Rogers Mayor Speaks Out Against City Attorney Using Badge At Concert

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ROGERS (KFSM) – The Rogers city attorney will face no criminal charges after using his city badge to get a drink at a local concert, prosecutors said Friday. Hours after the decision was announced, the mayor spoke out against the city attorney and called his actions “egregious”.

Special prosecutor Marc McCune announced Friday no charges would be filed against city attorney Ben Lipscomb, after Lipscomb used a city badge to gain entry into a VIP tent at a Miranda Lambert concert over the summer. Lipscomb was retrieving a drink for his wife, McCune said.

Despite the findings, Mayor Greg Hines released a statement calling Lipscomb’s behavior “troubling”.

“Mr. Lipscomb’s actions were inappropriate and served up more than a cocktail. They served up public scrutiny, distrust and embarrassment to Rogers and area elected officials,” Hines said.

Hines also said there are more troubling parts to the case, aside from the potentially criminal aspects.

“The greater concern is an elected official thinking it’s OK to use his position to gain access to a restricted area for the sole purpose of obtaining a cocktail,” he said. “If getting a drink is so important, buy the VIP tickets.”

McCune, the Crawford County prosecutor, said the case came down to one person’s word against the city attorney, and there is not enough evidence to show criminal wrongdoing by Lipscomb. The prosecutor also said the woman supervising the VIP tent at the concert may have misunderstood the situation, and Lipscomb may not have been trying to impersonate a police officer at the time.

McCune began investigating Lipscomb last month following allegations the city attorney used his city badge to get into the VIP tent at the Miranda Lambert concert at the Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers on July 12, officials said.

The prosecutor said Lipscomb “was merely trying to gain access to the VIP tent to get a drink for his wife” and was not intending to harass anyone. Even if Lipscomb had claimed to be an undercover officer, he would have needed to act “with the purpose to injure, defraud, harass or intimidate another person” in order to have broken Arkansas law, McCune said.

Lipscomb’s city badge identifies him as a prosecuting attorney and city attorney, not as a police officer.

McCune was assigned as a special prosecutor to investigate the case in order to avoid any conflict of interest involving local prosecutors.

Click here to read the statement released by the special prosecutor.

Mayor Greg Hines’ statement appears below:

I did what I thought was appropriate and tuned it over to the Prosecuting Attorneys Office. I respect the Special Prosecutors decision.  In my judgement, the potential misdemeanor charge was hardly the most egregious part of this incident.  The greater concern is an elected official thinking it’s okay to use his position to gain access to a restricted area for the sole purpose of obtaining a cocktail.  If getting a drink is so important, buy the VIP tickets.  As a former law enforcement officer, its troubling to think your local city prosecutor would act in this manner.  Mr. Lipscomb’s actions were inappropriate and served up more than a cocktail, they served up public scrutiny, distrust, and embarrassment to Rogers and area elected officials.

18 comments

  • Hayden

    Ha. He got one over a security guard at a music concert, perhaps that guard (or those guards) should be the one in question here. Who among us hasn’t done something similar. Yes, I see the ethics issue here, however it was just a concert. Who from there was so offended that they took the time to complain.

    Who here will cast the first stone?

  • Ted

    What about the fact that he doesn’t even live in Rogers and doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements to be city attorney? Anyone going to look into that?

    • Hayden

      Interesting. Not being from that area, Ted, what is the story behind that?
      Also, are we through discussing football? I really wanted to hear your reply. Seriously.

      • Ted

        5News could spend 5 minutes looking up property tax records, voting registration details, and Rogers’ city ordinances or they could give us another clip of Auburn’s ball boy. I’m betting we’ll get something funny they found on YouTube or another story on Ms. Eyeliner because actual journalism is too hard.

      • Curt Lanning

        Ted, thanks to us being such an amazing team at 5NEWS, you won’t JUST get stories based on property tax records, voting registration details, and Rogers ordinances; you’ll also get funny things we found on YouTube and stories about suspected eyeliner thieves as well.

        Thanks for reading our stories and watching our videos. We always give our all to provide good content to our viewers.

  • Ted

    Curt, the only thing amazing about 5News is the extremely high employee turnover. The average age of your reporters is about 23 with 6 months experience. I wouldn’t get too comfortable tipping that fedora.

    • George Dubya Bush

      Heckofa job, Curtie! I like to see people standin up fer what they believe in and I believe you believe in your employer and thats the kinda true blue people I had workin for me when I was the decider. We need more people in the media that recognize the need to report funny stuff and quit snoopin around in sensitive official business. That certainly woulda made my second term more easier. But seriously, today’s makeup thief could well be tomorrows terrist. Think about it.
      I aint wearin a hat but if i was i’d be tippin it to you now.

  • Jack

    Curt,
    Your comments had me wondering if you were someone pretending to be a 5 news employee or an actual employee that is somewhat sarcastic and trying to be funny. I looked you up on Facebook and found that you are an “online producter” for 5 news. May I ask what a “producter” is? Google and my spellcheck do not recognize it as an actual word. If it is a simple typo, it would make complete sense, as I cannot read one online article without getting annoyed by the numerous grammatical errors, misspelled words, or stories that seem incomplete.

  • Gene Snyman

    I can not believe that this would get the attention that it did, totally stupid and a waste of time and money. Remember that when you vote.

  • rsdrake@cox.net

    I sort of hope that “CURT LANNING” is not actually a KFSM employee; he seems to have no concept of what a NEWS program is supposed to be about. The introduction of stupid YouTube clips on the news has done more to trivialize local news in recent years than almost anything else.
    Well, plus the emphasis on Grins, Giggles and Guffaws, which often makes watching the news like eavesdropping on a junior high school class.

  • Diane Patton

    Lipscomb got away with another unethical ordeal. The fact is, this is one of may he has done. He thinks he can do what he wants and cannot be touched. He is a dishonest and unethical human being who has no business being a lawyer, prosecuting attorney or any other public office. He can chalk up another accomplishment in his book!

  • Mel

    Based on info. reported in the paper and online, Lipscomb appears to be an arrogant, unethical elected official with a strong sense of entitlement. He is not someone who should be in a position of power or trust. As for 5 news’ reporting skills, don’t read it if it upsets you so much. Your rants are childish and extremely boorish. I personally like the light-hearted material. It helps me shake off the disturbing news stories and makes the world seem a little less dark.

    • Hayden

      Amen. Get over it. If you want serious all of the time, go sit in a funeral home. Even the national news tells lighthearted stories from time-to-time.

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