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Last night the Little Rock Board of Directors voted to hand out another $300,000 to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce for "economic development" and "other purposes".

After the resolution was read, Jay Chesshir (pictured on the right in photo posted above and below),  was permitted to address the board. He yammered on for over 30 minutes touting all the alleged good things his organization did for the city and what a great success the embarrassing exorbitantly expensive  "Dear John" letter public relations campaign had been in turning around the bad reputation the city had (never mind the record homicide rate we had last year, a lot of money thrown around will make it fake news).

The publisher of this blog was the lone voice at the meeting expressing reservations and demanding a full accounting and transparency of how public funds were spent.


Chesshir was permitted to provide additional comment by his buddy last term mayor Mark, and he claimed his organization was transparent regarding funds

Directors Lance Hines, Joan Adcock, and Doris Wright voted "yes". Director and Vice Mayor Kathy Webb was the lone "no" vote. Director Erma Hendricks and Ken Richardson voted "present". Last term mayor Mark Stodola's "yes" vote made it go through. A review of their campaign contribution disclosure forms will provide a reason for the "yes" votes from these scoundrels.

According to a knowledgeable source at city hall, Hendricks and Richardson should not have been able to vote "present" as that is only allowed if there is a conflict of interest.

In regard to the Chamber being transparent about the previous $300k the city doled out last April and what we can expect to learn about the $300k handed over last night, we don't have to believe the lie Chesshir told at the board meeting.

Back in December 2017, attorney and publisher of the Blue Hog Report, Matt Campbell, sent a FOI request to the Chamber of Commerce seeking :

-Any contract, memorandum of understanding, agreement, or similar document(s) between the city of Little Rock and the Chamber of Commerce regarding Amazon’s HQ2;
-Any invoice or other evidence of expenditure from the Chamber of Commerce regarding (or in reference to) the city of Little Rock’s plans to bid or compete for Amazon’s HQ2;
-Any invoice or other evidence of expenditure from the Chamber of Commerce regarding the city of Little Rock’s withdrawal from consideration for Amazon’s HQ2. (This includes, but is not limited to, payments for the full-page ad, the plane and banner, etc.)

 And one to the city of Little Rock.

The Chamber basically told Campbell to piss off - we won't say how we spent those public funds -  citing exemptions from FOI requests. Here's what Campbell has to say about the response he received from the Chamber.

Campbell posted a piece about his FOI requests and the shenanigans city leaders and the Chamber concocted to keep how the funds were spent a secret.

You can read that post by clicking here

Here are the scant amount of documents the city provided in response to Campbell's FOI request. Mot much to see and no information from the Chamber to the city on how that $300k was used. 

We also made a request for documents that the Chamber has sent the city and board members as well as a handout given to the board members at last nights meeting. That request has not yet been honored. We will post an update when they are received. *SEE UPDATE BELOW

The Arkansas Times also ran a story about this poor use of public funds and has long expressed concerns about the legality and propriety of using public funds in this manner.

The citizens of this city are entitle to know how their tax dollars are put to use.  

Those board members that voted to hand over public funds without requiring a full accounting of how those funds are used must be replaced next November.

There are and will be individuals running for board seats that will not permit use of public funds without a full and open accounting. The current board knows that and are running scared. And they should be as the wind of change is blowing at hurricane force here in the city.

#TimeForChange  #CleanOutLRCityHall 


***UPDATE 02/22/18** 

After yet another argument with a city employee about receiving a FOI response in electronic format and having it emailed to us, we were able to win out and obtain those documents that Jay Chesshir with the Chamber of Commerce claimed detailed you that $300k from last year was spent.  

You will not find many details in this pile of public relations bullshit.

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