LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The last 12 months have been busy for the Working 4 You investigators. After more than 800 calls to the team’s hotline, here’s a look back at what’s been uncovered in 2022.
The year started in Augusta after the team took a call from Timothy Maddox.
“I feel that my life is in jeopardy,” Maddox said in January.
Maddox relies on Medicaid-funded vans to bring him to dialysis but he said in January that he hasn’t went to a full of dialysis in three months.
After KARK got involved, the van started showing up. Maddox has reported a few problems since and it’s something we continue to monitor.
From vans not showing up to an RV that’s never left the lot.
Working 4 You introduced you to Drendia Travers in February after she sold everything in her home to travel the country.
“That’s why I don’t have any furniture,” Travers said.
She was using lawn furniture in her living room.
“I’m still here and it’s been six months,” she said.
Gander RV work orders showed problem after problem with the new RV. Travers wanted a refund but she said she got the run around.
“Every time I called to find out about the trailer, they either put me on hold, tell me the people in the service department were busy, could they call me back,” Travers recalled.
Within hours of Working 4 You getting involved, Travers got a refund — all $105,180.81.
“I’ve put my life on hold for the last six months,” Travers said.
At the Big Country Chateau apartment complex in Little Rock, Working 4 You was first to expose the threat to disconnect water and lights — then roaches. It led to a massive code enforcement operation.
“I got a new smoke detector and my landlord, he’s fixing everything,” said Thomasina Mathis, a tenant.
The City of Little Rock found more than 300 life-safety violations and 975 non-life safety violations. It caught the eye of the Arkansas Attorney General, who is suing the complex.
- Water to be shut off at Big Country Chateau: water company
- City administrators to conduct inspection at Big Country Chateau apartment complex
- City of Little Rock inspecting Big Country Chateau apartment complex, electricity & water to be cut off
- Big Country Chateau Apartment tenants pen letter to Little Rock mayor, city leaders
- City conducts inspection at Big Country Chateau following reports of poor management
- Big Country Chateau controversy continues; some call for more renter’s rights
From Big Country to front yards.
“I was in New Orleans until last mother f—— week. It ain’t none of your business what the f— I do,” Stephen Rast yelled at KARK.
But, it arguably is Working 4 You’s business when you’re Stephen Rast, an unlicensed contractor that state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wants to haul into court.
“Stephen Rast is the epitome of a con artist, someone who comes in, promises to do all this sort of work, asks you to give 50% down and then leave you with nothing,” Rutledge said.
The year has brought new questions in the decades-long kidnapping investigation involving Morgan Nick.
Working 4 You uncovered a report about DNA being found in a truck, connected to a person of interest, but no one can confirm where the DNA is today.
“I wish we could go back and look at all the evidence and take it now underneath the microscope that we have now in 2022,” said Kevin Johnson, a former police investigator.
From one police issue to another.
Little Rock Police never publicly disclosed a pursuit of an SUV full of kids minutes before it crashed and killed a 14-year-old boy
“There’s really something wrong with this. They messed up and they just don’t want to tell me,” said Cindy Ortiz, the teen’s mother.
The mayor ordered an internal review more than five months ago. KARK is told it’s ongoing, something Working 4 You will continue to press for answers on in 2023.
KARK spent a month analyzing data that uncovered some Arkansas district court judges may not even be appointing a public defender in their courtrooms.
Between 2017 and 2019, there are six Arkansas counties where a district court went an entire year with zero public defenders appointed. In other counties, like Pulaski, public defenders were given 56,370 cases in a three-year span.
Working 4 You has learned there are no real checks and balances in some courtrooms when it comes to a judge’s decision on appointing the public defender. Some district courts are not transcribing what is said because they’re not required to keep the same records as circuit courts.
The year brought discipline to Pope County District Court Judge Don Bourne.
The Arkansas Supreme Court suspended him without pay. The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission found how he spoke to people in court wasn’t up to state standards.
The discipline also followed Working 4 You’s investigation into Bourne’s failure to appoint the public defender in numerous cases.
Lawmakers called Working 4 You’s Mitch McCoy to the capitol so they could learn more about his investigation in the denial of public defenders.
If you have a story you want KARK to investigate in 2023, call the Working 4 You hotline at (501) 340-4448.