by Max Brantley
The other shoe finally dropped. John Harris, former director of the Arkansas Board of Architects, was indicted today on six federal mail fraud charges for seeking reimbursement for tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent travel expenses. We've mentioned these reimbursements in earlier items arising from a state audit. A news release from acting U.S. Attorney Jane Duke said Harris obtained in excess of $43,000 from February 2003 to July 2005.
The state audit identified nearly $10,000 in expense payments to another office employee, but the U.S. attorney's news release made no mention of that. Harris quit the job in March and repaid more than $100,000. His assistant also repaid challenged reimbursements she'd made. Harris' lawyer said at the time his client had done nothing wrong, but wanted to "put it behind him."