Despite Name, Arkansas Casino Corp. Operator Closely Tied to Texas, Idaho

by Michael Whiteley and Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

North Star was released from the federal bankruptcy case in Dallas on March 14, 1997. Its principals began issuing stock in Arkansas Casino Partners a day later, according to Arkansas state regulators.

Back in Idaho, Harris changed the name of company again. Arkansas Casino Corp. appeared as North Star’s successor on May 5 — four days before Arkansas Securities Commissioner Mac Dodson accused a related Harris company, Global Productions Inc., of selling unregistered securities in the state.

The company’s interest crystallized in 1998 in the form of the first bid for a monopoly to build casinos in Boone, Crittenden, Garland, Miller, Pulaski and Sebastian counties. In the spotlight for the Fix Arkansas Now Committee, identified as an operating division of Arkansas Casino Corp., were some of the state’s best-known law enforcement officers.

Leading the pack were former Arkansas State Police Director Tommy Goodwin, former Lee County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” May, William Ingram, who’d served with local and State Police agencies for 40 years, and Donna Gordon, Goodwin’s former fiscal officer.

By February 1998, Goodwin and Gordon had made their first concession to regulators in the form of a consent order agreeing to buy back the 5 million shares of stock that had gone to Harris’ ATAP Financial, Buchholz’s law firm and others.

The consent order also said the company failed to disclose information about a board member, David R. Kane, and his actions with Harris’ other company, Global Productions. Kane lost his license to sell securities in 1984 for failing to pay $8,500 in fines.

Arkansas Casino Corp. withdrew its corporate status in Arkansas at the end of 1998.

On July 20, 1999 — 18 months after the first cease-and-desist order — Dodson issued a second one accusing Arkansas Casino Corp. vice president Robert Means of making a stock offer despite the agreement. Dodson said Harris had filed false information with Standard & Poor’s Corp. to inflate the appearance of the company’s assets. Arkansas Casino Corp., he concluded, was a shell much like the defunct mining company from which it sprang in Wallace, Idaho.

Nine days later, Idaho received another name change. Arkansas Casino Corp. re-emerged at the Idaho Secretary of State’s office as Natural State Resorts Inc. Buchholz said he was required under state law to keep the mining company’s paperwork in the state of its origin.

But the troubles with Dodson have followed the company’s succession of names. Harris, identified in August 2000 as a paid consultant for Natural State Resorts, surfaced in a new confrontation with regulators over NSR’s attempt to buy DKE Entertainment Inc., a North Little Rock concert promotion company.

Dodson accused Harris of illegally offering stock in NSR to buy DKE, which he later said “had few assets, a negative net worth, and had never made a profit.”

He said Goodwin, the state’s former top cop, and Buchholz signed an agreement drafted by Harris last April 6, agreeing to trade all of DKE’s stock for $250,000 worth of Natural State’s common stock for a price set when the stock could be publicly traded.



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