Individual Arkansas legislators OK grants totaling $50M+ in 4 years; scrutiny of projects finds holes

Posted: December 24, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.
Updated: December 26, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

A West Memphis nonprofit bought this house with part of a $60,000 state General Improvement Fund grant intended to “house homeless veterans” in Crittenden County. Creative Strategies Community Development Corp. rents the house, though veterans don’t occupy it now.

From their assigned shares of state surplus General Improvement Fund money, individual Arkansas legislators approved more than 4,200 grants totaling more than $50 million over the past four years, according to records obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Other grants raise questions about how the project benefited the public.

Rep. Fred Smith

In this Feb. 5, 2015, file photo, Arkansas state Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, speaks about his bill that would prevent local governments from pas...

Rison Mayor Vernon Dollar

Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith

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