JONESBORO, Ark. – It was Monday morning outside of the Craighead County Courthouse that law enforcement waited for the county clerk to arrive.
Authorities were concerned Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday had been tipped off because he wasn’t in his office, one source said. But sometime before 11 AM, Holliday arrived in his truck. As soon as he arrived at the courthouse, officers that included State Police and Sheriff Marty Boyd arrested him for allegedly stealing $1.6 million in government funds.
The charges are staggering. 12 counts of Theft of Property Greater Than $25,000 and one count of Abuse of Office are the charges Holliday faces as of Tuesday morning. Holliday will go before a judge Tuesday afternoon for his first bond hearing, where prosecutors are expected to ask for a substantial cash-only bond.
In addition to criminal penalties, Holliday is being sued civilly by Craighead County, too. Monday afternoon, a civil case was filed in Jonesboro District Court between the State of Arkansas v. Kade Holliday. The lawsuit asks the court to freeze $1.4 million in assets owed to the county.
An affidavit by County Judge Marvin Day says he began meeting with various investigators and members of legislative audit about this matter on June 25. Suspicious activity in the Craighead County payroll account was the subject of the audit. After the county judge reviewed the audit, he said his opinion was the money was transferred to the personal accounts of the county clerk.
The money, $1,579,057.03, was supposed to be sent to various entities including the Department of Finance and Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and public employee retirement funds. Instead, hundreds of thousands a month were being transferred to Holliday’s personal banking accounts. On two occasions, over $80,000 was transferred back into the county account from Holliday’s personal LLC.
That means Holliday owes Craighead County $1,410,799.57. It is unclear how or if the county will recover this money.
County Judge Day was concerned about a “high likelihood that upon confrontation of Holliday,” he would conceal or abscond with county assets in addition to destroying or altering records to conceal his actions. In his affidavit, he says doing so would cause irreparable harm to Craighead County. The investigation was kept top secret. At the request of the prosecuting attorney, on Monday, Arkansas State Police and Craighead County Sheriff’s Office agents arrested the clerk.
In the civil case, Craighead County has asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Holliday that, among other things, would:
- Set aside $1.4 million to presumably be recovered by the county
- Appoint a receiver to handle his business
- Criminally ban him from the Craighead County courthouse (except for court proceedings)
- Prohibit Holliday from entering Simmons or Centennial Bank
- Provide notice to all financial institutions in which Holliday has accounts of the TRO (to stop money from being moved)
- Order Holliday to preserve all electronic storage devices
- Prevent the transfer of assets property, interest of any kind, or other of any property asset Holliday has interest in
But while the civil penalties are pending, the serious criminal charges remain the focus.
Under Arkansas law, a Class B felony theft offense carries a sentence of five to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. Holliday could face time on each charge in addition to the Abuse of Office charge.
The former county clerk remained in Craighead County Detention Center overnight Monday pending his bond hearing Tuesday.
The law firm representing the accused, McDaniel Wolff, and Benca PLLC, issued a statement to Region 8 News Monday afternoon saying Holliday had resigned from office effective immediately and is committed to cooperating with the investigation.