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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

MORE VIOLENCE AT ERNIE BIGGS - WILL THE ABC TAKE ACTION?

A mere four months after the ABC Board gave the problematic Little Rock bar Ernie Biggs a break for multiple violations and incidents of violence, there was yet another altercation occurred as the bar was closing around 2:00 a.m. early this morning.

Two customers were leaving the bar as it was shutting down and an armed man confronted them near the entrance of the bar at 307 President Clinton Blvd.

Police responded to a report that a man with a gun had approached two people in front of Ernie Biggs around 2:00 a.m.

Little Rock police officers on bicycles assigned to the River Market attempted to catch up with the man. He was confronted in the alley behind the troubled bar and gunfire ensued.


 
LRPD BIKE PATROL UNDERGOING RIGOROUS TRAINING


Assistant Police Chief Alice Fulk confirmed at least two officers fired their weapons.

LRPD ASSISTANT CHIEF ALICE FULKS

Officers assigned to work detail in the River Market were informed of a confrontation between a man and two citizens on President Clinton Avenue in front of Ernie Biggs according to Fulk. 

An officer approached the suspect who ran down President Clinton Blvd., took a left onto Cumberland Street and then continued into the alley behind President Clinton Avenue.

The suspect, only described initially as a male, was transported to UAMS and was reported to be in surgery - his condition unknown to authorities at the time.

We have posted a couple of stories about the bar and its problems:

http://badaralcoholcontol.blogspot.com/2016/07/abc-board-afraid-to-take-action-against.html

http://badaralcoholcontol.blogspot.com/2016/11/abc-board-gives-ernie-biggs-break_18.html

Readers will recall that ABC Administration Director, Bud Roberts, wanted to send the troubled bar a message last year and put them on probation for six months suspend their permit to serve alcoholic beverages for two weeks.

But the ABC Board took pity on Ernie Biggs and only suspended their permit for two days. 

Back then, veteran ABC Board member Mickey Powell made a profound statement to Ernie Biggs owners and managers, "There are plenty of places in the state of Arkansas you can get your teeth knocked out," Powell said. "We don't need more of them."

ABC BOARD MEMBER MICKEY POWELL PUT ERNIE BIGGS ON NOTICE AT A NOVEMBER 2016 MEETING WHEN CONSIDERING ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN FOR MULTIPLE VIOLATIONS

What will happen to their permit as a result of this latest incident?  Only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

HOT SPRINGS PROMOTER STIFFS SPA CITY BLUES SOCIETY OF PROMISED FUNDS FROM 2016 CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL

ROB PRATT - HE TOLD THE SPA CITY BLUES SOCIETY BOARD TO "FUCK OFF" WHEN THEY INQUIRED ABOUT CHARITABLE PROCEEDS DUE THEM FROM THE HOT SPRINGS CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL IN 2016

Back in 2014, the Spa City Blues Society organized the Hot Springs Craft Beer Festival.  

The Spa City Blues Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which sponsors a variety of cultural activities in Hot Springs.

Since 1997, they have been dedicated to preserving the blues music genre while supporting and holding various community events throughout Garland County and surrounding areas. One of their pet projects is the Blues in the Schools program.

The festival was a huge fundraiser for the society that year and the next.  Pratt helped the society organize the festivals and the permits to sell alcoholic beverages were issued in his name for the Spa City Blues Society.


IN 2015 100% OF GROSS PROCEEDS WENT TO THE BLUES SOCIETY



Pratt once worked for a local radio station and had some experience in promoting events.


But in 2016, something sinister happened.  Pratt, claimed ownership of the festival from the Blues Society, made some small but significant changes. Instead of having the Craft Beer Festival sponsored by the Spa City Blues Society, Pratt used a fictitious entity to be the sponsor - Arkansas Event Management.

