Posted 6/30/2011 11:12 am
Updated 2 years ago
In December, members of the Yarnell family settled a lawsuit involving nearly $200,000 in debt to patriarch Albert Yarnell Sr., chairman emeritus of the ice cream company that bears their name.
Melissa Yarnell, who goes by Lisa, and her brother, Albert Rogers Yarnell II, Yarnell's president, had sued each other in Pulaski County Circuit Court over the debt.
On Thursday, the family business, Yarnell's Premium Ice Cream of Searcy, announced it was closing its doors and ending production indefinitely, leaving 200 employees jobless. The end of the long-time Arkansas brand appears unrelated to the family's past personal legal squabbles.
In the lawsuit, Lisa alleged that her brother took some of her personal possessions, including jewelry, art work and clothes, without authorization, selling some of them in 2006. She filed suit in 2008 and also named her father as a defendant.
Lisa Yarnell said her possessions were valued at "well over a million dollars," and she was seeking damages for the missing items.
It appears that the items were taken to sell and the proceeds used to repay money that Lisa borrowed from her father. Albert Yarnell II had sued Lisa in 2006 to collect the money, but the lawsuit was dismissed in 2008.
After Lisa filed her lawsuit in 2008, Albert Yarnell II filed a counterclaim against her in 2009, saying she still owed nearly $200,000 for defaulted loans to her father.
In her lawsuit, Lisa said she was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. She didn't say what kind of cancer she had, but that it had since gone into remission. She said her cancer caused her financial trouble.
But in his answer filed in the case, Albert Yarnell II said Lisa had a "long history of extravagant spending and complete financial irresponsibility."
The filings said that between 1999 and 2009, Lisa's father had given her loans and gifts of more than $465,000. Among the loans, she borrowed $46,500 from her father in 2001. The money was due to be repaid in 2006, but wasn't.
"You know I can't pay you by your deadline," she said in an April 2006 email to her father, which was filed in the case.
She said that she knew that he was angry with her.
"You have been acting as if your anger, disappointment, and sense of betrayal were controlling your every decision concerning [her child] and me," Lisa wrote. "I did not squander your money or ask you for money that I did not need. I will be glad to explain further, if you have any interest."
On Dec. 15, both sides agreed to have the case dismissed.
On Thursday, Lisa hung up on ArkansasBusiness.com. Her brother couldn't be reached for comment.