Harvey & Bernice Jones Trust ‘Frost' Bitten?

by John Haman  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

Jack Frost was on hand when Bernice Jones created the Bernice Young Jones Educational Trust for Family & Community Studies in October 1995.

A version of this article originally appeared in Arkansas Business on May 19, 1997. It is being republished as part of Arkansas Business' 30th anniversary issue. You can access the digital edition for free here.

H.G. “Jack” Frost Jr. was only a part-time employee of the Harvey and Bernice Jones Charitable Trust 1 in his position as trustee, but in fiscal year 1994 his salary tripled, giving him an annual compensation package of more than $350,000 in salary and consultation fees.

In early April, under unknown circumstances, the Little Rock accountant and management consultant was relieved of his duties as accountant for longtime friend and client Bernice Jones of Springdale, the spectacular philanthropist who has contributed at least $58 million to Arkansas causes and plans to deliver millions more. But though he suddenly was no longer handling several charities associated with the Jones family estate, he remains one of two trustees for the trust No. 1 — Mrs. Jones being the other.

Since Frost’s departure, his compensation has been widely viewed as an issue in the dispute, but neither he nor officials with the trust will comment on the circumstances.

Similarly, neither Frost nor Springdale cardiologist Dr. Joel Carver — a director of the trust and former chief executive officer of the Harvey & Bernice Jones Center for Families — will comment on why Frost remains as trustee or speculate as to what action would be necessary to remove him.

Under Arkansas law, disputes between co-trustees can be settled in Chancery Court. The Washington County Chancery Court record creating the trust has been sealed since 1992.

But motions were filed earlier this year pertaining to the case, says Kathleen Harness, Washington County circuit clerk. Like the original filing, the motions are also sealed.

Meanwhile, as the dispute between Mrs. Jones and Frost continues, a bronze bust of Frost, paid for with the personal funds of Carver and Mrs. Jones, stands in front of the Jones center, oddly out of place.

Sudden Raise

A review of the trust’s federal tax records indicates Frost was paid $150,000 in salary and $204,441 in consulting fees in fiscal 1994, which extends from November 1994 through October 1995. The tax forms were signed by Frost and an accountant from KPMG Peat Marwick, the Little Rock accounting firm handling the returns. Mrs. Jones, the other trustee, didn’t sign them.

Frost’s salary rose sharply that year from previous years. In fiscal 1993, for example, Frost received $48,000 in salary and $291,300 in consultation fees from the trust. In fiscal 1992, Frost was paid $48,000 in salary, but only $19,452 was spent on “other professional fees” and Frost’s consultation company wasn’t listed as a recipient on the attached form.

Most interestingly, the year Frost began receiving the large consultation fees (fiscal 1993), he switched legal publication of the announcement of the availability of the tax forms to The Times, a 7,500 weekly-circulation newspaper in North Little Rock, from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the largest daily newspaper in the state.

 

 

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