Who Pays $1 Million for a Home?

Aaron Jones wasn't looking to buy a $1.6 million home.

"We just happen to cross the house and it had all the features in it," said Jones, who is an attorney at Spears & Jones of Benton.

So Jones and his wife, Abigail, bought the 4,685-SF, two-story house at 43 Chenal Circle from Mark and Kimberly Brockinton on May 5, 2005.

Jones said what attracted him to the three-bedroom home were the antique fixtures, the Baccarat crystal chandelier and the limestone columns.

The Joneses' house was one of 27 in Pulaski County that sold for $1 million or more last year. The number of $1 million-plus homes sold in 2005 dropped slightly from the 29 in that price range that changed hands in Pulaski County in 2004.

The most expensive house sold in 2005 was the $2.3 million beauty bought by Ginger and Thomas Blackmon Jr. The most expensive home sold in 2004 went for $3.2 million.

The largest of the seven-figure homes came in at 7,800 SF. Peter and Ruth Han bought the $1.3 million Chenal Downs home from Kevin and Judith Forte in August.

For readers who have wondered who these top-dollar homeowners are, Arkansas Business has attempted to provide a brief description of each of the homes listed and of the owners, using interviews and public records.

Here's what we found:

• The best-known person who bought a million-dollar home in Pulaski County last year is Jermain Taylor, who beat Bernard Hopkins in 2005 to become undisputed middleweight champion of the world. Taylor defended that title in a December rematch.

Taylor and his wife, Erica, bought a 39-acre residential spread in North Little Rock that tipped the scales at $1.65 million.

The Taylors bought the 4,200-SF home from Cindy Childers and Mona McClelland in September. It was the only North Little Rock home to top $1 million last year; most were in Little Rock, while one was in Maumelle.

• At the beginning of 2005, Lee and Carole Hodges bought a 6,600-SF mansion in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley neighborhood for $1.7 million.

The Hodges bought the house from Joseph and Brenda Blankenship.

Lee Hodges serves as chief operations leader at Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock. He oversees Acxiom's organizations responsible for sales, client relationship management and client services delivery.

• John Conner III said he picked a 5,800-SF home adjoining the Country Club of Little Rock for its location.

Conner and his wife, Mary, bought the house from One Bank & Trust of Little Rock for $1.8 million in June 2005. The home, which overlooks the 10th tee at the country club, previously was owned by Warren and Heather Overton. The house was foreclosed on, and Warren Overton has been charged in U.S. District Court with eight counts of bank fraud (partially related to loans secured by the golf-view house) and one count of check-kiting.

John Conner works as a financial consultant for Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.

• Dr. Porter Rodgers Jr. and his wife, Carol, acquired a 4,872-SF condo in Little Rock's Riverdale area in December from Betty Turner. Carol Rodgers said the No. 1 reason she and her husband, a retired surgeon from Searcy, bought the $1 million condo was because of its location. "It's a gated community down on the river," she said. "We have views of downtown and the bluff across the river." The Rodgerses still live in Searcy and spend two or three nights a week in the condo.

• Thomas Blackmon Jr. said he and his wife, Ginger, were attracted to Little Rock's prestigious Edgehill neighborhood because of the location and investment value.

"They're not making any more of that area," said Thomas Blackmon Jr., who grew up in the Edgehill neighborhood. "The second thing that got me was the view. The view is just fabulous."

The Blackmons' 7,375-SF home, which cost $2.3 million, has views of downtown Little Rock, the Arkansas River and North Little Rock. They bought the home from Vicki Moody in March.

Thomas Blackmon Jr. is the vice president of Blackmon Auctions Inc. of Little Rock, which was founded by Blackmon's grandfather, Eddie Blackmon Sr., in 1938.

• Dr. Shabbir Dharamsey bought his 6,000-SF home in Maumelle's River Crest Estates in January. The sale rang up at $1.1 million, and the seller was PKW Group Inc., led by Phil Whisenhunt.

Dharamsey practices cardiology and internal medicine in Pine Bluff and works at the Arkansas Cancer Institute in Pine Bluff.

• A 5,800-SF home in Edgehill sold for $1.3 million in February 2005.

Traci and Albert Braunfisch bought the house from Mac and Dorothy Woodward.

Braunfisch was the president of Little Rock advertising mailer CAP Media Inc. In August, the company merged with MailSouth Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., and Braunfisch joined MailSouth as CEO.

• In March, Bill and Jane Hardin bought a 6,200-SF home in Edgehill for $1.45 million.

Jane Hardin is the daughter of Johnelle and J.B. Hunt of Fayetteville, who founded J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. at Lowell in 1961. J.B. Hunt retired as senior chairman and member of the board of directors at the end of 2004.

Less than a month after the Hardins bought the house from the E. Sheffield Nelson Revocable Trust, they donated $100,000 to Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education & Services (CARES).

• The only family connection on this year's list of $1 million homes belongs to the LaFrance family.

In July, Stephen and Linda LaFrance bought a $1.3 million home from their son and daughter-in-law, Stephen LaFrance Jr. and Wendy. The 5,300-SF home is near the Country Club of Little Rock.

Stephen LaFrance Sr. is chairman and CEO of Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy Inc. of Pine Bluff, which includes the retail chains USA Drug, Super D Drugs, Ike's Deep Discount Drug and May Drug Stores. USA Drug had sales estimated at $560 million in 2005, which put it at No. 12 on Arkansas Business' recent list of the state's largest private companies.

