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‘He Wasn’t Unkind, but He Was a Crook’ – Best Quotes of 2016

8 min read

“He wasn’t unkind, but he was a crook.”

David Hoffman of Santa Cruz, California, reflecting on his business dealings with accused serial fraudster John Rogers of North Little Rock

“I always try to remember what my dad told me years ago: ‘Don’t ever forget what it’s like to sit on the other side of the desk.’”

Darwin Hendrix, chairman and CEO of the Bank of Delight (Gurdon Girding for More Bank Competition)

“He said he was looking for pine trees, and I said, ‘You’re talking with the right person because we have a lot of those in Arkansas.’”

Mark Hamer, director of business development in Asia for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, on a 2010 breakfast conversation with Hongxin Li, chairman of Shandong Sun Paper Industry JSC Ltd. that led to a billion-dollar industrial announcement for Clark County in April 2016

“Everyone says that if Batman had a mower, it would be a Spartan.”

Robert Foster, founder of Intimidator Inc. of Batesville, maker of Spartan zero-turn lawn mowers

“It was something that devastated me. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life.”

Robert Foster, describing his split with former business partner Phil Pulley, co-founder of Bad Boy Mowers of Batesville, now a rival of Foster

“I grew up in the Holden Avenue Church of Christ in Newport, Arkansas. Jesus loves all the children, red and yellow, black and white. That’s it. That’s my politics.”

— Little Rock lawyer David Couch, who uses initiated acts to liberalize Arkansas law

“David is a stickler for the law. Whatever one might say about David Couch, he is a defender of the law. He believes in it. He never hides behind it. But he thinks it’s a tool for good.”

Marsha Scott, a political and organizational consultant discussing Couch’s initiative efforts

“Alice leaning on us pretty hard helped. She flew us up there several times. We really did not want to go to Bentonville.”

— Dallas restaurateur Shannon Wynne, describing how Alice Walton persuaded him and his business partners to locate a Flying Fish restaurant in Bentonville

“I don’t want to be a chain and I don’t want to be a Chili’s. I want to have a little neighborhood corner restaurant. I like funky.”

David Stobaugh, co-owner of Stoby’s Restaurant in Conway, which is being rebuilt after a fire in March

“It’s our home. It’s always great to come home. We feel like being headquartered in Little Rock has been an advantage for us in a lot of ways.”

Warren Stephens, CEO at Stephens Inc. (Business Icons: Warren Stephens Steers Company Into Growth, Expansion)

“I don’t have anything before me that the plaintiff put a gun to the defendant’s head and made him sign the note.”

— Yell County Circuit Judge Terry Sullivan before granting a $2 million summary judgment against Lex and Ellen Golden of Little Rock, who personally guaranteed to repay the loan to Chambers Bank of Danville

“I always tell people: We’re not making widgets here. We’re making a good time.”

Michael Marion, general manager of Verizon Arena in North Little Rock (Verizon Arena On Track for Biggest Revenue Year Ever)

“Running a restaurant is exactly like running a political campaign. Your clientele are your constituents. You’ve got to communicate with so many different kinds of people from so many different socioeconomic backgrounds and get along and delegate and make quick decisions. You are in politics, sister. You may not realize it, but you are.”

— Little Rock Director Kathy Webb’s advice to Trio’s co-owner Capi Peck, who ran successfully for the Little Rock Board of Directors

“You take people with innovative-type ideas and you get innovative-type results. That is innovation alley over there. During the next 20 years, it is going to become the next redevelopment hot spot.”

Margaret McEntire, founder and former owner of Candy Bouquet International, on the growing wave of commercial makeovers along Sixth Street east of Interstate 30 in Little Rock

“If you wade into the water, whatever is in that water is on your leg.”

Matthew Davidge on buying the former Equity Broadcasting/Soul of the South facility in west Little Rock and the historical controversies associated with both endeavors

“We’re one of the very few airports that set out with that goal and made it.”

Ron Mathieu, executive director of the Clinton National Airport, on becoming debt-free entering 2016

“It was a cage match and it didn’t disappoint from a spectator’s point of view.”

Bob Clausen, KARK anchor, describing Donald Trump’s election night victory over Hillary Clinton

“The only time I was scared [during the 2008-09 financial crisis] was when I remembered Mack had got me into the car business.”

Robert L. Johnson, billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television, joking about his automotive partnership with Mack McLarty

“Four in 10,000 customers: Even the EPA lets that ride sometimes as acceptable levels of cancer.”

