Arvest Bank Settles With 18 Dennis Smiley Creditors

by George Waldon  on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 7:58 am  

Dennis Smiley

The cattle call of lawyers representing lenders burned by former bank executive Dennis Smiley Jr. has dissipated.

The litigious herd was thinned considerably after Arvest Bank of Fayetteville, Smiley’s former employer, recently reached settlements with 18 of the 20 lenders.

Only First State Bank of De Queen, where Smiley’s namesake father is chairman, and Signature Bank of Arkansas in Fayetteville remain as possible claimants seeking money from Smiley’s Arvest Bank Group stock purchase and stock option plans.

Smiley repeatedly pledged his interest in the plans as collateral on a string of loans far exceeding the cash value of the executive incentive account. A series of loans, estimated to involve $4.5 million and sometimes involving questionable signatures and documents, is under criminal investigation. No charges have been filed against Smiley.

Half of the 20 known banks with potential fraud claims against Smiley filed legal paperwork detailing nearly $2 million in outstanding loans tied to him. Brief notations in the loan documents offer a glimpse at how the money was to be spent.

The list of Smiley lenders included half the banks operating in Benton or Washington County.

First State Bank of De Queen has staked an unspecified claim to the $552,000 that Arvest placed in the court registry after the battle over Smiley’s assets began in March. The money represented the cash value of Smiley’s Arvest stock plans.

More: First Security Bank forecloses on Smiley's Rogers home.

Signature Bank has yet to lay claim to any of Smiley’s Arvest money. The bank did file a collateral claim on Smiley’s 20 percent stake in HDS Holdings LLC tied to an unspecified September 2009 loan.

His fractional HDS holding represents a 2.8 percent share of NWA Holdings LLC, which owns The Shoppes at Har-Ber Lakes in Springdale. The partially developed 19.8-acre property is home to 70,700 SF of mostly retail space.

Neither Signature nor First State Bank has filed legal paperwork detailing financial claims against Smiley.

According to top executives at both banks, Arvest didn’t extend settlement offers.



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