It appears that Preferred Family Healthcare ("PFH") has decided to distance itself from Rusty Cranford as his replacement has been announced.
Cranford was the individual that established a shell company, AmeriWorks, that received $400,000 from the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District ("NWEDD") at the direction of former state Representative Micah Neal and outgoing state Senator Jon Wood. According to Neal's plea deal, both Neal and Wood received kickbacks from Cranford for their help in his obtaining the funds.
Cranfords replacement is Charlie Green, director of the Behavioral Health Services Division with the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
Green said he will become chief executive of Preferred Family Healthcare Arkansas on January 30th.
Green's resignation from the Department of Human Services takes effect January 27th, according the DHS Deputy Chief of Communications, Brandi Hinkle.
|BRANDI HINKLE - ONE OF DHS' TALKING HEADS|
Reggie McElhannon, a spokesman for Preferred Family Healthcare, has said Decision Point had planned to pass the grant to AmeriWorks but ended up returning it instead. He has denied that Preferred Family Healthcare paid any kickbacks.
|REGGIE MCELHANNON - PFH SPOKESMAN|
McElhannon's statement about turning the funds over to Cranford's shell company AmeriWorks, conflicts with statements he issued last week denying any "legal connection" to AmeriWorks.
Besides at the time the funds were issued to AmeriWorks in 2013, and returned by Cranford in 2014, PFH had not merged with Decision Point. The merger took place a year later in 2015.
This is the statement McElhannon provided to use last week:
This is the letter Cranford sent with a check for the return of the $400,000 to NWAEDD.
Did you notice that the check was drawn from the Missouri bank account of Dayspring Behavioral Health Services? How did they get the funds?
McElhannon issued a statement on Friday that stated Cranford is "in a voluntary inactive role with our organization."
No doubt, Cranford is probably on his way to prison with Neal, unless he cut a deal with the U.S. Attorney.
We received additional documents from the NWAEDD this week and we found some interesting information.
Crandford's funding request packet had a nice handwritten note from Senator Jon Wood that stated "AmeriWorks is pretty solid".
The funny thing is that AmeriWorks didn't officially exist until after Cranford made his grant application. Cranford filed paperwork with the Arkansas Secretary of Sate the very day NWAEED cut him the checks totally $400,000.
We suspect Cranford was laughing all the way to the bank.
Documents that we obtained from NWAEDD related to funds they releaseds has some other interesting information and you can expect more posts to follow.