Bad Behavior, Death Among 2011's Top Online News Stories

by Lance Turner  on Monday, Dec. 26, 2011 12:00 am  

Lu Hardin's guilty plea to wire fraud and money laundering in March in federal court was the fourth most-read online story of the year. Hardin's "human frailty," in the words of pal Sheffield Nelson, was gambling, and it led Hardin to deceive the board of trustees into giving him a $300,000 bonus when he was president of the University of Central Arkansas. Hardin's crimes marked an ignominious end to his time at UCA and Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, where he'd become president after leaving Arkansas in 2008.

It's never a good time to get cuffed for a DWI, but Wal-Mart Stores Inc. heiress Alice Walton certainly regretted the poor timing of her last run-in with the law, which came less than a month before the grand opening of her multimillion-dollar, world-renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in her hometown, Bentonville.

Walton's arrest on the evening of Oct. 7, her 62nd birthday, by a Texas Highway Patrol trooper, and the accompanying booking photo, generated reader interest, and it was the sixth most popular of the year.

Finally, there was the story that quickly became - and continues to be - the buzz of the Little Rock legal community: a three-ring circus involving the USA Drug pharmacy chain, three accused embezzlers and their cadre of attorneys in federal criminal court and state and federal civil court.

Editor Gwen Moritz's November overview of its latest maneuvers was the 10th most-read story of the year.

Top 10 Stories of 2011
1) Police Say Man Found Dead in Tub With KARK's Brett Cummins; Station Takes Meteorologist Off the Air
2) Yarnell's Premium Ice Cream Closes, Leaves 200 Jobless
3) Morning Show Anchor Alyson Courtney Leaves KTHV As News Shuffles Continue
4) Lu Hardin Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, Money Laundering in Federal Court
5) Who Pays $1 Million for a Home?
6) Report: Alice Walton Arrested in Texas for DWI
7) Former Stockbroker Warren Overton Dies at 41
8) Philanthropist Jennings Osborne Dies After Heart Surgery
9) Buzz Morning Show Host Tommy Smith Arrested for DWI
10) Long-Running Embezzlement Case Yields 'A Legal Perfect Storm'



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