Pat Costner of Eureka Springs, who generates her own solar power, speaking to the state Public Service Commission on the tiny number of current “net metering” customers served by Arkansas utilities

“Yes, Don Hale and I have been conspiring for years and we finally figured out how to dominate the north-central Arkansas financial industry.”

Kirby Williams, joking about the news that he and Hale had gone to work for separate banks after decades of running their own advertising firms in Hot Springs and El Dorado.

“I had only a dream and determination. And something else that was incredibly valuable — my first client.”

Elise Mitchell on starting her Fayetteville PR firm, representing Promus Hotel Corp.

“Newspapers are going to be around for a while. But they’re going to be a premium product for a premium price.”

— Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman Jr. (Business Icons: Walter Hussman Delivers Innovation to Newspaper Industry)

“The old model was essentially building a very expensive factory to process expensive newsprint paper and sending tons of it out daily by an expensive transportation system only to be looked at once and thrown away.”

— Former Arkansas Gazette Editor Carrick Patterson, describing the daily newspaper business model he now sees as moribund

“I am struck by what we were like 10 years ago, like lemmings about to go off a cliff. We were blissfully ignorant and just thinking about return.”

Rick Adkins, president and CEO of Arkansas Financial Group Inc., discussing the pre-2008 housing bubble

“I saw all those records at the Rose Law Firm, and there was nothing there to be secretive about. Maybe [Hillary Clinton] was embarrassed for people to know the piddling little stuff she was doing for her legal fees.”

— Little Rock journalist Ernest Dumas on the presidential candidate’s penchant for privacy, a trait that dogged her from her Arkansas years to her defeat last month

“This is exactly the kind of project they want to invest in. It’s in the U.S., a stable country, and it’s in an area that needs development, Jefferson County.”

Roger Williams, CEO of Energy Security Partners, describing equity funds’ reaction to his plans to build a $3.5 billion plant to turn natural gas into liquid fuel north of Pine Bluff

“My path was anything but typical. I was a single mother before I started working. I was going to be the best receptionist I could possibly be.”

MaryEmily Slate, on how she rose from being a 19-year-old without any college to become a vice president and plant manager at Nucor Steel

“I couldn’t face it; I should have faced it. If I had faced it, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here.”

Dennis Smiley Jr., the former president of Arvest Bank’s Benton County market, describing how his personal financial habits led him to commit bank fraud

“I don’t know how he got up and went to work at Arvest Bank.”

— U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III before sentencing Smiley to 97 months in federal prison for bank fraud

“The future is very bright. It darn well better be; I own a lot of stock.”

Robert Young after retiring as chairman of the ArcBest board of directors after reaching 75

“He’s not going anywhere for three years. He’s going to be on speed dial for me.”

Tom Hayes on Donnie Smith, whom he will replace as CEO of Tyson Foods on Dec. 31

“This gamesmanship is improper in any case. That it has become standard practice for some Respondents only further convinces the Court that this conduct is an abuse of the judicial process.”

— Chief U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III on attorneys involved in a controversial class-action case

“We have a huge problem with North College: It looks like shit.”

— Builder Mark Zweig on his quest to rehabilitate one of Fayetteville’s main corridors.

“You don’t know whether to shake his hand or lick his face. My son’s 5 and he looks older than Doug McMillon.”

James Corden, host of the Wal-Mart shareholders extravaganza, about the company’s baby-faced CEO

“We planned a lot of things this morning. That was not one of them.”

— Walmart CFO Brett Biggs after Corden gave him a long hug and a kiss after introducing him at the shareholders meeting

“At my advanced age, it was going to be short term.”

Tom Glaser, 66, about his six-month tenure as interim CEO of USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren

“The goal is not to create winners and losers. The goal is statewide productivity increase.”

Maria Markham, director of the state’s Department of Higher Education, on the state’s new performance-based funding formula

“It’s a happy day for me. This is more than a gift; this is about an investment.”

— Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson after his family and company donated $15 million to the Arkansas Children’s Northwest

“Our focus now is to find someone to come fill that void.”

— Gentry Mayor Kevin Johnston after the closing of all Walmart Express stores left his city without a grocery

“My clients are very proud of that settlement.”

— Attorney John Elrod of Fayetteville about plaintiffs’ attorneys, including John Goodson of Texarkana, who received $1.85 million from a controversial class-action settlement while only 4 percent of the class members filed a claim

“The fact of the matter is that the parties still unapologetically defend their right to silently forum-shop away from a judge that would scrutinize their settlement and safeguard absent class members’ interests.”

Ted Frank, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness (Class-Action Watchdog Says Sanctions Should Stand Against Attorneys)

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