Arkansas Business' 25 Great Whispers (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

Are They or Aren't They?
One thing Jackson won't discuss is whether Pickens-Bond has other problems as a result of its equity participation or guarantor status in numerous major construction deals.

He especially won't talk about whether the Dillard family or their retailing firm stepped in with the checkbook to help Pickens-Bond through any such problem.

Jackson says only that Dillard has been a major client over the years. That's more than the Dillards will say; their spokesman didn't return our phone calls.

Jan. 5, 1987
A Tangled Web
What is Lynn Lloyd, who just filed a bankruptcy petition showing a 6.4-to-1 debt/asset ratio, doing trying to buy a company in another state?

And do his creditors know?

We don't know the answer to No. 1, and neither do the three stockholders in the firm, which publishes the weekly Progress in O'Fallon, Ill. (east of St. Louis). But they say that on Dec. 18 Lloyd offered 'em $2 million for the paper – more than half of it in cash – saying he could close by year-end.

The three turned down Lloyd's offer on Dec. 30 after getting details of his Little Rock bankruptcy filing of Nov. 6. In it Lloyd lists business and personal debts of nearly $63.6 million and assets of just a hair under $10 million.

Now, Question No. 2: There's nothing in the petition about buying a 96-year-old weekly in a little town of 12,000. Do you think the judge would approve if Lloyd asked?

Who Are These People?
Lloyd isn't the only Arkansas connection in this episode. Ron Rye, a Dardanelle radio exec, was with Lloyd and repeatedly has told the Progress that he and Lloyd were partners in the offer.

(We phoned to ask Rye about that, and he didn't act surprised. But he didn't keep a commitment to call us back with details, either.)

The Progress says Lloyd wanted to take control of its presses to assure favorable coverage of city hall; it notes that he and O'Fallon Mayor Kristi Vetry have been "frequent companions" since her divorce in August.

Vetry confirms to us that she and Lloyd are friends but won't say more – except to deny prior knowledge of the buyout effort.



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