IN 2016 THE BLUES SOCIETY WAS TO ONLY RECEIVE 70% OF THE GROSS PROCEEDS

 
NOTICE THAT THE PERMIT DOES NOT LIST THE CORRECT SPONSORING ENTITY

DFA HAS REFUSED TO PROVIDE SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS PROVIDED TO THEM BY PRATT USED TO OBTAIN THIS PERMIT - PERHAPS BECAUSE HE HAS NONE


We say that Pratt's Arkansas Event Management entity is fictitious because he never filed the required documents with the Arkansas Secretary of State ( and with the City of Hot Springs) and the address he used is the location of his alleged employer at the time Kirby & Co.

PRATT LISTED THAT HE WAS WORKING FOR KIRBY & CO. ON HIS 2016 ABC PERMIT APPLICATION



KIRBY & CO. 306 OUACHITA, HOT SPRINGS - THE ADDRESS USED BY PRATT FOR HIS FAKE BUSINESS, ARKANSAS EVENT MANAGEMENT

Kirby & Co folded and it has changed names and the individual that is heading it up, Neal Moore,  is known to the publisher of this blog and the best thing that the publisher can say about Moore is that he is a genuine asshole.


We are not surprised that a scammer like Pratt is associated with the likes of Moore.  Birds of a feather....





Apparently the previous owner of Kirby & Co. was the same species of bird as Pratt in that he appears to be a little shifty as well.  His failure to pay fees resulted in the revocation of his ability to operate.  That little fact was omitted in the Arkansas Business story.



NOTICE THAT THE STATUS IS REVOKED, NOT DISSOLVED

 


KIRBY WILLIAMS

 Pratt lists another fictitious business entity on his Facebook page...



 and on his Linkedin page...



Pratt also uses the 306 Ouachita address on his Hot Springs Craft Beer Festival website.





Pratt has had a contentious association with the Spa City Blues Society and things came to a head last year when he became enraged that Mary Melton, the president of the Society at the time, didn't give him the attaboy's he felt he deserved.  Perhaps he also felt he deserved all the proceeds from the festival he snatched (remember the Blues Society was the originator of the festival and now he operates it) from the Blues Society as a result of their lack of adoration.

MARY MELTON - FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE SPA CITY BLUES SOCIETY

This is a letter that was sent to the ABC last year from the Spa City Blues Society Treasurer, Sandra Harris,  in which she details Pratt's failure to make good on his promise to give 70% of funds collected that the Craft Beer Festival to the Blues Society and took control of the festival they started.







SANDRA HARRIS -SPA CITY BLUES SOCIETY TREASURER

We spoke with current the current president of the Spa City Blues Society, David Hughes, and he confirmed that Pratt never gave the society any funds from the 2016 Craft Beer Festival.

DAVID HUGHES - SPA CITY BLUES SOCIETY PRESIDENT  



We contacted ABC Administrative Director Bud Roberts and he stated that he was unaware that Pratt had not provided the funds to the Blues Society, as Pratt indicated he would on his permit application, and that he only learned about it when we requested a copy of the file and he had reviewed the information before its release.

Roberts stated that it was concerning that the beneficiary of the festival had not received funds from Pratt.

An even more alarming fact concerns ABC Enforcement.

We were contacted by an individual that spoke with and gave documents to ABC Enforcement Agent Dennis Ball in November 2016.




There is no record that Ball documented the meeting or passed on the documents to his superiors in the ABC file.

Ball quit the ABC at the end of February 2017 after only being there six months, perhaps due to the lack of leadership of tainted ABC Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet.  

Pratt's 2016 application was worked by ABC Enforcement Agent Trent Vollmer from Monticello (Ball was hired by the ABC in June 2015 to handle the area that included Hot Springs) . There is nothing in the file the ABC provided to us in response to our FOI request that indicates that Vollmer checked Pratt out at all.

The ABC has an obligation to thoroughly investigate and review applicants and the information on their applications for a permit.

They also have a duty and responsibility to thoroughly investigate complaints and if their investigation reveals violation and offenses outside the scope of their agency, to make referrals to the appropriate agency that would deal with that matter.  

No doubt Pratt will be seeking a permit for the 2017 Hot Springs Craft Beer Festival as he is already selling tickets on the festival website.

