The Arkansas Supreme Court today ruled that a Hot Springs man cannot sue to force the Oxford American magazine to repay a $700,000 loan to the University of Central Arkansas.
James McCafferty filed an “illegal exaction” lawsuit against the magazine in 2014, alleging that UCA improperly used public funds to loan $700,000 to the magazine betwen 2004 and 2008. The money, according to documents provided by UCA, was “comprised of money from profits UCA has earned from housing, bookstore, food-services, and other auxiliary operation.”
The circuit court found that McCafferty did not have a illegal-exaction claim as a matter of law because the funds at issue were not public funds derived from taxes. The Supreme Court affirmed that finding today.
Under the Arkansas Constitution, an illegal exaction lawsuit can be filed: “Any citizen of any county, city, or town may institute suit in behalf of himself and all others interested, to protect the inhabitants thereof against the enforcement of any illegal exactions whatever.”
The magazine has reportedly repaid $276,000 of the loan.