Stephen LaFrance Jr. is executive vice president of his father's company. A few days after selling to his parents, he and his wife paid $1.3 million for a 4,200-SF home in Edgehill. The sellers were Randall and Robin Thompson.

• Dr. Reza Shahim and his wife, Lisa, bought a 6,600-SF mansion in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley for $1.17 million in September.

The Shahims bought the house from Hugh and Susan Crisp.

Dr. Shahim practices neurosurgery in Little Rock.

• Amber and Dr. John Meadors bought a 4,950-SF Edgehill home for $2 million.

The Meadorses traded homes with Steven "Gene" Cauley, who bought their 4,200-SF home near the Country Club for $1.2 million.

Dr. Meadors is a radiologist and practices at Radiology Associates P.A. in Little Rock.

Cauley is a Little Rock attorney who has made a career in class-action litigation, mainly on behalf of stockholders. Earlier this year, Cauley said he was scaling back his practice at Cauley Bowman Carney & Williams.

Cauley also holds a 30 percent stake in Centennial Bancshares Inc. of Little Rock.

• Another person with ties to Centennial Bancshares picked up a home valued at more than $1 million.

John Olaimey, executive vice president of Centennial, and his wife, Timothy Ann Olaimey, bought a 6,700-SF mansion in west Little Rock's Valley Falls Estates neighborhood for $2.2 million.

The Olaimeys acquired the home from Rick and Deanna Ferguson.

• In September, Michael Coulson and his wife, Beth, spent $1.7 million on a 5,000-SF home in Little Rock's East Palisades neighborhood.

They bought the home from Diane Bray.

Michael Coulson is the CEO of Coulson Oil Co. in North Little Rock. Coulson Oil distributes gasoline and diesel to 200 convenience stores. Coulson Oil had $365 million in revenue for its fiscal year that ended Oct. 31, 2005 — up 12 percent from 2004.

Michael Coulson was the chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2004.

Beth Coulson had been a municipal judge in Perryville before she was appointed to the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 1987 and served until 1988.

• Dr. Peter Han and his wife, Ruth, bought a $1.3 million, 7,800-SF mansion in west Little Rock's Chenal Downs neighborhood.

The Hans purchased the home from Drs. Kevin and Judith Forte in August.

Peter Han is a urologist at Pinnacle Urology in Little Rock, and Ruth Han works there as an office manager.

After selling their $1.3 million home, the Fortes bought a slightly cheaper home: a $1.1 million, 5,100-SF home in Chenal Valley. The Fortes bought the home from Gary and Marilyn Heathcott.

Kevin Forte's specialty is diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine and nuclear radiology. He has practiced medicine for 17 years and currently practices with Radiology Consultants of Little Rock. Judith Forte's specialty is nephrology.

• On June 1, 2005, EJB Trust, led by Donna and Dr. James McDonald, bought the residential spread near the Arkansas River from Katherine Trotter.

The 4,468-SF home in Little Rock's Sherrill Heights neighborhood sold for $1.3 million.

James McDonald is a radiologist with Radiology Associates P.A. in Little Rock.

• In July, Dr. Syed Samad bought a 6,169-SF home in west Little Rock's Hickory Creek neighborhood for $1.6 million.

Samad acquired the house from Jim English.

Samad's specialty is gastroenterology and internal medicine. He practices at the Arkansas Surgery & Endoscopy Center in Pine Bluff.

• Dr. Roy "Gene" Graves and Rick Ferguson traded addresses in October.

Graves paid $1.85 million for the home at 2 Valley Crest that was owned by Sunset Bay I LLC, led by Ferguson. Sunset Bay bought Graves' home at 30 Bretagne Circle for $1.7 million.

Graves founded I Care of Arkansas of Little Rock, a home IV and nutritional service, in 1982.

In 2005, Graves became the first recipient of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy's Award for Professional Distinction.

Ferguson owns Ferguson Custom Homes in Little Rock, which builds high-end homes.

• In December, Robert Hixson Jr. bought a 3,000-SF condo on the 14th floor of the First Security Center in Little Rock's River Market District.

Hixson bought the space for $1.3 million from Joseph and Brenda Blankenship.

Hixson is the president of Hixson Lumber Sales Inc. of Pine Bluff.

• Dr. Scott M. Hogan purchased a 4,716-SF residence in west Little Rock's Riverview Point neighborhood for $1.28 million.

Hogan bought the digs in December from North Arkansas Realty LLC, led by Harry Erwin III.

Hogan practices pediatric/adolescent psychiatry in Little Rock at Psychiatric Services Inc.

• In December, Dr. David Collins bought a 4,600 SF-home in west Pulaski County.

John and Mary Hathcock sold their 18.5-acre residential spread north of Burlingame Road to Collins for $1 million.

Collins practices orthopedic surgery at Arkansas Specialty Care Centers PA in Little Rock. Collins has been a physician for 27 years.

• Wayne Moore Construction Co. of Little Rock bought a 5,056-SF, $1.06 million Edgehill home from Robert M. Goff & Associates, led by Wallis Allen, in March.

Wayne Moore Construction typically renovates and resells homes, which is what happened in this case.

The company resold it to Cheryl and Dr. Robert Jaquiss for $1.2 million on Dec. 30.

Dr. Jaquiss joined Arkansas Children's Hospital in 2005 as chief of its pediatric cardiovascular surgery program and professor of surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine.

For a look at the 2005 home sales of $1 million or more in Pulaski County, click here.