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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Paul Rawlings: MAGGIO’S SEVEN PAC

  • On March 4, 2014 Judge Maggio announced he was withdrawing as a candidate for the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
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  • Michael Maggio of Conway, Arkansas appeared to be living the American dream.  He was a rising star in the Arkansas Republican party, going from deputy prosecuting attorney, small claims judge, Municipal Judge to Circuit Judge. On January 1, 2001 Republican Governor Mike Huckabee appointed Maggio Circuit Judge of the Twentieth Circuit consisting of Faulkner, Searcy and Van Buren Counties where he has served continuously to this date. 
     
    In June 2013 Judge Maggio announced he was seeking a promotion and would be a candidate for the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 2014.
     
    On March 4, 2014 Judge Maggio announced he was withdrawing as a candidate for the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
     
    Events which derailed Judge Maggio’s ascent in the Republican galaxie of judicial politics:
     
    On March 3, 2014 Matt Campbell, a little Rock Attorney who writes a political blog entitled “Blue Hog Report” identified Judge Maggio as the person using the name “geauxjudge” on a website, “Tiger Droppings.com.   “Geauxjudge”  published information about a confidential adoption and made various comments that were considered sexist, racist, perverse and homophobic. 
     
    In addition to Matt Campbell’s Blue Hog Reports, Courtney Spradlin with the Conway Log Cabin Democrat, Max Brantley with the Arkansas Times, Debra Hale-Shelton and Lisa Hammersly with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette have investigated and published many articles about Judge Maggio official activities, his conduct and his associates.
     
    Complaints were filed against Judge Maggio which are being investigated by The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission and the Arkansas Ethics Commission  
     
    Events of 2013
     Judge Maggio presided over a trial brought by the estate of Martha Bull against the
     
    Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  A Faulkner County jury awarded the Bull estate $5.2 million for the wrongful death of Ms. Bull.
     
    Judge Maggio heard a motion filed by Greenbrier Nursing to reduce the amount of the jury verdict.
     
    Three days later Judge Maggio reduced the $5.2 million jury verdict against Greenbrier to $1 million.
     
     
    Michael Morton owner of Greenbrier Nursing paid thousands of dollars into Judge Maggio’s campaign fund through seven PACS filed for registration by attorney Charles Stewart.  Morton said Linda Flannigan asked him: “Would I support Judge Maggio in the appeals court race” during the Bull Trial in May or while the judgment was under review in July and he asked Flannigan to “just send me something” and received a one sheet fax which said it was the Maggio campaign and listed seven PAC’S.  Morton instructed his secretary to write checks to the seven PAC’S.
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    Stewart refuses to give the name of the person or persons who employed him to set up the seven PACS.
     
    The registration forms for the seven PAC’S contains a sworn notarized affidavit that: Stewart is the resident agent and a PAC officer for all PACS,  Delta Bank and Trust 11700 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, Ar is the official depository for all  PACS, and Linda Flannigan, Ancil Lea, Sarah Dye, Steve Goode, Cheryl Loetscher and Don Thomas were PAC officers.
    Morton made a first time contribution of $100,000 to the University of Central Arkansas
     
    People and their relationship
    Linda Flannigan employee of Gilbert Baker’s LRM Consulting Inc.
    Gilbert Baker former Republican State Senator, Former chairman of Faulkner County and State Republican party, Executive Assistant to the president of the University of Central Arkansas
    Charles Stewart formed LRM Consulting Inc for Baker.
    Baker, Stewart and Lea were officers in Arkansas Faith Freedom Coalation.
    Sarah Dye is an employee of Stewart.
    Don Thomas was Baker’s campaign manager in 2008 and the employer of Cheryl Loetscher.
    Morton said he talked with Baker frequently.
     
    March 2014
    Judge Maggio withdrew as a candidate for the Court of Appeals
    Thomas, Flannigan, Loetscher and Lea denied any knowledge of the PACS and denied  giving anyone permission to show them as PAC officers.
    UCA returned Morton’s $100,000 gift.
    Baker resigned  his $132,200 a year position of Executive Assistant to the president of UCA
    Stewart said he was officially closing the seven PACS
     
    Arkansas law prohibits judicial candidates from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions more than 180 days before the election date.
     
    Citizens of Arkansas are depending on the Arkansas Ethics Commission, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to follow the Greenbrier Morton money through the seven PACS, into Judge Maggio’s campaign fund for the Court of Appeals and if laws were broken to punish the offenders.
     
    (Paul Rawlings of Heber Springs contributes his “progressive” viewpoint each week to the The Sun-Times.  He writes a blog at www.pauls-musings.blogspot.com)
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