And how much was the Spa City Blues Society due from Pratt from the festival proceeds?  According to a credible source around $45,000.   

Let's hope the ABC considers that when Pratt makes an application this year.
 
PERHAPS PRATT COVETED MORE THAN PROMISED FUNDS


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UPDATE - 3/20/17

Since the posting of this story we have been provided information that the Department of Finance & Administration has an investigation underway into Pratt's fictions business entity and an investigator went to his residence on March 3rd to try and speak with him. The investigator was not able to locate Pratt.

We have also been advised that Pratt has been booted out of the office at 306 Ouachita.

From an article that appeared in Inviting Arkansas last May, we get a better understanding of the amount of money the Craft Beer Festival hauls in.

Using numbers of attendees provided for the 2015 festival, 1,200,  and if you estimate that all of them purchased a $35 ticket (based on the $70 for two figure listed in the article) the estimated 2015 gross proceeds would be $42,000.

Pratt also holds a 5K race in which you run own Central Avenue drinking beer. 
The entry fee for that event is $45.  According to information on site where you register for the race, your race admission gets you in the beer festival as well. 

Unless Pratt pawns these events off to another party, we suspect the beer festival will not take place this year due to his shenanigans.

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UPDATE - 3/29/17

Feeling pressure from the publication about his scamming the ABC and the Spa City Blues Society, Pratt sent out this email:



The only misrepresentation in this matter comes from Pratt.  He lied to the ABC when he stated 70% of the proceeds from the beer festival would be given to the blues society.  He lied about having legitimate business entities (not registered with the Secretary of State or the City of Hot Springs).

As we mentioned in our original post, we spoke with David Hughes, the currently president of the blues society.  In our lengthy conversation with him, not once did he mention that he and Pratt had made any arrangement/agreement for Pratt to pay promised funds to the blues society that he kept for himself. In fact Hughes stated that it was unlikely that they would ever receive funds from the 2106 beer festival.  

Pratt is a scammer and is lucky that he has not yet been charged with a criminal offense. 

******
UPDATE 04/03/2017

The City of Hot Spring has advised us that Pratt has not secured the advertised location for the beer festival.

Pratt is advertising and selling tickets that the festival will be held at the Hot Springs Artisian & Farmers Market, but he has yet been given permission by the city to hold the festival at that or any other city owned location in Hot Springs. 

The city also expressed concern about how Pratt handled his failure to make good on his promise to give funds to the blues society and that his business, Arkansas Event Management, is not registered to do business in the state nor with the city of Hot Springs (not paying fees or taxes).
 
Pratt has indicated that Habitat for Humanity will benefit from the festival (if it actually takes place).  Maybe Habitat should check with the Spa City Blues Society.









 ******
UPDATE - 04/04/2017 

According to the Executive Director of the Garland County Habitat for Humanity, Cindy Wagstaff, she was approached by Pratt to have her organization associated with the festival and in turn receive a portion of the proceeds from the 2017 HS Craft Beer Festival, but with the understanding that Habitat would not be the one getting a permit for a liquor license (her words) as they are a faith based organization.

CINDY BAKER-HOFER WAGSTAFF, HEAD HONCHO OF GARLAND CO. HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Wagstaff further stated that she learned that there was  some discrepancy as to who actually had ownership of the HS Craft Beer Festival.  She stated that both Pratt and the Spa City Blues Society were highly thought of by her organization and she is not willing to place her organization in the middle of the altercation between the two of them.  It says a lot about Habitat in that they think highly of a scammer that took funds promised and due another non profit agency.

So a week or so ago, Wagstaff removed Habitat from being associated as a beneficiary of the festival proceeds and with that event.

Is the financial situation so bad at the Garland County Habitat for Humanity that they would get involved with beer festival to acquire funds? Most faith based organization view alcoholic beverages as a vice and a major cause of many of societal problems.

 

In the meantime, Pratt continues to sell tickets to an event that has no viable beneficiary which can be used to secure a permit from the ABC as well as secure a location in Hot Springs to hold the ill-fated festival.

