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Oren Paris III

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.
Education / Government & Politics / Legal / Nonprofits

Ecclesia Fallout Includes Taxpayer LawsuitLock Icon

Three years after its president resigned on his way to federal prison after participating in a state grant kickback scheme, Ecclesia College continues to deal with the repercussions. read more >
Banking & Finance / Government & Politics / Legal / Nonprofits / Real Estate

Ecclesia Moves to Convert Property to Cash, Shed DebtLock Icon

New leadership at Ecclesia College plans to sell Benton County acreage linked with a grant kickback scandal that ensnared the president of Ecclesia College, two state legislators and a lobbyist middleman. read more >
Government & Politics / Nonprofits / Restaurants & Food

Chocolate and Peanut Butter (Gwen Moritz Editor’s Note)

I have a couple of favorite topics: white-collar crime and personal finance. A story that combines the two is as irresistible as chocolate and peanut butter. read more >
Micah Neal
Government & Politics / Legal

Update: Judge Grants Ex-Lawmaker’s ‘Pipe Dream’ of Probation

Former state Rep. Micah Neal, who pleaded guilty last year to a corruption charge related to a kickbacks scheme involving Ecclesia College in Springdale, was sentenced Thursday to three years of probation. "I threw it all away, there are no excuses on my part," Neal told the court. read more >
Oren Paris III
Government & Politics / Legal

Updated: Oren Paris III Sentenced to 3 Years for Kickbacks

Oren Paris III, the former president of Ecclesia College in Springdale, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for his role in a corruption scandal involving kickbacks on state grants. read more >
Education / Government & Politics / Legal

Consultant Sentenced to 6 Years for Role in Kickback Scheme

A consultant who was convicted of funneling kickbacks to Arkansas lawmakers in exchange for keeping some of the money has been sentenced to six years in prison. read more >
Jon Woods
Legal

Update: Jon Woods Sentenced to 220 Months in Prison for Kickback Scheme

Jon Woods, the former state senator from Springdale, was sentenced Wednesday to 220 months in prison for what U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks called “bastardization” of the legislative process. read more >
Former Rep. Micah Neal, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III and former Sen. Jon Woods

Former State Sen. Jon Woods to Be Sentenced Wednesday

Jon Woods, the former state senator from Springdale, is scheduled for sentencing Wednesday in Fayetteville, and his co-defendant in a notorious public corruption case will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks on Thursday. read more >
Jon Woods
Government & Politics / Legal

Sentencing Set for Jon Woods, Others in Bribery Scheme

Sentencing dates have been set for two former Arkansas state lawmakers and two others accused in a bribery scheme. read more >
Jon Woods
Government & Politics / Legal

Jon Woods, Randell Shelton Found Guilty in Kickback Scheme

Former state Sen. Jon Woods and his co-defendant, Randell Shelton Jr., have been found guilty of a dozen or more counts each of fraud, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. read more >
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 / Health Care / Legal

Gavel-to-Gavel Obsession (Gwen Moritz Editor’s Note)

The public corruption being described in fascinating, horrifying detail in a federal courtroom in Fayetteville illustrates how public officials counted on public money and conspired to get it. read more >
Jon Woods
Government & Politics / Legal / Restaurants & Food

Financial Literacy for Legislators (Editorial)

Financial incompetence is not a crime, but desperate people do desperate things. read more >
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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >