The Best & Worst of 2011

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 11:22 am  

But JDA wasn't too concerned.

The company's due diligence found "there was potential financial exposure to i2, but that it was immaterial and that the chances of i2's actions being interpreted as fraudulent were not material."

A Dallas County, Texas, jury found otherwise and awarded Dillard's an eye-popping $246 million in June 2010. JDA appealed and Dillard's agreed to settle the case for a mere $57 million.

Worst Vacation
It was on a vacation that Mary Hardin first suggested playing the slot machines to her husband. Twelve years later, Lu Hardin pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering for snookering the trustees of the University of Central Arkansas out of a $300,000 bonus to which he was not entitled - money he needed to pay gambling debts amassed strictly from playing slots.

Best Water-Cooler Topic 
Sissy's Log Cabin of Little Rock and Pine Bluff presented in October and November a reality-show-inspired contest titled the "Perfect Girl for the Perfect Jewelry Contest." The promotion was open to single Arkansas women between the ages of 18 and 29.

Young women submitted their photographs and descriptions of themselves, and CEO Sissy Jones' grandson, William Jones, chose the winner from finalists of a public vote. 
The contest winner won a dinner date with William Jones, a limousine ride with him and a $1,000 gift certificate to spend at - where else? - Sissy's Log Cabin.

Best Celeb Sightings 

Actor Matthew McConaughey and Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon were spotted around southeast Arkansas, where "Mud," the largest movie production ever to be filmed in Arkansas, was being shot last fall. The two stars play leads in the movie.

Witherspoon was also seen in Little Rock.  

Little Rock native Jeff Nichols is the director of "Mud," which is scheduled for a 2012 theatrical release.

Worst Inconvenience 
An international hacking group known as Anonymous electronically trespassed on the websites of 34 Arkansas sheriff's offices in late July.

The websites were among 77 law enforcement sites in 18 states that Anonymous targeted. Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing Inc. of Mountain Home hosts all 77 of the hacked sites.

Anonymous posted some sensitive information from the sheriff's office websites publicly online, but much of the leaked data was benign.

Improving the security and repairing the sheriff's office websites post-hacking took months.



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