ATRS, Holman End Legal Dispute

Arkansas Teacher Retirement System has settled its legal dispute with Ed Holman and his Health Systems of Arkansas LCC.

Holman had sued ATRS after he was replaced as property manager on three projects.

Holman claimed the pension fund owed him $168,677 for managing the 222-bed Woodland Hills Rehabilitation and Health Care Center (formerly Riley's Oak Hill Manor South), $63,100 for managing the 224-bed Northridge Rehabilitation and Health Care Center (formerly Riley's Oak Hill Manor North) and $4,549 for managing the 63-unit Woodland Heights retirement center.

ATRS inherited those troubled projects after Pat Riley Sr. defaulted on an $11.5 million loan.

In response to Holman's action, ATRS countersued and made a criminal referral to Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley's office with allegations of financial malfeasance against Holman while he managed the properties.

But both parties reportedly did a cost-benefit analysis on their prospective positions and decided to end the fight.

It remains unclear where the criminal investigation went. Also unclear is the status of the criminal referral involving former ATRS executive director Bill Shirron.

New Faces

Meanwhile, ATRS is making changes in the businesses with which it does business.

Two Little Rock law firms were selected to work with state's largest pension fund.

ATRS will be retaining the legal services of the Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC of Little Rock in real estate matters. The Rose Law Firm of Little Rock will oversee tax and pension fund issues.

Contracts with the two law firms should be worked out by the end of the month, sources said.

The Little Rock law firm of Dover Dixon & Horne PLLC had done the bulk of the pension fund's legal work. ATRS will continue to work with that firm on any unfinished business.

ATRS also is reviewing its list of the property managers overseeing its real estate holdings and has sent out requests for proposals that could have some new companies overseeing some new properties.

That process isn't far enough along to have created any changes yet.