Desperately Seeking Kevin Lewis

by George Waldon  on Monday, Mar. 14, 2011 12:00 am  

Kevin Lewis wasn't a high-profile guy until he started attracting lawsuits and the attention of federal investigators in connection with allegations of bank fraud involving multiple lenders.

The exposure of his special improvement district bond scheme triggered lender lawsuits tied to more than $23 million in outstanding debt amassed by Lewis and his various entities.

The financial damage tops $50 million when including bogus bond sales, which caused the demise of First Southern Bank of Batesville and embarrassed Home BancShares Inc. of Conway.

His alleged misdeeds have turned the 42-year-old businessman into a federal indictment waiting to happen. Meanwhile, lenders continue their pursuit of Lewis hoping to lay claim to whatever assets can be found.

Andy Myers, owner of Attorney's Service Inc. in Little Rock, is among a posse of process servers hired by banks to track down Lewis and keep their litigation and hopes of some financial recovery moving forward.

The day-to-day whereabouts of Lewis might be as enigmatic as the man, but Myers can tell you where Lewis was on Feb. 3. That's the day he caught up with Lewis at his parents' home in Searcy.

"You could see the look of terror on his face when I pulled into the driveway," said Myers, a 16-year veteran of professional hide-and-go-seek.

(More: Click here to read excerpts from Myer's log the week he finally caught up with Lewis.)

Perhaps Lewis thought the court-appointed process server and private detective was an upset creditor in search of confrontation. That's not such a paranoid concern either.

Jay Sutterfield, owner of Controlled Environmental Solutions Inc. of Russellville, showed up at Lewis' west Little Rock law office angry and unannounced late last year.

Sutterfield's company was owed $79,000 for asbestos removal on a remodeling/expansion project in Searcy for Lewis and First Southern Bank, of which Lewis was the largest shareholder. The contract, signed with Lewis' Incrementum Properties LLC, was completed on Oct. 14.

Sutterfield said he had never before been stiffed on a job and he intended to keep that record intact when he brushed past the receptionist in search of Lewis.

"Someone bailed out the back door," Sutterfield said. "That's as close as I ever got to meeting Kevin Lewis."



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