KFSM reports on the sorry state
of Fort Smith’s unfinished River Valley Sports Complex, the project then-Sen. Jake Files used as a pretext to funnel state money into his own pockets.

The city is taking proposals to complete the project at Chaffee Crossing. In preparation, engineers evaluated work done so far. They recommended a teardown.

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In the report, experts said they found concrete storm drainage piping on the property that had been used in previous installations damaged, which likely happened due to removal and or transport.

The report also shows poor masonry work on some of the existing buildings at the site. It also mentions safety concerns due to some buildings improper construction.

Experts also recommended leveling the existing structures and starting over as a cost-effective measure.

Files’ construction company imploded with tons of debt. In addition to stealing state money, he relied on loans from a lobbyist and a still-unexplained transfer of $80,000 from a Fort Smith nursing home owner whose other financial investments include helping to bankroll the fight to make it just about impossible to sue nursing homes for negligence. Files was an early architect of the constitutional amendment to protect nursing homes that will be on the November ballot.

And you wonder why some people want shorter term limits. And why the corporate interests that control the legislature — nursing homes, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau — don’t want to throw these bums out.

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Files can follow progress of the sports complex from the federal prison in El Reno, Olkla., where he’s serving an 18-month stint.