Jerry Jones gift to NLR cops put at more than $300,000 | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jerry Jones gift to NLR cops put at more than $300,000

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 7:17 AM

click to enlarge GUESTS IN DALLAS: One of the groups of NLR cops and family treated to a Dallas Cowboy game by owner Jerry Jones.
  • GUESTS IN DALLAS: One of the groups of NLR cops and family treated to a Dallas Cowboy game by owner Jerry Jones.

Blogger Russ Racop,
who has asked the state Ethics Commission to review Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' gift of a free trip to a Cowboy game for North Little Rock police and family has dug up information about the size of the gift. Huge.

Racop argues it is a potential violation of the state law that prohibits gifts worth more than $100 to public servants.

Racop's complaint has angered many for questioning a gesture of goodwill to police. Former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has volunteered free legal services to anyone in a bind over this. The city has defended this as something of an enhancement to city compensation, since it went to all police (actually at least one recruit was left out), but it has no intention of treating it as taxable income. Racop has also come under fire for his own checkered record in the court system (which, however true, is irrelevant to the discussion). A first violation of the law is a minor offense, punishable by a warning.

Nonetheless: Racop has a new post up. He made a Freedom of Information Act request that reveals the value of the gift, arranged by Sgt. Michael Gibbons, president of the Fraternal Order of Police chapter. The gift was delivered in several group trips to Dallas and Gibbons accompanied each group.

According to one of many e-mails Racop obtained, 120 of 178 officers took the free trip —with family a total of 367 people. A significant amount of police work time was devoted to handling the complicated arrangements. (Gibbons, for example, took care to advise recipients not to wear clothing of any NFL team other than the Cowboys.)

Racop published a Gibbons email that put the cost at $180 a night for rooms at the DFW Marriott, air tickets to Dallas averaging $518, a $1,000 shuttle to games (presumably for busloads) and game tickets worth roughly $500 each.

"If you are bored and want to do the math go ahead, but I can tell you that it far exceeds $300,000 and I am still counting," Gibbons wrote to all officers. Some additional gifts were presented at the games.

Racop observed that amount was equal to the amount spent by the LRPD to buy riot gear for the force.

The Ethics Commission has an easy, but nonetheless difficult decision to make. Discouraging favorable treatment of certain classes or individual public employees is the reason for the rule on gifts. And it's a good one. Otherwise gifts can be a cloak for something nefarious. I don't suggest that here. But rules exist for a reason. The City Council can't make it go away with a resolution. If it can, any other agency for any other reason can plunge down the same slippery slope.

But will the Ethics Commission enforce the letter of the law or bow to popular sentiment?

Idle thought: Suppose Russ Racop and Jerry Jones are both stopped for driving 60 mph in a 20-mph zone in Jones' former neighborhood of Rose City? Who gets the ticket? Who gets the warning?

Tags: , , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016
  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • UPDATE: Hutchinson moves to cover himself on cut to War Memorial Stadium

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson apparently felt the burn from KARK's exclusive Tuesday night on his plans to cut state support of War Memorial Stadium in half beginning July 1, 2018. He has a so-far secret plan to make the stadium self-sustaining. We bet that doesn't include state support.
    • Oct 20, 2016

Most Viewed

  • Sen. Rapert paints Jan Morgan as 'Jezebel,' prompting social media blowback from right

    "You know the Governor’s water boys have hit desperate times when the 'christian' senator, a pastor, calls me Jezebel and a 'spirit ' putting a spell on Arkansas men who support me," Morgan wrote in response to Rapert's comments.
  • Anonymous Harding University students relaunch LGBTQ publication, campus security removes copies

    A group of anonymous Harding University students on Friday published an "HU Queer Press 2.0" zine, covering issues of gay rights at the private, Churches of Christ-affiliated campus in Searcy. A similar publication, "The State of the Gay at Harding University," set off a firestorm of controversy at Harding seven years ago. Shortly after the publication was distributed, campus security officers began gathering the copies of the zine and throwing them in the trash.
  • The yawning teacher pay gap between Arkansas school districts

    Before Arkansas congratulates itself for outpacing Oklahoma on teacher pay, we should take a look at the huge disparity in salaries within the state. New teachers in Bentonville may make almost $46,000 a year, but new teachers in many other districts will start the 2018-19 school year earning $31,800 — less than the starting salary in Tulsa.
  • Attorney General Rutledge rejects full marijuana legalization ballot initiative

    Speaking of weed, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today rejected a proposed ballot initiative to fully legalize marijuana in the state.
  • Finally, a memorial to the 21 boys who were burned to death at Wrightsville in '59

    It has been 59 years since 21 teen-aged boys incarcerated at the so-called Negro Boys Industrial School were burned to death in their locked dormitory. The Times wrote about the event in 2008, after the brother and mother of one of the boys approached the Times looking for someone to remember the event, and headlined the story "Stirring the Ashes." But on Saturday, a monument to the boys was placed at Haven of Rest Cemetery, where 14 of the boys were buried.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation