Huckabee strikes again 

You’ve read plenty about how Mike Huckabee, in his last days as governor, rushed to spend up money in his emergency fund on non-emergency purposes, such as a grant to the Red Cross, which employs his wife.

Here’s another state asset spent up by Huckabee – the State Police King Air, his favored method of traveling around the country in style.

Under FAA rules, the 10-seat, twin-engine plane purchased in 1997 for $1.4 million, can fly only so many hours before engines must be overhauled or, finally, replaced. The expert was out of pocket as we went to press on specific numbers, but we’re told by State Police spokesman Bill Sadler that engine use has now reached the point that major refurbishment is necessary. The latest figure on relative use by Huckabee and the police isn’t readily available, but Sadler said Huckabee was responsible for “the lion’s share” of the plane’s use.

The tab

Sadler of the State Police said it will cost $700,000 to $750,000 to overhaul the King Air engines.

The plane only has about 50 hours of flying time left, he said. “We’re trying to save some hours so it could make an emergency flight if necessary and still be legal,” he said.

Sadler said there’s no money in the agency budget currently to pay for the work. The State Police will have to ask for a budget increase to keep the plane flyable. “We have to,” Sadler said.

Heavy use

We’ve documented heavy use of the plane by Huckabee in years past. The most recent accounting, by Seth Blomeley of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, showed that Huckabee piled up 200 hours of flying time on 80 trips on the plane in 2005, more than one trip a week, and 120 hours in 55 trips, still more than one a week, in 2006. Huckabee was criticized because, though he refused to release specifics on the trips, records that were available indicated that some of the trips combined official business with personal political travel, such as to the Republican National Convention. Since becoming governor, the Democrat-Gazette reported, Huckabee put more than 1,500 hours on the plane (at the current estimated cost of $875 an hour that’s worth $1.3 million in travel.) Many states bar use of state planes by governors for political travel.

Gov. Mike Beebe has promised to have a “more transparent” policy on use of the plane, but says he wants to use it when necessary.

Recently, controversy erupted over Huckabee’s destruction of computer hard drives and other equipment, including data stored on a State Police computer at the airplane hangar. The State Police said paper copies of the Huckabee flight records still exit. In previous inspections by the Arkansas Times, we learned they rarely provided a full account of passengers, destinations and purposes of Huckabee trips.

The pipes are calling

The price of copper has made the metal more attractive to thieves, reports in the press have noted. Even plumbing under people’s homes are being pinched: A Little Rock resident reported to police in January that thieves had crawled under her house and removed all the copper plumbing while she was gone. She figured it out when she turned on a tap and nothing came out. She had to replace her plumbing to the tune of $2,000-plus.

An article on the theft in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette omitted the address. In response to many requests we checked the police report: The house is on Monroe Street in Hillcrest. Neighbors might want to lock those crawl spaces.


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Republican women announce legislative agenda

    Republican women in the legislature announced a package of legislation today. My attention was caught by a potential expansion of broadband competition.
    • Jan 23, 2019
  • Slow day on the freebie front

    Wednesday's are traditionally slower days on the legislative front, so only a free lunch and cocktail hour are on the freebie card today.
    • Jan 23, 2019
  • Youth Home cutting jobs and services; Medicaid freeze cited

    Youth Home, which provides mental health services, announced today it is laying off 31 of 227 employees and reducing services to cope with financial losses tied to a continuing freeze in Medicaid reimbursements for mental health services.
    • Jan 23, 2019
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • Friday's headlines and your holiday open line

    What happened at the State Board of Education and what does it mean; Legislation filed for Hutchinson's government reorganization plan; Pediatric flu-related death in Arkansas reported; Suspect arrested in unsolved 2008 North Little Rock homicide.
    • Dec 21, 2018
  • New episode of Rock the Culture: "Juice In Your Own Life"

    In this week’s episode, Charles and Antwan provide perspective and conversation on the Little Rock Mayoral Election and State Board of Education’s consideration of the anticipated request to waive the Fair Teacher Dismissal Act. In addition, Charles and Antwan discuss all things happening in the Little Rock School District with Superintendent Michael Poore.
    • Dec 11, 2018
  • End of the week headlines and your open line

    Alderman candidate misses chance to cast deciding vote for himself in runoff election; Dem-Gaz to phase out print delivery in El Dorado, Camden and Magnolia; Rapert threatens UA Fort Smith over 'Drag Queen Story Time' event; The Van seeks to raise $35,000 in three weeks for new warehouse facility in South Little Rock.
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • More »

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Scrubbed from the system

    • I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 1 month after I turned 45. My grandma is…

    • on January 22, 2019
  • Re: Hep A still spreading

    • I am so so happy today, I have been suffering from hepatitis b for the…

    • on January 21, 2019
  • Re: Hep A still spreading

    • I am really happy that i have been cured from (HEPATITIS B VIRUS) with the…

    • on January 21, 2019

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation