Friday, April 25, 2008

A Weekly Dining Feature?


John Brummet, a political columnist held in varying degrees of regard across the local political spectrum, had a piece yesterday about Steve Clark and his desire to be Mayor of Fayetteville. He gives Clark credit for overcoming alcoholism and getting his personal life back together. Yet, he speculates, "Clark may still be afflicted, in the way of so many unrecovered politicians, with acute neediness for the public validation and ego-exalting of public office."

As a trailer, Brummet made note that Mr. Clark appeared to be excusing himself and his past by saying that, of all the charges on his state credit card within the statute of limitations, that the investigation by the State Police and Prosecuting Attorney (now Judge)
Chris Piazza focused on only 43 fraudulent transactions. "I'm hoping and trusting," Brummet worried, "that's not rationalization or mitigation. Forty-three frauds is about 43 too many."

How about 56 frauds, spending your tax dollars for personal pleasure and political purposes then lying about it? That's how many I count. Here are only two examples, with the location; the total expenditure; the amount spent on food, non-alcoholic beverages and taxes (collectively noted as food);the amount spent on other charges including alcohol and tips; the guests Clark listed as accompanying him; and the phantom guests' accounts to state police investigators:

1. Alouette's Restaurant, Little Rock, November 25, 1986: Total $368.53, including $126.53 food, $242 alcohol and tips. Guests: Hugh and Carrick Patterson, Vic Freeman and Graham Catlett. The Pattersons said they were at the restaurant and saw Clark, but he neither dined with them nor paid their tab.

2. Alouette's Restaurant, Little Rock, November 29, 1986: Total $422.50, including $144.50 food, $278 alcohol and tips. Guests: Dr. Ruth Steele, Tom Smith, Dr. Linda Beane. Steele, Smith and Beane denied being there or ever eating with Clark.

That leaves 54 other instances. Since there are now 27 weeks until the election, unless we get bored with the project, The Iconoclast will review the rest of the fraudulent expenditures in a regular weekly feature called "Tuesday’s Two Tabs for Taxpayers." Bon App├ętit!

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