by Max Brantley
Pulaski Prosecutor Larry Jegley has issued his findings in the case following a sheriff's office investigation and it's a shocker, with damaging implications for members of two different school boards in Pulaski County. (Read the full document here.)
Jegley said evidence didn't support the premise that a bribe was solicited, offered or accepted. "It appears that Nellums and Clark's sole purpose for this elaborate scheme was to present the other board members with the video and letter." Williams apparently thought someone was offering her financial help to get to a family member's funeral.
Jegley said it was clear, whatever their motives, that "it was an appearance of impropriety on the part of Ms. Williams that Nellums and Clark were attempting to capture rather than an actual crime." The videomaker, a private eye named Craig Tissue, came forward and said he made the video for $250 on instructions of someone named Mike. He dealt with Bennett.
Jegley concluded there was no criminal action by anyone. He added, "...we will not speculate as to the motives of Nellums and Clark; however, regardless of their motives, to resort to such juvenile cloak and dagger means to discredit Ms. Williams would verge on the ridiculous if it weren't for the sad fact that both of these men hold important positions in the education of the children of this community."
Jegley said the "entire affair is sad and has been a terrible distraction of law enforcement resources and of a beleaguered school district which has been struggling to improve."
I've sent Nellums a note seeking a comment, as well as Board member Williams. No responses so far.
Hard to imagine this type of activity isn't ground for the Pulaski Board to consider the value of Nellums' continued employment in the School District. It's a piece of information every Little Rock district voter should consider should Nellums stand for election again. The same for Clark. Honor might call for Nellums' and Clark's school board resignations, absent plausible rebuttals of Jegley's findings. Honor isn't much in evidence in all this, however.