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Warrant names former archivist

Judge: Rogers is in contempt by Glen Chase | June 9, 2015 at 2:05 a.m.

A Pulaski County circuit judge Monday issued a bench warrant for John M. Rogers for not responding to an order to produce discovery requests and provide a list of assets as part of a civil suit filed by First Arkansas Bank and Trust of Jacksonville.

Circuit Judge Timothy Fox issued the order holding Rogers, of North Little Rock, in contempt of court and directing Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay to detain Rogers.

Rogers' attorney, Brett Myers of Dallas, said he was aware of Fox's order but had not spoken to his client and did not know when his client might surrender or appear in court in response to the order.

Myers said Rogers is trying to work out a settlement to repay all his creditors but that deal hasn't been finalized.

An attorney for First Arkansas Bank & Trust, Roger Rowe, said he also did not know when Rogers might surrender.

First Arkansas Bank & Trust sued Rogers in September for more than $14.2 million in unpaid loans.

Rowe said the order Fox issued earlier this year directing Rogers to surrender the documents within 30 days after the April 30 order was clear. However, he said Rogers filed a letter with the court last week seeking "blanket coverage" under Fifth Amendment protection for a defendant not to incriminate himself.

The April 30 order "was self-executing," Rowe said. "If [Rogers] didn't [comply], then an order of body attachment was going to be issued." Rowe said he submitted a letter to the court last week noting that Rogers hadn't filed the documents required by the order.

"Before the week was over, his attorney wrote and raised -- just made a blanket assertion -- of the Fifth Amendment privilege which is not appropriate because if it's going to asserted it should be asserted to specific requests," Rowe said, adding that he didn't think the assertion was either timely or appropriate.

Rowe said he's now waiting to see how Rogers responds since the matter is out of his hands once the sheriff receives the order.

The order states that Rogers, after his arrest, may be released on bail of $1,459,861.87 -- 10 percent of the judgment Rogers is facing in the original case filed by First Arkansas, which will be held pending Rogers' appearance before the court. Rogers also was ordered to pay the sheriff $50 as the fee for serving the order prior to his release.

"The defendant failed to purge himself of contempt by satisfying the judgment in full, or properly completing and filing the schedule of assets with the clerk of this court and responding to the plaintiff's post-judgment discovery, within thirty (30) days of the courts order of April 30, 2015," Fox wrote in Monday's order.

The Rogers Photo Archive was a 10-year-old company described as the world's largest privately held photographic image collection.

In January 2014, Rogers' home was raided by the FBI. Rogers has since relinquished ownership in his businesses as part of a divorce settlement with his wife, Angelica Rogers, reached last October.

Currently, Red Alert Media Matrix is offering to buy the archives for $18 million cash and unregistered stock worth $1 billion in Red Alert Media Matrix. The stock is not publicly traded.

The offer was filed as part of the case filed by First Arkansas Bank and Trust, which is before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza.

First Arkansas Bank & Trust received a default judgment against Rogers in February for about $14.6 million, including almost $2,300 a day in interest, because Rogers failed to respond in a timely manner to the bank's lawsuit.

That was followed in November, 2014, by a second suit filed by First Arkansas Bank & Trust versus Rogers, five of his businesses as well as nine former owners of photos and memorabilia sold to Rogers, and two other banks that loaned Rogers money. First Arkansas claimed it loaned Rogers more than $29.5 million that has not been paid. Rogers denied First Arkansas' claims in a filing last month.

Twenty newspapers affiliated with Digital First Media and Gannett Company Inc. filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to recover the paper's archives and other materials from Rogers Photo Archives in North Little Rock.

The 95-page lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court says that Rogers Photo Archives "has failed and refused, and continues to fail and refuse," to create digital libraries for the newspapers, which include The Denver Post.

The newspapers also want a judge to order Rogers to return their archives, to account for their location and hold a hearing on whether they have the right to possess their materials. They are also seeking damages.

The newspapers own original photographs and negatives from the publications dating back as far as the mid-1800s. They wanted to digitize the photographs and negatives of their publications in order to improve their ability to use the material, according to the filing.

Seven newspapers, including the El Paso Times, entered into individual agreements with Rogers Photo Archive to have their newspapers' archives digitized.

Business on 06/09/2015

Print Headline: Warrant names former archivist


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