Legal Battle Over Swaffar Trust Fund Continues

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jul. 9, 2012 12:00 am  

Here's another subject to recollect: David P. Henry, the former Little Rock lawyer who, as a trustee, looted a trust fund belonging to the heirs of Little Rock architect Joe Swaffar.

In the newest chapter of the saga, Henry is fighting to keep ownership of his home.

When Swaffar died in 2004, his heirs found the fund empty. And they are still waiting for a $1 million judgment Henry was ordered to pay in 2010 after Judge Wendell Griffen ruled that Henry had misused the $1.6 million from the trust fund.

Exhibits recently filed with Pulaski County Circuit Court showed Henry, when he was a trustee, appropriating some $300,000 from the trust to pay off a mortgage on his house in west Little Rock. Mark Riable, the Swaffars' lawyer, filed suit this year demanding the home be seized and its value used to pay off some of the judgment.

Henry has since mounted several defenses against the foreclosure. He claimed exemption under the Homestead Act. He also cited res judicata and collateral estoppel, both of which bar relitigation of suits under certain circumstances.

Riable addressed these defenses in his latest filing, alleging that they were invalid for various technical reasons.

Riable said it seems obvious to him that Henry is liable, and he hopes he can bring foreclosure on the home soon.

"I think it's pretty glaring that the home appears to have been paid for by this trust to start with," Riable said.

Calls made to Henry were not returned.



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