The Best & Worst of 2011

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

"It's been very aggravating to us and an inconvenience," Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape said.

Worst Plan to Save a Business 
Little Rock attorney S. Graham Catlett recently was reprimanded and fined $1,550 by the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct for his role in a 2005 scheme to pass off conventional tomatoes as organic produce.

Catlett was a business partner in a wholesale organic tomato production business. When the crop failed in 2005, he and others had the bright idea to buy regular tomatoes and pass them off as higher-priced organic ones.

But one of the business partners reported the mislabeling scheme to authorities. The business was stripped of its ability to label its tomatoes as organic in 2009. And Catlett was reprimanded this year.

Best News for Cat Bloggers
Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas, the company that was authorized to file copyright infringement lawsuits for Arkansas-owned Stephens Media of Las Vegas and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette owner Wehco Media, lost a string of lawsuits in 2011.

Righthaven become the demon of a cat blogger and other website owners who ended up being sued for what, in at least a few cases, appeared to be legal use of copyrighted material or simple ignorance of copyright law.

Federal judges in both Colorado and Las Vegas have ruled against Righthaven - giving Righthaven targets the possibility of recovering their legal fees or the amounts they paid to settle out of court. Assuming, of course, Righthaven has any money.

Worst Taste 
The Arkansas Farm Bureau published a photo of an African-American inmate of the Arkansas Department of Correction standing in a cornfield, a hoe resting on his shoulder, on the cover of the July-August 2011 issue of the Farm Bureau publication Front Porch.

In the picture, a black prison guard on horseback watches inmate Deadrun Tolefree - looking together like an image out of Arkansas' unpretty pre-Civil War past. A cover blurb about "cool watermelon recipes" made it worse.



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