Questions about the eligibility of two of the Little Rock School District's Zone 6 candidates -- FranSha' Anderson and Chris Kingsby -- have been raised by the Blue Hog Report watchdog blog.
Attorney Matt Campbell, author of the decade-old Blue Hog Report blog in which he watchdogs over state and local governments and public officials, cites misdemeanor convictions in Anderson's past, and on Kingsby for the addresses he has listed on school board candidacy and voter registration forms.
In response, the candidates deny they are ineligible to run for or serve on the board.
On his blog, Campbell wrote that Anderson is ineligible because she had multiple misdemeanor hot check convictions in the 1990s. He included case numbers, links and computer screen shots of the conviction records when he posted the information on his blog. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette viewed those documents on the blog's post.
Now, an independent check of the case number links for those convictions takes the viewer to the case numbers, but each states, "No case was found."
Additionally, Campbell cited a 2006 Bureau of Legislative Audit report that noted that Anderson -- who is also known as Dametrice FranSha' Burke -- pleaded guilty to one count of theft of property -- a class A misdemeanor -- tied to personal credit card charges and travel reimbursements totaling about $30,000 while she was with the Arkansas Transitional Employment Board.
Campbell cited in the blog that Article 5 Section 9 of the Arkansas Constitution states that no person convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery or other infamous crimes can hold public office. An "infamous crime" can be a misdemeanor in some cases. When Anderson filed as a school board candidate on July 24, she signed an affidavit of eligibility, saying that she knew the requirements for office and that she had met them.
In response to Campbell's blog post, which dates back to August, Anderson told the Democrat-Gazette that Campbell "had pulled up a record that was sealed," and "I paid my debt."
"I am on the ballot and I am eligible to run," she also said.
Little Rock attorney Chris Burks, who has done some election law practice, told the Democrat-Gazette it appeared that the cases were sealed. He also said it is possible that the conviction records were only recently sealed but whether they were sealed by a judge before or after Anderson submitted the affidavit of eligibility would be difficult to determine because a judge's sealing of a conviction also is sealed.
Burks agreed with Campbell that a misdemeanor hot-check conviction -- even when sealed -- can make a person ineligible for elected office, just not in the case of school board positions, Burks said.
The state law barring eligibility for office to those who have one or more sealed convictions of crimes involving fraud or deceit applies to the constitutional offices, Burks said. Those include the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, legislators, and different kinds of judges, among others.
"Arkansas Code Annotated 21-8-301 doesn't include school board positions on the list of those positions where sealed convictions are still disqualifying," Burks said.
Anderson is the chief executive officer of the non-profit Arkansas State Independent Living Council.
"I am not only the [chief executive officer] of a non profit, I am a project manager for the State Plan for independent living that includes funding to partners totaling over a million dollars,"Anderson said.
"I can't help the misinformation my opponents and/or their supporters may spread," she also said, adding that her eight-year tenure in her position with its clean audits, personnel responsibilities and accountability to a 15-member board of directors shows that she is qualified to help oversee the Little Rock School District and its budget of about $300 million.
Kingsby, 20, initially used the main address of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2801 S. University Ave. -- not a student housing address -- as his address to run for the school board from Zone 6.
Kingsby, who has described himself as a college student, recently told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he is not currently enrolled.
"I am taking a break this semester for the campaign," he said.
Kingsby has also changed his address on his Pulaski County voter registration record to 2121 S. Cedar St.
He said he had no response to Campbell's blog post.