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ABPG Owner Now Owns ABPG NameLock Icon

3 min read

It’s a minor development in the scheme of things, but Arkansas Business’ parent company now owns the rights to the name Arkansas Business Publishing Group.

Yes, ABPG has been on the building and on invoices for years, long before Publisher Mitch Bettis and his LLC, Five Legged Stool, bought the business last year from Arkansas Business Limited Partnership and Journal Publishing Inc. It’s been registered as a fictitious name since 1995.

But there had been a complication. Laura Johnson, an attorney with Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus in Little Rock, explained in a letter to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s legal division in February:

“In 2003, an individual so greatly disliked the coverage by Journal Publishing of his business affairs that he filed articles of incorporation with your office for Arkansas Business Publishing Group, Inc., for the sole purpose of harassing Journal Publishing, Five Legged Stool’s predecessor in interest.

“Arkansas Business Publishing Group, Inc. has never engaged in legitimate business activity or commerce. It is delinquent in payment of its franchise taxes by many years, and its status has been revoked. Arkansas Business Publishing Group, Inc. has never published any work, but rather was formed solely for retaliatory purposes as an abuse of Arkansas law.”

It’s no surprise that the franchise tax on the 2003 incorporation is delinquent. The individual who filed the articles of incorporation just to harass ABPG was James W. Bolt of Rogers, the career criminal who was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison back in 2014 for a scheme in which he stole some $2.5 million by using phony documents, forged signatures, fake notary seals and fictitious people to steal unclaimed assets being held by the states of California and Nevada.

A decade earlier, Bolt was peeved because Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal — both then owned by ABPG — reported on a penny stock that he was promoting variously called Golf Entertainment Inc. and Sienna Broadcasting Corp.

Ah, those were the days.

Anyway, the real ABPG sued Bolt and his lawyer, John Dodge, and a third person listed in the article of incorporation, Juan Gomez, for trademark infringement and conversion. In 2005, Bolt and Dodge were ordered to pay ABPG more than $92,000 in attorneys’ fees, but, of course, they never did.

Dodge died in 2012, and no trace of Gomez was ever found, although Bolt continued to insist that he was a real, live person.

So on March 30, Secretary of State John Thurston made it official by certifying Five Legged Stool’s application for the fictitious name of Arkansas Business Publishing Group.

And just in time. Jim Bolt, now 66, is scheduled to be released from the federal Bureau of Prisons on Oct. 18. As of last week, he was in the custody of the Federal Medical Center at Fort Worth, Texas. So far he has survived the 100-month sentence that he told U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks was “essentially a life sentence.”

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