Nevada County appears to be set to see two high profile cases, one civil and one criminal, over the course of 2018.

Nevada County appears to be set to see two high profile cases, one civil and one criminal, over the course of 2018.
The civil case is the ongoing lawsuit pitting Donnie and Nicky McGuire against the Nevada County Quorum Court.  In an update last week, an attorney’s letter to the McGuires states proposed hearing and trial dates have been set.
The criminal case involves the arrest on Connie Beard on charges stemming from a legislative audit of the Prescott Police Dept.  Beard faces charges of Theft of Property and Tampering w/physical evidence, Prosecuting Attorney Christi McQueen confirmed last week.

The genesis of the dispute between Donnie and Nicky McGuire and members of the Nevada County Quorum Court will be almost a year old by the time the McGuire’s lawsuit against the county is set to go to trial.
In a February 21 letter from the law office of Hot Springs Attorney Justin B. Hurst, it says “Please be advised the above referenced matters have been set for a Pretrial on Friday, May 11, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. and a Trial on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 9:00
am before Judge Tom Cooper in the Nevada County Circuit Court located at 215 E 2nd
St S # 102, Prescott, Arkansas.”
The lawsuit is labeled as Nevada County Circuit Court Case No. CV-2017-52-2.
Justice George Smith, one of those named in the suit, said Friday, however, that he expects the Quorum Court’s defense attorney, Ralph Ohm, also of Hot Springs, will seek a rescheduling of those dates as some principals in the case will be unavailable.
Smith, himself, said “I’ll be out of the continental US from May 23 till June 16 on a previously arranged oversees trip.”
Smith still believes that the lawsuit will eventually be dismissed.
The McGuire lawsuit stems from the May 9, 2017 meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court regarding the purchase of a 2012 grader.  The dispute primarily centers around members of the Nevada County Quorum Court, in particular Smith, and public statements about a 2012 grader the county purchased from M&M Wrecker, owned by Donnie and Nicky McGuire, who have a long history of doing business with Nevada County.
Smith, in questioning county expenditures at that May 9 meeting, expressed concerns about the $122,000 purchase of a used grader, and he questioned why the expensive equipment wasn’t placed out on competitive bid.
At that same meeting, Donny McGuire addressed the full Quorum Court, and he said that his company sold the grader to the county.  He also cited a number of business transactions and in-kind aid that his shop provided the county over the years, and he said, “We are in business to make a profit.”
In a later interview last July as the lawsuit was being filed on July 24, Smith said “I never mentioned M&M Service and Wrecker by name during the meeting; Donny McGuire got up and said his and his brother's business was the one to which I was referring.”
In the months that have transpired, Plaintiff Donny McGuire said “They may want it dismissed, but I am here to tell you that it is not going away. I will not stand by as county officials downgrade its citizens. Enough is enough.”
The McGuire’s lawsuit claims the Nevada Quorum Court defamed their company after it sold Nevada County the used road grader.
McGuire’s lawsuit says that “McGuire learned Nevada County was looking for a road grader and found one. McGuire purchased it from another party, contacted Nevada County to see if the county still needed or wanted it. He was informed the county was still in the market for a grader and the two parties reached an agreement with the county paying the agreed upon price. The county got bids for a grader and received two bids, with McGuire’s being the lowest.”
The lawsuit names as the defenders the entire slate of Nevada County Justices, including Dennis Pruitt, Willie Wilson, Ryan Harvey, Curtis Lee Johnson, Bob Cummings, Herbert Coleman, Kenneth Baily, George Smith and Brenda Stockton.
The lawsuit, however, did not name Nevada County Judge Mark Glass.

On February 14, Prescott resident Connie Beard was arrested and taken into custody at the Nevada County Jail.  As of 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, Beard was still listed in lockup, facing a $38,077.62 cash only bond.
Prosecuting Attorney Christi McQueen confirmed Friday that Beard faces charges of Theft of Property and Tampering w/physical evidence.
“Those are the charges our office has filed against her. These are felony offenses,” McQueen said.
Beard’s bond was set at $38,077.62, an amount equal to what the Arkansas Legislative Audit identified as “unaccounted for funds totaling $38,078 in the Bond and Fine Account, as shown in Exhibit I,” in a September 2017 audit report of the Prescott Police Department.
Beard had served as an Administrative Assistant during the Audit’s review period; she was hired in February 2014 and resigned in December 2016, serving under then-Prescott Police Chief Brian Russell.
Last January, a new administrative assistant, is said to have discovered “decrepancies” in a letter from new Police Chief Joseph Beavers, who took over when Russell retired in March 2017.
In an update Friday, McQueen said that she is not anticipating the appointment of a “Special Prosecutor” and that the case will be managed from her office.
As the Picayune was preparing for press for the Wednesday, Feb. 28 edition, Beard was scheduled to make a court appearance, presumedly to enter a plea.