KAIT-TV reports that Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday has been arrested on suspicion of stealing public money.
Prosecutor Scott Ellington said he was preparing charges of theft of public funds and abuse of office and he said he would file a motion in circuit court today for Holliday’s removal from office. Holliday is accused of theft of more than $25,000. The events began unfolding late last week in a discussion by Ellington with the county judge and state auditors.
Holliday, a Republican, committed $500,000 last fall to endow scholarships for students in jazz at Arkansas State University. A spokesman responded to our question: “Along with university and ASU System administration, we are reviewing the future of this pledged gift agreement, and await the outcome of the legal process.”
He was elected to office at age 24 in 2012 and his quick rise in politics earned him a place on Arkansas Business’ “20 in their 20s” list. His Twitter biography lists a video production company and a real estate company among his activities.
From Ellington’s news release:
Ellington gave further details on the case, “On Thursday, June 25th, I received an urgent phone call to meet with Craighead County Judge Marvin Day and auditors with the Division of Legislative Audit. The auditors had obtained and examined bank records that raised suspicion of theft of county funds from an account Holliday maintained in his official capacity as county clerk. We then met with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division and requested they open the investigation which led to Holliday’s arrest. The investigation is ongoing and further details are limited.”
UPDATE: KAIT quotes a county official as putting the loss at $1 million since January.
County Judge Marvin Day stated in a Monday news release the investigation revealed that Holliday “personally received monies in excess of $1 million since January 2020.”
The amount may be closed to $1.3 million, apparently drawn from an account from which withheld payroll taxes are supposed to be sent to the proper agencies.
Holliday had opened a new restaurant/club near Arkansas State in February, which was forced to close early in the pandemic outbreak. He’d also recently opened a restaurant in Nashville, Tenn. Both ventures required capital investments.