Heber Springs Man Allegedly Claims Legendary Gold

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jun. 6, 2011 12:00 am  

Joe Blankenship: "Let's do this deal and get everyone whole."

But his take on that deal, estimated at $6 million to $7 million, was later engulfed by multimillion-dollar tax problems and multimillion-dollar leveraged investments gone bad.

His gold business is believed to be connected with BFBHB Import & Export LLC of Heber Springs, led by Helen Blankenship. His mother, a retired nurse, is listed with the Secretary of State's Office as the registered agent, manager and incorporator/organizer of BFBHB, which was incorporated in November 2009.

According to Crawford, using his mother as a front is consistent with Blankenship's efforts to protect assets from a string of secured and unsecured creditors trying to collect on judgments and unpaid loans.

And as one of those unpaid, asset-chasing creditors, Crawford is in a position to know. He joins First Security Bank of Searcy in accusing Blankenship of loan fraud.

The bank's fraud allegations seem to be in limbo since it began recovering a laundry list of Blankenship assets in 2008. Crawford is pursuing assets to cover a $400,000 default judgment.

Crawford got to know Blankenship when they were partners in the Red Sky Duck Club. Crawford loaned Blankenship $300,000 in August 2009 secured by Blankenship's 40 percent stake in the Lonoke County club.

However, Blankenship had relinquished that ownership months earlier to Little Rock's Delta Trust & Bank to cover a bad debt with the bank. Crawford didn't discover this until he tried to collect after Blankenship defaulted on repaying him. These days, Blankenship is renting a 4,200-SF house on Eden Isle and is seen tooling around Heber Springs in a black Escalade. The luxury SUV is said to be titled in his mother's name to avoid creditors' claims.

Crawford said others had been financially burned by Blankenship but were reluctant to throw good money after bad or come forward because of embarrassment.

Crawford said he would not drop his legal pursuit of Blankenship and that the dispute had become more than a mission to collect money.

"That's where I'm at," Crawford said. "I'm not going to change my mind. He's already bilked too many good men. I am not going to back down."

Golden Email Excerpt

This is a portion of an email allegedly sent this spring by Joe Blankenship from Nairobi, Kenya:



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