Commission: Trooper Probably Violated Law in Accepting Gifts
The Arkansas Ethics Commission has ruled that probable cause exists to show that Arkansas State Police Capt. Lance King violated state law in accepting gifts valued at more than $100 when he provided security at University of Arkansas football games for coach Bobby Petrino.
The commission will issue a public letter of caution to King, according to a June 15 settlement letter to King from Ethics Commission Director Graham Sloan.
King, who heads Troop L in Springdale, self-reported in April that he received numerous football tickets and a $225 Sugar Bowl ring while providing security for Petrino during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
On May 1 the commission launched an investigation into the receipt of the gifts and later voted 4-0, with chairman Paul Dumas absent, that probable cause exists to show King violated Arkansas Code 21-8-801 (a)(1).
In April, the Arkansas State Police released a review on King’s involvement in the chain of events following an April 1 motorcycle accident involving Petrino and passenger Jessica Dorrell, a member of the football staff.
After first telling 5NEWS he had been alone during the crash, Petrino later publicly conceded that Dorrell had been on the motorcycle at the time of the accident and that he had been involved with her in an improper relationship.
King took Petrino to Physicians’ Specialty Hospital in Fayetteville after the crash on Highway 16 near the the Crosses community in Madison County. Petrino was injured, but Dorrell was not.
Athletic Director Jeff Long later fired Petrino for being untruthful about his relationship with Dorrell, who subsequently left her job at the university after reaching a financial settlement with the athletic department.
The state police report says King did not violate any policy or laws in his handling of Petrino motorcycle accident.
Below is the June 15 letter to King from Ethics Commission Director Graham Sloan:
Jeffrey Lance King, Captain
Arkansas State Police – Troop L
900 South 48th Street
Springdale, Arkansas 72762
Re: Case No. 2012-CO-009
Dear Captain King:
On May 7, 2012, the Ethics Commission mailed you a certified letter containing a copy of the citizen complaint which you filed against yourself in the above-referenced case. In that letter, you were notified that an investigation was being commenced regarding the issue of whether or not you violated Ark. Code Ann. $ 21-8-801(a)(1) in your capacity as a public servant by receiving certain items valued in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) from the University of Arkansas football program. The following items were listed in the complaint:
- Four (4) tickets to each Arkansas Razorback Football game in Fayetteville, Arkansas: $225.00 face value
- Four (4) tickets to each Arkansas Razorback Football game in Little Rock, Arkansas: $125.00 face value
- Four (4) Sugar Bowl tickets (01/04/11) at $140.00 per ticket
- One (1) Sugar Bowl Ring at $225.00
- Four (4) Cotton Bowl tickets (01/05/12) at $125.00 per ticket
Please be advised that the results of staff’s investigation were presented to the Commission for a determination concerning probable cause at the Commission meeting held on today’s date. After considering both the results of the investigation and the applicable law, the Commission decided, by a vote of 4-0, with Chairman Dumas not present, that probable cause existed for finding that you violated Ark. Code Ann $ 21-8-801(a)(1) by receiving gifts from the University of Arkansas football program which were intended to reward you for performing the duties and responsibilities of your position as an employee of the Arkansas State Police during the 2010 and 2011 football seasons.
Evidence gathered during the course of the investigation reflected that you were assigned to provide security services to the football team as part of your job with the Arkansas State Police and that you received various items from the football program which were intended as tokens of appreciation for your services during the 2010 and 2011 football seasons. There was also evidence that the values of those items exceeded $100. Based upon the foregoing, the Commission concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause of a violation of Ark. Ann. $ 21-8-801(a)(1).
In accordance with Section VI (15) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Commission is hereby issuing you this written Offer of Settlement. The proposed sanction is the issuance of a Public Letter of Caution. Said letter would contain a notation that you self reported the violation.
By signing this Offer of Settlement, you will be agreeing to a finding by the Commission that you violated Ark. Ann. $ 21-8-801(a)(1) in your capacity as a public servant by receiving gifts from the University of Arkansas football program for the 2010 and 2011 football seasons which were intended to reward you for doing your job as an employee of the Arkansas State Police.
Pursuant to Section VI (16) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, you have ten (ten) days from the date of this letter to accept this Offer of Settlement in writing. To do so, you will need to sign this letter in the space provided below and return it to the Commission either in person or by United States mail. A faxed copy of this Offer of Settlement will not suffice.
As expressly recognized in the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, the issuance of this Offer of Settlement does not mean that the Commission has found that you committed a violation but rather that probable cause has been found to exist. Please be advised that acceptance of this Offer of Settlement shall be the equivalent of a final adjudication in which the Commission made a finding of a violation and shall constitute final action for purposes of appeal under the Administrative Procedure Act. Moreover, pursuant to Ark. Ann. $ 25-19-105(h), an accepted Offer of Settlement is a public document.
You are not required to accept this Offer of Settlement. In lieu of accepting this Offer of Settlement, you have the right to request a public hearing before the Ethics Commission. The request must be in writing and received by the Commission no later than ten (10) days from the date of this letter. If sent by United States mail, the postmark of the request shall be used as the effective date.
If you neither accept this Offer of Settlement nor request a public hearing before the Commission, then this matter will proceed to a final adjudication hearing. In such event, you will be sent formal notice of the place, date and time of said hearing. If a public hearing or final adjudication hearing is conducted and a violation is found, the Commission will not be bound by the terms of this offer.
If you should have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me
Graham F. Sloan
Jeffrey Lance King