Sunday, September 23, 2007

Talley Ho

“I’m done with Rogers. We’re not building jack-squat in Rogers,” said Chris Talley of Arkansas Sports and Entertainment Partners LLC, the outfit that had announced plans to build a 7,500-seat arena for franchises with the East Coast Hockey League, the NBA Development League, and the Women’s National Basketball Association.

Mr. Talley and Rogers Mayor Steve Womack have had some unkind things to say about each other and different views on what the problem is, and they are probably both right. The rift goes back more than a decade; according to an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Talley "also didn’t like the resurfacing of an incident from his past. In 1994, Talley was accused of robbing the E-Z Mart at the corner of 13 th and Olive streets in Rogers at gunpoint. He was charged with aggravated robbery, theft of property, aggravated assault and battery in the third degree in Benton County. After spending more than 200 days in the Benton County jail, the charges were dismissed and Talley went free."

Talley said Arkansas Sports and Entertainment Partners LLC is interested in negotiating for a different site in Northwest Arkansas to build the arena. He should talk with the Fayetteville Economic Development Council and the Fayetteville Chamber of Cowbirds about building the $40 million arena on that 100-acre site owned by the Fayetteville School District out west of I-540. It would be better than a Cracker Barrel, and it should not matter that one of Talley's companies, CJC Development, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Memphis. He sounds like a prime candidate for membership in the developers' Free Lunch Club.

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