman that you do not want to mess with. He's a bulldog, and will not let a real or perceived wrong go unpunished.
  • Reefer madness

Most Recent Comments


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation