Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TOP STORY > >Council member avoids fine, cleans up business

By JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writer

Cabot Alderman Becky Lemaster has cleaned up her auto body shop at 2016 S. Second St. and will not have to pay the $400 fine attached to the citation for keeping a premise that was unsightly and unsanitary.

Larry Jegley, the Pulaski County prosecutor who was assigned to the case after Cabot City Attorney Jim Taylor recused, said Tuesday that the case was not heard this week as scheduled in Cabot District Court because code officer Richard Burt told him by fax that all the violations had been corrected.

“I’m going to draft an order for the judge to sign absolving her of any fines,” Jegley said.

Jegley called the resolution of the case a good one for the city, the Lemasters and their neighbors who complained about the unsightliness of the business.

Since Cabot District Judge Joe O’Bryan also recused, the case was heard by Jim Hamilton, a Pulaski County district judge.

Lemaster, who is running against two opponents for a second term on the Cabot City Council, has said publicity about the citation was politically motivated.

On Sept. 29, Jegley toured the business along with Becky and Roger Lemaster, their attorney, Paul Schmidt Jr., Burt and the judge, Lemaster was given until last Monday to correct the code violations that Burt pointed out.

Lemaster said that earlier the code citation was retaliation for questioning how Mayor Eddie Joe Williams runs the city and that Burt conducted himself unprofessionally and did not give proper notification before issuing the citation.

The mayor unequivocally de-nies Lemaster’s charges.

Any action against Lemaster was driven by complaints, he said.

Jegley praised Burt for the work on the Lemaster case.

“Mr. Burt was very professional and did a good job,” Jegley said. “I think the city can be proud because they’ve got a good one.”

Jegley said Burt will continue to watch the business to ensure it is maintained according to city code, but for all practical purposes, the case is closed.