Favorite

Polluting senator 



The salvage yard at Maryland and Thayer owned by Sen. Bob Johnson and his family is not just an eyesore, as we reported last week. Inspectors with the state Department of Environmental Quality visited the site last week, where Bradford Auto and Salvage operated under lease from the Johnsons for decades until this year, found areas of ground soaked with oil and gas. Runoff from the lot goes into a creek leading to the Arkansas River. ADEQ has notified Brett S. Johnson of Johnson Brothers Investments of Bigelow that discharge of oil and gas into the ground and streams is a violation of the federal Clean Water Act and the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act and has asked the company to submit a clean-up plan by Sept. 28.

Yes, that’s the same Sen. Johnson who wants to pass a law to make it hard to control development on the shore of Little Rock’s drinking water supply, Lake Maumelle.

KATV, Channel 7, picked up the story Monday night, adding this fact: The salvage yard, which is four city lots in size, has had more than just tires, cars, furniture and other junk dumped there. The body of a murdered woman was found there in January.



No place like this home

A jury in Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce’s court last week awarded $600,000 to Raymelle and Philip Greening in their breach of contract suit against builder Renaissance Homes Inc. and company president Brandon Tedder.

The Greenings sued over structural problems in their house at 67 Ranch Ridge Road — completed by Renaissance earlier this year and the subject of a recent Times article — that have kept it from getting a certificate of occupancy from the city. Little Rock code enforcement said the builders failed to correct a retaining wall that had begun to give way, a collapsed driveway and framing problems. Private engineers noted tilting piers and other structural problems.

Renaissance sued the Greenings first, to collect $61,059 the company said they owed them. The Greenings countersued. The jury awarded $400,000 for breach of contract by Renaissance and $200,000 for negligence by Tedder. The plaintiffs have raised concern that assets of the company have been transferred or spent to avoid paying a judgment.

Pierce is now considering a motion that could require Renaissance to knock the house down and return the property to its original condition or buy the deed from the Greenings.



Letting things slide

During the trial, city Building Codes Manager Chuck Givens testified that he knew that the house’s sloped foundation violated the city’s own code, adopted in 2001. Renaissance began construction in 2003. The code requires houses built on slopes greater than 10 degrees to have stepped foundations; the Ranch Ridge house was on a 24.7 degree angle. Givens said he had allowed builders a “transition period” to meet the new code requirement.

After Givens’ testimony, while the jury was out, Judge Pierce expressed dismay that the city wasn’t enforcing its own code. We wonder how many other builders have been allowed a “transition” to continue violating code.



Famous visitor

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. John McCain confirmed for our Arkansas Blog last week that people eating at Pizza Cafe on Labor Day were not seeing things. The presidential contender was indeed in town. It was a “personal visit,” said his spokesman, who wouldn’t elaborate.

McCain was in the company of several women who appeared to be staff, witnesses said. He was greeted warmly by people in the restaurant, our spies say. Seeing a friend? Lining up support on The Huckster’s turf?



No conflict

Little Rock mayoral candidate Jesse Mason will resign from the Port Authority board position he has held for the last seven years.

“I feel that, with my pursuit of mayor, this is something I should separate myself from,” Mason said. “I want to make sure there is no conflict of interest, since the Port Authority does a lot of business with the city.”

Mason didn’t mention it, but there’s a touch of competitive relevance to the four-way race for mayor. Candidate Mark Stodola is lawyer for the Little Rock Airport Commission.

More to come?

The appeal deadline has passed for a lawsuit challenging the permit to allow drainage of the Dark Hollow wetland in North Little Rock, but the legal action may not be over.

We hear there’s a possibility of a new suit. If it’s filed, it would cure a judge’s finding that the original lawsuit didn’t include a plaintiff with standing to challenge the permit to clear the way for Bruce Burrow’s development, The Shoppes at North Hills. Would adjacent property owners or people who’ve hunted, fished and canoed the wetlands qualify if the general public impact of damaged wetlands is not enough?






Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Hutchinson's former chief of staff Lamoureux hits revolving door to state lobby firm

    DBH Management Consultants, the consulting/lobbying firm headed by former legislator Bruce Hawkins, has announced that it has hired Michael Lamoureux, a former senator and former chief of staff to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
    • Sep 20, 2017
  • The cost of the health bill: Arkansas is a loser

    Another analysis says Arkansas, contrary to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's assertions yesterday, would be a big loser under the pending legislation to kill Obamacare.
    • Sep 20, 2017
  • Jimmy Kimmel: Health bill flunks 'Kimmel test'

    Jimmy Kimmel gave an extended rip of the Graham-Cassidy health bill last night saying Cassidy had lied to him when he said he wouldn't back health legislation that didn't pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test." That is, no family should be denied emergency health care if they couldn't afford it.
    • Sep 20, 2017
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

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 »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  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 Recent Comments

  • Re: Public defender: an AIDS activist remembers 15 years in the trenches

    • My name is Wilson Jenni. I am really pleased with this service. I am one…

    • on September 20, 2017
  • Re: What were we thinking?

    • How about the red lipsticked lips about to eat a strawberry? Or the duck? Circa…

    • on September 20, 2017
  • Re: On bullshit

    • In response to Dr. Richard Owings justifying doctors refusal to cooperate with medical marijuana laws:…

    • on September 17, 2017
 

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