To the extent you follow Little Rock municipal politics at all, you have likely heard about the recent kerfuffle between Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and City Director Capi Peck, which all stemmed from Scott’s interference in the city’s production of records to a third party who had requested them. That whole encounter speaks for itself; Director Peck and City Manager Bruce Moore confirmed that they’d been told that Scott said not to release the records in question, while Scott1 did his usual trifecta of (1) having his dishonest spokesperson parrot a misleading statement, (2) nailing himself to the metaphorical cross while pretending that he is infallible, and (3) lying.
This is always the way it goes with Scott, who seems to rely on there being a lack of evidence from which someone could decide which side is telling the truth.2 But…what if I told you that we don’t have to leave this as a he-said, she-and-he-said situation?
More to the point, what if I told you that we can look at the records and facts surrounding them, see exactly why Frank Scott Jr. wouldn’t have wanted the records released, and figure out what his incentive was to meddle in the production and then lie about it?
[Author’s note: I just paused writing for almost two minutes because I had the image of the everyone reading this as a bunch of baby birds, waiting to be fed, and I could not stop laughing. I have no idea why I’m telling you this, but whatever. I’ll be the mama bird.]
For convenience and clarity, we’ll do this chronologically as much as possible.
February 7, 2017. Frank Scott Jr., then a board member with the Little Rock Port Authority, pens a guest article for Talk Business in which Scott praises four black business leaders in Arkansas. One of these leaders is Gerald Alley, the founder of Con-Real, “one of the leading construction and real estate firms in the Southwest and Southeast.”
October 9, 2018. Sam Alley (no relation to Gerald) donates $500 to Frank Scott Jr.’s first mayoral campaign.
October 25, 2018. Gerald Alley donates $1,000 to Frank Scott Jr.’s first mayoral campaign.
February 8, 2020. Frank Scott posts on Facebook and Twitter about Gerald Alley’s induction into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. In those posts, Scott writes, “So proud to celebrate my dear friend and Big Brother, Gerald Alley, CEO of Con-Real, LP, last night as he was inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. As he would say, ‘always take care of your village, know your journey, and invest in your family’s legacy.'”
May 8, 2020. City Planning & Development Director Jamie Collins3 sends a draft of what would become RFQ 840 to Frank Scott Jr., Kendra Pruitt, and one other city employee in an email entitled “Development Consultant RFQ.” That same day, Assistant Purchasing Manager Derrick Rainey notes that the RFQ would have to be advertised in the newspaper to comply with procurement laws, and that he would “forward to the selection committee for review” once he’d heard from Mayor Scott.
June 24, 2020. Mayor Scott replies to Derrick Rainey’s May 8 email, saying simply, “Let’s proceed.”
July 1, 2020. Jamie Collins emails Mayor Scott, stating that Collins would like to create a selection committee for this specific RFQ, and that he would like the committee to be comprised of: himself, Charles Blake, Emily Cox, John Eckart, and Kendra Pruitt. Less than an hour later, Scott replies, approving the proposed committee.
July 9, 2020. RFQ 840 is issued, seeking submissions from qualified vendors for “three comprehensive development plans for…(1) the greater downtown business, government and entertainment area; (2) the I-630 corridor; (3) the historic portion of Southwest Little Rock.” This is the included map that defined those areas.
July 28, 2020. Gerald Alley forms GG 2016, LLC, in Texas.
July 29, 2020. Gerald Alley and Sam Alley form A Squared Global, LLC, in Texas. The owners of A Squared are Gerald’s day-old company, GG 2016, LLC, as well as another company, owned by a third company, owned by Sam Alley in a way that is difficult to explain here. Instead of trying to untangle that, you don’t have to take my word for it. Here is the introduction letter that A Squared, LLC included in a 2021 response to an RFQ in New Orleans.
July 30, 2020. RFQ 840 closes. Here is where things start to get weird. After the RFQ closes, Derrick Rainey4 with the City of Little Rock does a Skype/WebX meeting with Jamie Collins5 and two non-city employees, wherein Rainey reads the names of the companies that submitted responses to RFQ 840.
In that video, he lists: (1) Renaissance Roofing; (2) Irving Design Associates; (3) Tunnell-Spangler & Associates; (4) Design Workshop, Inc.; (5) Pfeffer Torode. More importantly, what he does not mention is A Squared Global, LLC.
Which, if you are like me, may have you wondering how a company could get a contract without ever responding to the RFQ. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
August 7, 2020. A Squared Global, LLC, registers with the Arkansas Secretary of State as a foreign corporation doing business in Arkansas.
December 1, 2020. Myron Jackson–president of The Design Group and husband of former Scott spokesperson Stephanie Jackson–gets three pieces of property for free from the City of Little Rock, including one (3911 W. 11th St.) that borders Area 2 in the RFQ 840 map above. Jackson received these properties only after he was bumped ahead of another would-be purchaser at the meeting specifically so that Jackson could get these.