Coming up shortly, comments from Breweries that Pratt has listed as being associated with the festival. 

******
UPDATE 04/05/2017

The person named Tracy in Pratt's confessional email is a Tracy Barrett



Apparently Pratt and Barrett were in some sort of relationship that has ended.


Did their relationship end because of Pratt absconding with funds designated for the blues society?

Sources tell us that Pratt did some extravagant traveling after the 2016 beer festival, perhaps that is what happened to the blues society funds. Did Barrett accompany him on these trips? Maybe that is why Pratt makes the comment about her not being involved in his misappropriation of funds.

Barrett's Linkedin profile lists that she was associated with Pratt's sham business.



Pratt has failed to follow the required Arkansas laws regarding operating a business in the state.

Prat has not registered Arkansas Event Management with the Arkansas Secretary of State as a business entity nor with the County Clerk's office in Garland County.
 
A sole proprietorship or general partnership that intends to use a name other than the owner’s personal name must file for a fictitious name through a process that is called Doing Business As. You can file a Doing Business Under an Assumed Name Certificate at any local county clerk office.
In addition to registering with the county clerk, domestic corporations must also register fictitious names with the Arkansas Secretary of State.

Pratt has not registered  Arkansas Event Management with the City of Hot Springs and has not paid the required fees to operate such.

The only agency in Arkansas that Pratt has filed any type of documents using Arkansas Event Management is the Department of Fiance & Administration.  

He used that fake business entity with the ABC for a beer festival permit last year and for a sales tax waiver.  According to sources in the income tax section, Pratt has used Arkansas Event Management in tax filings and documents.

******
UPDATE - 04/09/2017  


According to an email forwarded to us, it appears that the Spa City Blues Society has reclaimed the Hot Springs Craft Beer Festival from Rob Pratt. Or rather Pratt had to get them to bail him out of an impossible situation to try an salvage what is left of his reputation.

The City of Hot Springs denied Pratt's application for use of the Farmers Market, no doubt as a result of our exposing that Pratt failed to apply for a permit to operate his sketchy event management company, Arkansas Event Management,  in the city and also failed to register it with the State of Arkansas. Add the fact that he lost the only non-profit organization that was willing to gamble with the chance that he would actually turn over a dime promised to them for his using them to get a beer festival permit from the ABC. 

It is unclear if Pratt remains involved with the festival but we suspect he is still involved behind the scene.

We checked with several of the breweries that Pratt has listed as being involved and none confirmed that they actually were participating and the festival was not on their calendars for May events on their websites.

Maybe Pratt was going to purchase kegs of their beer and say that the breweries were involved when they were not. We wouldn't put that past him.

     








Thursday, March 16, 2017

THIRSTY THURSDAY TIDBITS - CONWAY BUSINESS GETS PERMIT REVOCATION OVERTURNED & SHENNIGANS IN THE SPA CITY

The Draft in Conway was successful at yesterday's board meeting in pleading their case to the ABC Board and convinced them to overturn the January 11th decision of ABC Administration Director Bud Roberts to revoke their permit to sell alcoholic beverages.

Readers will recall that Conway Police and ABC Enforcement agents illegally used underage individuals to purchase alcoholic beverages on multiple occasions while failing to go after underage individuals that used false and borrowed driver's licenses to gain entry to several Conway Bars.

CLICK TO READ OUR EARLIER POST ABOUT THE PERMIT REVOCATION

We understand that the format of the establishment is changing (most of the interior of the site has been gutted) and it will be a Cajun bar and restaurant. 

************ 

We have a story that will be published over the weekend about some shameful shenanigans that took place with a well-known festival in Hot Springs and how the ABC was involved (actually lack of involvement is a better word).

ABC Enforcement agents have a duty and responsibility to refer instances of offenses outside their jurisdiction to the appropriate law enforcement agency. In the matters of The Draft and the yet-to-be-named Spa City Festival they failed to take the appropriate action.

But when you have an individual like tainted ABC Enforcement Direct Boyce Hamlet at the helm, you can't expect much.