LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – FOX 16 Investigates has been combing through the report that a Little Rock city director said the mayor tried to prevent from being seen.
The draft report is 23 pages and discussed areas that could be redeveloped, including in or near War Memorial Park, downtown and southwest Little Rock.
Ward Four City Director Capi Peck said Mayor Frank Scott Jr. attempted to stop the draft report from being released by the city’s planning director to one of her constituents requesting it.
“He then proceeded to tell me that you, Mr. Mayor, told him to not send the document,” Peck said Tuesday.
Scott has strongly denied the accusations.
“I have not instructed Director Collins nor City Manager Moore not to produce anything,” Scott said. “It sounds like there’s a lot of miscommunication, there’s a lot of misunderstanding.”
The draft report was released Sunday, nearly a week later and one day after it was requested by FOX 16 News. The presentation includes redeveloping the area around War Memorial Park into multi-family housing.
A copy of the 2021 contract reveals the city paid A-Squared Global $49,140 to do the study, an amount under the $50,000 limit that would’ve required the city board’s approval.
A July 2020 document, part of A-Squared original proposal to the city, shows it has an office in Little Rock, however, the city’s treasury office confirmed A-Squared only applied for a business license in April of 2022 and never paid the fees, until this week.
Aaron Sadler, the mayor’s spokesman for the city, said Wednesday there was no requirement for the consultant to have a business license in the city.
“In fact, none of the respondents had a city business license,” Sadler wrote in a statement.
According to the mayor’s latest campaign finance report, the CEO of A-Squared and his wife donated a total of $3,000 to Scott’s campaign.
Sadler said the campaign donation has nothing to do with the consulting work.
“It’s not uncommon for a vendor at any level of government to donate to campaigns,” he wrote. “That isn’t an excluding factor, and it has nothing to do with the selection process. This contract was awarded to a qualified vendor in a legal and ethical manner.”
The mayor told the city board Tuesday night the unearthing of the proposal has been driven by the election, which is less than a week away.
“A 2-year-old contract, all of a sudden, becomes an issue,” he said.
After reaching out to A-Squared for a comment, the CEO noted it registered with the Arkansas Secretary of State on Aug. 7, 2020.
Records indicate the firm’s filing with the state came more than a week after it submitted its first proposal to work with the city.