Judge rules CAPC appointments legal

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The appointments of Carol Wright, Melissa Greene and Harry Meyer to the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission are legal under Arkansas law, Carroll County Judge Scott Jackson ruled last week.

Jackson delivered his ruling at the conclusion of a nearly two-hour hearing on Friday, June 25, in the courtroom of the Carroll County Western District Courthouse in Eureka Springs.

Attorney Tim Parker, representing a group of plaintiffs in a wide-ranging lawsuit against the CAPC and city officials including Mayor Butch Berry and several of the commissioners, had argued that Wright was ineligible to serve on the commission because she is not a resident of Eureka Springs and that Greene and Meyer also were ineligible as incumbent members of the Eureka Springs City Council.

Defense attorney Amanda Lafever contended that Wright is eligible to serve on the CAPC because she is a citizen of Carroll County. Lafever said there is no provision in state law that prohibits incumbent city council members from serving on an advertising and promotion commission.

In the end, Jackson ruled in favor the defendants, allowing Wright, Greene and Meyer to retain their commission seats.

Jackson also ruled that the commission can meet, with Greg Moon restored to the seat he occupied before being removed in a disputed vote on Jan. 27. Jackson had ruled last month that the commission did not have the authority under state law to remove one of its own members.

Lafever agreed that Moon’s return to the commission means Patrick Burnett will no longer hold a seat. Burnett had been appointed by the Eureka Springs City Council to fill Moon’s seat and is named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by Parker.

After Jackson announced his ruling in regard to Wright, Greene and Meyer, Parker indicated he would file an appeal. On Monday, Parker filed a motion asking Jackson to reconsider the ruling, citing a new case precedent that he said he discovered after Friday’s hearing.

Parker represents Moon as well as CAPC finance director Rick Bright, group sales coordinator Karen Pryor, former interim director Gina Rambo and former special events coordinator Tracy Johnson.

Defendants in the suit are CAPC commissioners Jeff Carter, James DeVito, Greene, Meyer and Wright; Berry; mayoral assistant Kim Stryker; Burnett; and two insurance companies that provide policies to the city.

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