School Board member seeks $5 million damages | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 3, 2011

School Board member seeks $5 million damages

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 11:25 AM

GWEN WILLIAMS
  • GWEN WILLIAMS
Pulaski County School Board member Gwen Williams has filed the lawsuit her attorney had threatened over the finding by a sheriff's investigation that fellow School Board member Tim Clark and Mills High Principal Michael Nellums had worked together on a plot to make a video in which Williams appeared to take a bribe.

She seeks $5 million in damages — $1 million each for pain and suffering, mental anguish and damage to reputation and $2 million in punitive damages.

The video was distributed to School Board members last year. Prosecutor Larry Jegley recently concluded that Williams had committed no crime, but said that people working for Nellums and Clark had participated in a "juvenile" plot to discredit Williams. Jegley offered no theory for the scheme, but it likely was aimed at getting Williams off the School Board, then locked in a battle over whether to recognize the teachers' union. Williams was seen as a union supporter, with Clark and Nellums, who's also a Little Rock School Board member, on the other side.

I reached Willard Proctor, who's been Williams' attorney, but he abruptly ended the call, saying he'd call back. He hasn't yet. But here's a copy of the lawsuit, with some exhibits. It names Clark, Nellums and Ervin Bennett, who played the fictional person portrayed as offering Williams a cash payment for influence on a non-existent sidewalk contract. It accuses them of a civil conspiracy against Williams and also says that Clark and Nellums, as school board members, should have known the damage their actions would cause.

Mostly, the complaint replays facts outlined by the sheriff's file. It includes a mention that Clark had tried to plant the fake video story with Bill Lawson, a Maumelle Monitor news reporter, before videos were distributed to School Board members. Lawson encouraged Clark to go to authorities. (Lawson tells me that he told Clark that someone who's aware of a felony and doesn't report it could be guilty of a crime himself. He said as soon as Clark left his office, he reported it to authorities himself. Clark never did.)

The Pulaski County School District has released this statement:

The District learned today that PCSSD Board Member Gwen Williams has filed a lawsuit against another board member and others that will play out in the courts in the coming months. Although the District is indirectly involved in this litigation, the lawsuit is a private civil matter between parties which makes further comment by the District highly inappropriate. Our focus will remain on educating students as we prepare for an exciting, upcoming school year.

Nellums was suspended by Superintendent Charles Hopson after Jegley's report was issued. He's made few comments on the case. Clark has insisted he did no wrong and only urged a man with allegations about Williams to go to authorities. But records show dozens of calls between Clark and the impostor and evidence also indicated he'd met with Bennett's brother, allegedly giving him money in a Ritz cracker box on one occasion at a convenience store.

The lawsuit has been assigned to Judge Wendell Griffen, who happens to preside in the court where Proctor was a judge until he was removed from the bench for unethical activities.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • An open line for Sunday

    An open line.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • City plans more spending on 30 Crossing

    The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the following week and among the "consent" items is a new $175,000 with Nelson/Nygaard consultants to "assist with a comprehensive review" of the 30 Crossing project, otherwise known as the bigger concrete ditch the Department of Transportation wants to tear through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • NFL owners rise to defense of players against Trump and false patriots

    Many football team owners have risen to the defense of players against Donald Trump criticism as yet another racially fraught issue seems likely to gain increasing heat thanks to Trump's rhetoric.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Payday lenders on the march at legislature

    Payday lenders are working hard to get legislative cover for the reintroduction of their usurious loan business to Arkansas. Some are fighting back.
    • Mar 10, 2017
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation