Heifner pleads no contest to violating FOI

The executive director of the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission pleaded no contest Wednesday to violating the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Marilyn Heifner entered the plea Wednesday afternoon through her attorney, Rick Osborne of Fayetteville, during a brief phone conversation with Fayetteville City Attorney Casey Jones.

No court hearing was necessary for the case because violating the act is a misdemeanor, Jones said.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Heifner will receive a 30-day suspended jail sentence. She will also pay a $100 fine and $120 in court costs. After one year without any further violations, her record will be expunged.

District Judge Rudy Moore Jr. will likely approve the plea agreement by the end of the week, Jones said.

Neither Osborne nor Heifner returned phone messages Wednesday afternoon.

The Northwest Arkansas Times filed a complaint against Heifner on Feb. 9, alleging she violated the law when she failed to immediately give reporter Joel Walsh a document about leasing the old post office building when he requested it verbally

Heifner only released the document after Walsh emailed her a Freedom of Information Act Request. In interviews last month, Heifner said she didn’t want to reveal real estate negotiations to the public and she did not believe the verbal request was sufficient enough to release the document.