March 17, 2021. For some reason, there is little information about anything related to RFQ 840 between July 30, 2020, and March 17, 2021. A request for additional information from the city is pending, but I don’t expect it to result in much. But, according to documents already provided, March 17, 2021 is when A Squared Global, LLC, signed a…contract?
I put the question mark because, while this looks like a contract and appears to have functioned like a contract, it does not seem that anyone with the city ever signed the document.
September 14, 2021. The Rebuild the Rock sales tax proposal fails at the polls. I mention that here only because it comes up later in this timeline as an excuse.
February 4, 2022. Candace Alley–wife of Gerald Alley–donates $1,000 to Frank Scott Jr.’s re-election campaign.
Mid-February 2022. A Squared Global, LLC, submits an application for a City of Little Rock business license. However, they never pay the application fee and never actually receive a business license.
February 18, 2022. Sam Alley’s son, Derek, donates $1,000 to Frank Scott Jr.’s re-election campaign.
February 22, 2022. A Squared Global, LLC, submits a proposal based on their work under the RFQ. This proposal is never shown to the board of directors.
February 28, 2022. A Squared Global, LLC, submits an invoice to the city for payment of $49,140.00. Which, if you understand numbers at all, you’ll recognize as juuuuuust below the $50,000.00 threshold that would have required Board approval.
March 18, 2022. Myron Jackson donates $2,900 to Frank Scott Jr.’s re-election campaign.
March 19, 2022. Stephanie Jackson donates $2,900 to Frank Scott Jr.’s re-election campaign.
March 31, 2022. Sam Alley donates $1,000.00 to Frank Scott Jr.’s re-election campaign.
April 29, 2022. City Director Lance Hines requests spreadsheets showing all City of Little Rock contracts between $5,001 and $49,999. The March 17, 2021 A Squared Global contract is not listed in the spreadsheets he receives.
May 5, 2022. According to Procurement Manager Vitesh Patel, the A Squared Global contract was entered into the city’s system on this date.
May 6, 2022. The City of Little Rock pays A Squared Global’s invoice.
June 24, 2022. A Squared Global, LLC, has its charter revoked by the State of Texas pursuant to the Texas Tax Code. That same day, GG 2016, LLC, also has its charter revoked by Texas for the same reasons.
August 5, 2022. Gerald Alley donates $2,000 to Frank Scott Jr.’s re-election campaign.
October 25, 2022. The City of Little Rock loses two AFOIA suits on the same day based on failure to provide the requested records. In my suit against them, the city goes so far as to admit that the requested records should have been provided, admit that they did not have an excuse for not providing them, and admit that I was entitled to them now.
October 26, 2022. Kent Myers requested information from Jamie Collins about RFQ 840 and the comprehensive development plans that were supposed to be created under that RFQ.
October 28, 2022. Jamie Collins tells City Director Capi Peck that he will not be providing the records to Myers because Mayor Scott did not want him to. He then states that he is taking a few days off and will deal with the request when he gets back.
October 30, 2022. Director Hines inquires as to why the A Squared contract was not included in the list of contracts that he received on or around May 1, 2022. He is told by Procurement Manager Vitesh Patel that “there was a delay in getting it entered into Contract Management” because of logistical reasons related to how the bid was submitted and what name was used. Patel also notes that the contract was entered on May 5, 2022. He does not mention that this was nearly 14 months after it was allegedly entered and over two months after the A Squared invoice was received, but only a day after Mayor Scott and Gerald Alley appeared together at the LRSD event.
November 1, 2022. At the regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting, Director Peck confronts Mayor Scott about calling her a liar re: Jamie Collins’ statements. During that meeting, it was alleged that the reason the February 2022 proposal had not been presented to the Board was because the Rebuild the Rock sales tax measure failed, which was what was to fund the development projects. Also during this meeting, City Manager Bruce Moore confirms that he was also told that the Mayor did not want the records released.
And that brings us to today. So, bringing this full circle and looking at everything we know above, let me ask you this: Between Frank Scott and Capi Peck, who stood to gain the most by preventing the release of records showing that a company created by two Frank Scott supporters without a city business license received $49,000+ of taxpayer funds following an RFQ they didn’t respond to, based on a contract the city never signed and did not enter into the system for over a year?
Obviously, the answer is Frank Scott.
Knowing that, why in the world would anyone believe Frank Scott when he says that he did not tell Jamie Collins not to release these records? After all, the man has literally prevented the release of multiple records, multiple times over the past four years, and he’s lied about his lack of transparency with impunity.
Frank Scott Jr. is, at his very core, a dishonest person. It should not be surprising that his dishonesty extends to lying about his own meddling in a FOIA response when the requested records call the competence and credibility of his entire administration into question.
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Spoiler: It is never Frank Scott Jr. who is telling the truth.↩
Yeah, the same guy who told Capi Peck that Frank Scott didn’t want him to release documents.↩
Who is currently a candidate for Mayor of Wrightsville. But are his financial disclosures done correctly? You know they aren’t.↩
Dude keeps popping up in this.↩