Two CAPC board members ordered to appear in court after alleged secret meeting

Thursday, November 2, 2006

EUREKA SPRINGS -- An affidavit requesting City Advertising and Promotion Commissioners Steve Roberson and Richard Grinnell appear in court was submitted to District Court Judge MaryAnn McBeth late last week.

The two, along with CAPC Executive Director Lynn Berry, allegedly met in secret, in violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

According to an incident report prepared by Patrolman Jerry Reddick, he was dispatched to the Little Bread Company at 9:03 p.m. last Wednesday to meet with Beau Satori, who claimed there was an illegal meeting underway at the CAPC office, located in the building.

Reddick stated he accompanied Satori to the office and could hear three people talking. "I announced my presence and I advised the occupants of the complaint brought against them," Reddick said.

After identifying the three present, Reddick said, "I further noted that the gathering was obviously a meeting and there were notes being taken.

"I advised all three subjects to immediately quit the meeting and informed them that they would be contacted later in reference to the complaint."

Police Chief Earl Hyatt said he prepared the affidavit the next day, stating the facts to the court, and requesting that a summons be issued for Roberson and Grinnell as public office holders, charging them with violation of the Freedom of Information Act, a Class C misdemeanor.

Berry, as an employee of the commission, is not beholden, in this case, to FOI laws.

Eureka Springs Court Clerk Linda Wishon said she had the paperwork on her desk and would be preparing the summons to present for McBeth's signature.

Grinnell claims they were not meeting to discuss CAPC business, but to prepare for a political forum hosted by a local newspaper, in which the commissioners would present the "pro" side of a CAPC tax initiative set for a vote Nov. 7.

Roberson, whose term expired in June but who has not yet been replaced, did not respond to a request for comment.

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