Official in Cave Springs settles ethics complaint against her
CAVE SPRINGS — Cave Springs Recorder-Treasurer Kimberly Hutcheson will pay a $50 settlement to the state Ethics Commission for accepting a $500 legal expense fund donation she never used, according to commission documents.
Hutcheson set up a GoFundMe account for expected legal expenses, said Graham Sloan, commission director.
Later she refunded the money in that fund to donors. Even so, a single donation of $500 from one contributor crossed the allowed limit on such contributions an elected official in Arkansas can properly accept, he said.
It should have been returned quickly, but the refund by Hutcheson of it and the other donations didn’t met the deadline, he said.
Hutcheson referred all questions and comment to her attorney when reached at City Hall on Thursday. Attorney George Rozzell of Rogers didn’t return calls to his office Thursday afternoon.
Hutcheson is suing Mayor Travis Lee, the six-member City Council and two former council members, saying the mayor and other elected officials won’t let her do her job.
Lee and Hutcheson’s dispute peaked in September when Lee sent Hutcheson home and blocked her from accessing city computer data. Lee said he did so because Hutcheson had mistreated city workers.
The lawsuit claims Lee and the council members violated Hutcheson’s constitutional rights by punishing her and restricting her ability to do her job. The defendants have denied the allegations.
The letter to Hutcheson from the commission notifying her acceptance
of the settlement is dated July 21. It says the $50 is due no later than Aug. 4.
The commission letter also said Hutcheson should have included the gifts to the GoFundMe account should have been reported in her statement of financial interest to the state, and were not. The legal expense account received $1,500 in donations at its height, the letter said.
The complaint to the commission was filed by Jay T. Finch, the letter said.