Witnesses Portray Martha Shoffner As Cranky, Demanding

by Chuck Bartels, The Associated Press  on Friday, Mar. 7, 2014 8:30 am  

When auditors were reviewing the books, Sanson said, she was asked about the questionable bond trades but could only offer the explanation that, "I was instructed to do so."

She said she felt Shoffner would fire her had she refused or cancelled the transactions.

Cord Rapert, 27, a Jonesboro pharmaceutical salesman and a "distant cousin" of state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, said he worked two stints as an assistant in Shoffner's office, also helping on her campaigns.

"I was treated horribly," Cord Rapert said. "Nights and weekends were not my own." He said he frequently had to run errands for Shoffner and used his own money to buy her food and pay for her dry cleaning.

He described outbursts of ill temper by Shoffner, saying she'd yell and pound on a desk if something as innocuous as a letter to the Boy Scouts wasn't phrased correctly.

"She didn't understand what was going on in the office, but she ran the office," he said.

Banks asked several witnesses whether Shoffner had the sophistication and background to be a hands-on boss and described her as a figurehead whose role was to promote the work of the office while others did the day-to-day work.

Rapert said that when he submitted his resignation, Shoffner crumpled up his letter, threw it at him and fired him.

Rapert said he'd discussed his impressions of the treasurer's office with his cousin and a number of other legislators on the Joint Audit Committee. Banks said in openings that current and former treasurer's employees tainted the views of auditors and legislators by supplying information to undermine Shoffner.

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