Cave Springs Federal Lawsuit Dismissed

CAVE SPRINGS (KFSM) — A federal lawsuit filed against Cave Springs by the city’s recorder-treasure has been dismissed, according to court documents.

Kim Hutcheson, who was appointed treasurer in 2015, alleged that the City Council and Mayor Travis Lee weren’t allowing her to perform her duties and that Lee held a grudge against her. Hutcheson was already serving as recorder when the positions were merged, according to the documents.

In his dismissal, U.S. District Judge Tim Brooks said Hutcheson’s complaint failed to state a claim.

“Ms. Hutcheson’s grievance appears not to be legislative improprieties, but rather executive ones,” ¬†Brooks said. “Or put differently, the legislative acts in her complaint are not punitive, and the punitive acts in her complaint are not legislative.”

Lee said Thursday (Aug. 17) he was glad to put the lawsuit behind him and the city.

“It’s regrettable that Ms. Hutcheson has chosen to wast the time and valuable resources of the good people of Cave Springs by filing what the court described as a meritless lawsuit,” Lee said. “It is fortunate that we have a legal system which in this case has protected the citizens. My hope is that she will stop taking these destructive actions and allow the people’s business to move forward.”

A message left for Hutcheson’s attorney, George Rozzell, was not immediately returned Thursday.

Hutcheson was sanctioned earlier this month by the state Ethics Commission for receiving $500 through a GoFundMe account to assist with potential legal fees.

She was fined $50 and received a public letter of caution for violating a state law that bars public servants from accepting income or benefits outside of their office and failing to report the money on her statement of financial interest.

Cave Springs has been best with finical woes for the past year. A legislative audit in July found the city mismanaged funds in 2015 and 2016.

And, after failing to approve a millage for 2017, Benton County Judge Barry Moehring ruled the city can’t collect property taxes, eliminating roughly $400,000 from the city budget. Cave Springs’ City Council declined to appear Moehring’s decision.