BELLA VISTA (KFSM) — Jim Parsons isn't willing to help foot the bill for the cleanup of the illegal dump site burning off Trafalgar Road in Bella Vista, and he doesn't think the rest of Bella Vista's residents should, either.
Parsons announced he filed a lawsuit on Jan. 3 against the three entities he says are responsible not only for the "stump dump," but also for the fire that has been burning for months and the cleanup necessary to extinguish the fire and clean up the dump site.
Parson's lawsuit names the Bella Vista Property Owners Association; Tom Frededricks, owner of Blue Mountain Storage and the former owner of the Trafalgar Stump Dump, and Cooper Communities in the lawsuit filed in Benton County Circuit Court.
5NEWS reached out to Blue Mountain, the POA and Cooper Communities. All three declined to comment.
Parsons said the POA rented the stump dump from Blue Mountain Storage from 2003 until it was closed in 2016.
Parsons said signs told residents that certain hazardous waste items could not be dumped there.
He said in his lawsuits that signs told residents that no "kitchen waste, no tin cans, no bottles or other non-perishable items" could be thrown into the site.
"But for Cooper, dumping things off, and for POA, they were using it for their junkyard," Parsons claims.
Parsons said he was later shown a photo of four concrete drums in the stump dump. Parson said he called ADEQ, who told Cooper to remove the drums from about 50-60 feet below the surface of the stump dump, where the fire is burning today.
They were removed, Parsons said, but he claims the POA and Cooper continued to use the stump dump and put all manner of objects into it.
"It was an illegal dump all along," Parsons said.
When the dump was closed in 2016, Parsons said, a layer of dirt was put over it. The site was sold within the last year to Brown's Tree Service, which is facing a lawsuit regarding the stump dump.
Parsons called that lawsuit "unfair" and said Browns weren't at fault.
Parsons said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson had already pledged $990,000 in taxpayer money to begin work to extinguish the fire at the stump dump, and the company tapped to put out the fire, EnSafe, estimates it could cost $21 million to $37 million to finish the job.
"We didn't do it...and we shouldn't be paying for it," Parsons said. Instead, he said the POA, Cooper and Blue Mountain's owner have "deep pockets" and should be footing the bill. He said the POA in particular had money it could use.
"We have been giving them money for 50 years," he said.
He suggested they could sell some of the seven golf courses to private entities.
"We don't need 7 golf courses for a town of 30,000 people," Parsons said. "Let's ask them to clean up the mess that they've made."
When asked about a possible property owners fee increase, Parsons said he wasn't worried about the POA trying to pass the cost of the cleanup on to the members.
"They can't increase the fees unless they get the vote of the members, and they've tried that three times, and we've killed that notion," Parsons said.
Parsons file the case pro se.
Parsons said his home isn't close to the stump dump, but Leon Huff, vice chairman of the Bella Vista Patriots, lives practically next door to the stump dump.
"I'm standing in for him," Parsons said.
View the entire lawsuit here: