UPDATE: On Wednesday, prosecutor Larry Jegley told KARK 4 News he “misspoke” in his statement that he was opening an investigation into Little Rock City Hall and instead said he was looking into the situation at city hall to determine if an outside agency needs to investigate.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Pulaski County prosecutor said he has opened an investigation into Little Rock City Hall over its handling of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.
Sixth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley confirmed the investigation Tuesday night and hours after sending a letter to Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter expressing serious concerns regarding the city’s handling of public record requests.
On Monday, Little Rock Ward 4 City Director Capi Peck accused Mayor Frank Scott Jr. of instructing Little Rock Planning and Development Director Jamie Collins not to release certain records related to redevelopment research for or near War Memorial Park, downtown and Southwest Little Rock.
According to records, the city hired a company for $49,140 to do the redevelopment research. The draft report was sent to the city earlier this year.
Records indicate the original request for the plans, which were still in draft form, was made on Oct. 24.
After days of attempting to get the records to her constituent, Peck said Collins told her he could not release it, something he later denied saying.
“He [Collins] then proceeded to tell me that you, Mr. Mayor, told him to not send the document,” Peck said.
The mayor denied making such an order.
The records were released to the constituent a day after the records were requested by the media.
When reached by phone Tuesday night for a comment about the prosecutor’s investigation, the city attorney noted there will soon be a clear response as to why there’s two different stories being shared.
In a series of tweets on Monday, the mayor said the accusations stem from the election and supporters of his opponent are lying about him.
“The latest incident involves a consultant running to the press to state I instructed city employees not to provide a document. That is outright false,” Scott tweeted.
The mayor’s opponent, Steve Landers, said Tuesday night that he knows the person who requested the documents but the individual is not being paid to work nor is he a consultant in the campaign.
“The issue is between the city board, the mayor and the need for transparency for the taxpayers of Little Rock,” Landers said. “As your mayor, I will be transparent with taxpayer dollars.”