Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

TOP STORY >>Prosecutor is given report

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

A Cabot police officer has completed his investigation into the alleged illegal activities of a city code enforcement officer and turned the file over to the city attorney and county prosecutor. Police Lt. Scott Steely said Monday that the file from his three-week investigation of Jack McNally is an extensive one.

City Attorney Clint McGue received his copy that morning, he said. And Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain would receive hers later in the day. Although police investigations often end with the police recommending which if any charges should be filed, Steely said he didn’t do that in this case.

“I’m leaving that to the prosecutor,” he said. McCastlain said last week that she was aware of the investigation and expected to receive the file soon. McGue said Monday evening that he had never intended to do anything with the case but had always planned to turn it over to the county when the investigation was completed.

Alderman Odis Waymack, who pushed for the investigation, says the police department deserves a lot of credit for its work considering that McNally is a personal friend of Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh and even worked as his campaign manager when he ran for mayor four years ago.

Stumbaugh reportedly told Police Chief Jackie Davis to handle the investigation as he would any other, Waymack said.
McNally has been accused of stealing from vacated houses. He also has been accused of paying contractors to mow untended yards more than necessary and of not following the city ordinance about trying to get the owners to do it themselves.
Exactly which accusations became part of Steely’s investigation is not known.

He said Monday that all he could say about the investigation is that it has been turned over to the people who will have to decide if charges should be filed. The first theft report was filed in July by Waymon Overton of Hot Springs, who owns a house at 12 Chad Court in Cabot.

Overton told police that McNally, under the guise of cleaning so he could mow, removed several items from his backyard including tools, lawn mowers, grills and a swing set. Some of the items were in his backyard shed, he said. The latest report came from Mary Smith, who now lives in Jacksonville but owns a house at 13 St. John Street in Cabot.

Smith told police that someone removed from her property a bass boat, Oldsmobile car, freezer, two tool boxes, two dryers, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, five-piece bedroom suite and mattress and spring set. Based on information she received from Jewell Pepper and one of his family members, Smith told police she believes McNally was involved with the theft. Pepper hauls junk and reportedly hauled off Smith’s boat and car.

Waymack received information more than a month ago about the boat and car being removed from 13 St. John Street and started hunting for documentation to determine whether McNally had moved it as he had heard and whether such an action was legal. He requested under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, all the documents the city had pertaining to McNally and discovered the first report of stolen property made by Overton.

Waymack also learned from the documents he received from the city that McNally had hired one yard mowed twice, with the first time being only one day after another code officer had hired it mowed. Additionally, he learned that McNally had hired 10 yards mowed without the proper documentation that owners had been notified their grass was too tall. Smith went to police after reading in The Leader about Waymack’s efforts to find out about the legality of removing the boat and car.