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The main building at Ecclesia College, seen behind the school's sign, serves as a multipurpose facility with classes, administration offices and more. Oren Paris III (inset) was the school's president.
Education / Government & Politics / Legal

Oren Paris III of Ecclesia College Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Oren Paris III, the president of Ecclesia College in Springdale, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of fraud in a corruption scandal involving kickbacks on state grants. read more >
Hank Wilkins IV
Government & Politics / Legal / Nonprofits

What Would Jesus Rationalize? (Gwen Moritz Editor’s Note)

I hope I never get accustomed to public officials being on the take, but it’s especially disheartening when they use religion as part of their rationalization. And I’m detecting a pattern. read more >
Milton R. "Rusty" Cranford
Government & Politics / Legal

FBI: Rusty Cranford Tried to Hire Hit Man

Rusty Cranford, a former Arkansas lobbyist, was recorded trying to hire someone to murder a co-defendant who pleaded guilty in an embezzlement case in Missouri, according to prosecutors. read more >
Government & Politics / Legal

From Skeptic To Cynic (Gwen Moritz Editor’s Note)

Has government corruption become the rule rather than the exception? read more >
Government & Politics / Legal

Where Cooper Meets Neal, Woods (Analysis)

Like a Russian novel, overlapping federal criminal investigations in Missouri and Arkansas may need a cast of characters, and it's getting hard to identify either hero or victim. read more >
Education / Government & Politics / Legal

On Passing, And Failing, Civics (Editorial)

Arkansas students are required to pass a civics test, the same test immigrants must pass to become naturalized American citizens, to be eligible for high school diplomas or General Educational Development certificates. If only legislators had to take it too. read more >
Jake Files
Construction / Government & Politics / Health Care / Legal

State Sen. Jake Files Pleads Guilty to Federal Crimes in GIF Scandal

The Fort Smith Republican waived indictment and pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud in connection with money routed to him from the state General Improvement Fund. read more >
Eddie Cooper
Government & Politics / Health Care / Legal / Nonprofits

Missouri Plea Deal Points to Rusty Cranford, Eddie Cooper

A political operative who pleaded guilty Monday to a federal felony in Missouri was involved in a conspiracy with Arkansas lobbyists fitting the descriptions of Milton R. "Rusty" Cranford and former state Rep. Eddie Cooper of Melbourne. read more >
Jimmy Story (right) accepts a plaque recognizing his 20-year employment with the city of Farmington from Mayor Ernie Penn during an April 2015 city council meeting.
Business Services / Government & Politics / Legal

Trust But Verify (Gwen Moritz Editor’s Note)

I’m weary of the trope about running government like a business, but both honest government and honest business require enough employees to segregate duties and create internal controls. read more >
Government & Politics / Nonprofits

No Easy Path For Arkansas-backed Local Projects (Andrew DeMillo Analysis)

The Arkansas Supreme Court's ruling striking down a grant system used to fund local projects didn't necessarily kill outright lawmakers' efforts to divert surplus money to pet needs in their districts. read more >
Jon Woods
Government & Politics / Legal / Nonprofits

Gravy Train Stops Here (Gwen Moritz Editor’s Note)

With the Supreme Court’s latest action, the state's General Improvement Fund is presumably a thing of the past. That’s probably cold comfort to legislators who are still being investigated. read more >
The Arkansas Capitol building in Little Rock.
Government & Politics / Legal

Indictment Thoughts, Probes Grip Arkansas Capitol (Andrew DeMillo Analysis)

The worst-kept secret at Arkansas' Capitol over the past several months is the waiting game lawmakers, lobbyists and others play as they eye federal probes into local project money that have already targeted two former legislators. read more >
Government & Politics / Legal

Arkansas Court Takes New Look at Local Projects (Andrew DeMillo Analysis)

The state Supreme Court on Thursday will hear oral arguments in a case challenging $2.9 million in state surplus money that went toward the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District in 2015. read more >
Jim Parsons, a former Ecclesia instructor and board member, sought to open Ecclesia financial records to full public inspection since the private school accepted state money.
Banking & Finance / Construction / Education / Government & Politics / Legal / Nonprofits / Real Estate / Transportation

Ecclesia College Woes Multiply Under Federal InvestigationLock Icon

Ecclesia, the private Christian college in Springdale, is facing yet another federal investigation, this one by the U.S. Department of Education. read more >
Education / Government & Politics / Health Care / Legal / Nonprofits

World-Class Rationalization (Gwen Moritz Editor’s Note)

One afternoon provided two exercises in compartmentalization: Richard Johns' plea agreement and the indictment of former state Sen. Jon Woods and Oren Paris III. read more >
Jon Woods
Government & Politics / Legal

Updated: Former State Sen. Jon Woods, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III Indicted

Randell Shelton Jr., a mutual friend of Woods and Paris is also charged in the 13-count indictment that represents the second phase of a corruption scandal that came to light with a guilty plea in January by former state Rep. Micah Neal. read more >
Former Rep. Micah Neal, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III and former Sen. Jon Woods
Education / Government & Politics / Legal / Nonprofits

More Indictments Expected in Ecclesia Kickback Case

Federal prosecutors may soon take more action in the kickback case involving former Rep. Micah Neal, who pleaded guilty to a federal felony in January. read more >
The Arkansas Capitol building in Little Rock.
Government & Politics

Indictment May Hasten Demise of Arkansas Pork (Andrew DeMillo Analysis)

A former Arkansas lawmaker's admission to arranging kickbacks from government money earmarked for economic development may help hasten the demise of the fund, once considered a hallmark of legislative politics in the state. read more >
Government & Politics / Legal / Media & Marketing / Restaurants & Food

Righting an FOI Wrong (Editorial)

The recent downfall of former state Rep. Micah Neal provides us a good opportunity to make an appeal to his former colleagues in the Legislature to undo some of the damage he did. read more >
Government & Politics / Legal

Taking Temptation Off the Table (Editorial)

A smart lawmaker avoids temptation. Smart government avoids putting temptation in his way. read more >