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Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas EmptyFri Dec 06, 2013 2:55 pm by Chuck K

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Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas

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Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas Empty Re: Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas

Post by mike Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:53 am

The latest article on this story

http://www.areawidenews.com/story/1708203.html

mike

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Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas Empty Re: Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas

Post by Paul2CV Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:17 pm

Hi Forum,

I need to make some amendments here to my post based on the latest news report posted by Mike:

Here's the relevant part of the news account:

...After nearly an hour of discussion, Judge Johnson set bond at $106, 910.20, exactly ten times the amount owed to the victims of Watkins alleged crime....

The Charge

Watkins' arrest stems from an outstanding 2007 warrant for theft by receiving in land deals associated with property on the Spring River Beach Club. The charge alleges Watkins collected money over a period of years from people who made down payments for lots on the Spring River Beach Club. The investors signed contracts allowing Watkins to withdraw payments from their bank accounts on a monthly basis. He also used the land as collateral for $2.6 million in loans which went into default. Officials with the Attorney General's office, investigated and filed civil suits when Watkins unexpectedly fled, leaving the once thriving vacation spot to become a ghost town.

Judge Johnson said he ran a criminal history on Watkins prior to the proceedings and found no prior criminal record. Johnson went over several of the factors used for determining bond and had witnesses testify as he weighed the factors.


___________________________

I've amended what I wrote before, but it still makes a needed point about Land Contracts in general in my opinion. Hope someone picks up on this subject who knows more.

I heard that at the bottom of the problem was the misuse of Land Contracts. If these things aren't required to be officially filed -- I understand that isn't technically required in AR -- then it is easier to have a Land Contract on a property that the seller doesn't really own yet. It is also possible that a person could Land Contract the same property to others. In other words, someone in theory can get away with writing multiple Land Contracts on the same piece of property. From the newspaper account, it wasn't that Wayne Watkins was doing the last thing of having multiple people with contracts on the same land. Rather, it was the lack of knowledge that the property contracted was mortgaged as collateral to the bank and the buyer didn't know it.

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/feb/22/lost-paradise-land-buyers-left-empty-hand-20080518/

I heard rumor that the State may be addressing this problem with new laws that require filing the Land Contracts. Maybe Mike or someone out there with knowledge of the Real Estate laws and the overall situation can give us a hand in understanding the rules and how things in this case were made vulnerable by the old system.

Here is a general article on Land Contracts. Rules differ from state to state and this is article is not Arkansas specific. It just give and overview on land contracts and it's interesting.

http://www.mortgageloan.com/benefits-and-risks-land-contract


Last edited by Paul2CV on Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:04 pm; edited 3 times in total

Paul2CV

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Post by CVUMC Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:07 am

A breath of fresh air!!! There are lots of local residents here who feel he has done so much good over the years for bringing tourists here that that should be taken into consideration in all this. Mostly restaurant people. I also find that offensive and do not feel that way at all! More people need to speak up like you did and say it is wrong. Thank you. I think he'll be going away to prison for a long time so maybe his friends can all follow him. Message to them Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

CVUMC
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Post by hghguest Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:59 pm

You are so correct sir. Hey Ive got one for you. Hitler did bad things but hey at least he made the trains run on time! Noit comparing Wayen to Hitler but the point is made.

hghguest
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Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas Empty Re: Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas

Post by mike Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:08 pm

For more on the history of this fiasco and stain it has put on the reputation of Sharp County, please read the following:

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/previousfeatures/lostparadise/

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/feb/22/lost-paradise-victims-look-help-find-litt-20080519/

mike

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Post by mike Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:44 am

More news on this black eye on Hardy and Sharp County.

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/mar/01/judge-adds-restrictions-ex-developers-bai-20110301/?news-arkansas

Full Text:

LITTLE ROCK — Former Sharp County developer Wayne Watkins, who returned
to Arkansas last week after four years in Mexico, remains in custody at
the county jail in Ash Flat.

On Monday morning, Circuit Judge
Harold Erwin set Watkins’ bail at $106,910, with the stipulation that
it must be paid in full and in cash. Erwin set the bail at a hearing in
Walnut Ridge at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

Watkins walked
into the courtroom in handcuffs, his gray hair unkempt. Wearing an
orange-and-white striped jail jumper and plastic, orange flip-flops
over white socks, Watkins appeared uneasy on his feet and had a slight
tremor.

“Mr. Watkins knew he was in trouble,” Prosecuting
Attorney Henry Boyce said during the hearing. “He wanted to get out of
trouble, but he didn’t want to come home and face his troubles.”

District
Judge Mark Johnson had set Watkins’ bail Thursday at the same amount
but gave Watkins the option of posting a court bond equal to 10 percent
of the amount.

However, Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts refused
to accept a payment of $10,691 offered by Watkins’ relatives about an
hour after Johnson’s ruling.

Boyce then filed a motion Thursday
afternoon to increase the bail. He asked Monday to increase the bail
amount to $2.5 million, say-ing Watkins is a flight risk.

“I think if things don’t go his way, he’ll go back to Mexico.”

Watkins’
attorney, Larry Kissee, filed a petition Friday to hold Counts in
contempt for refusing to accept the money. Kissee is the Sharp County
attorney in addition to representing Watkins.

“He alleges the
same things he alleged to Judge Johnson on Thursday morning,” Kissee
complained. “We think that’s judge shopping.”

Boyce pointed out that Kissee is in the “unusual position” of asking for “his own sheriff” to be held in contempt.

The contempt petition wasn’t addressed Monday.

Watkins will next appear in the Sharp County Courthouse in Ash Flat at a hearing set for March 16.

Watkins was arrested Feb. 21 on a 2007 theft by deception warrant when he re-entered the country on a plane landing in Houston.

Watkins’ cousin, Virgil Griffin, testified Monday that Watkins returned
to the United States because his father, who lives in Jonesboro, is
gravely ill.

Lost paradise

Watkins moved to Mexico in April 2007 to help care for his ill mother, Griffin said.

Griffin
said he doesn’t know why Watkins remained in Mexico after his mother
died in 2009, although Griffin said Watkins had periodically called him.

“He’s been trying to come back,” he said. “He said, ‘I need to see my dad. I don’t care what they do to me.’”

After Monday’s hearing, Griffin said he doesn’t have enough money to post bail.

In
addition to the Class B felony theft by deception charge, the
62-year-old Watkins faces a lawsuit filed by Arkansas’ attorney general.

Attorney
General Dustin McDaniel filed the suit against Watkins, Griffin and
other business partners in 2008, accusing them of “unconscionable”
behavior that violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Steve
Carpenter, a lifelong friend of Watkins, said setting a high bail to
keep Watkins in jailis merely a means of “humiliating the man.”

Asking the judge for $2.5 million in bail was “ludicrous,” Carpenter said.

Like Watkins’ attorney, Carpenter insisted that Watkins did not flee to Mexico.

“He went there before any of this happened because his mother was dying of cancer,” he said.

“He’s been trying to get back, but he was afraid.”

Carpenter said Watkins did more for the town of Hardy and Sharp County than he has done harm to the community.

“Hardy has almost died since the Spring River Beach Club has been gone,” he said. “He’s a good man.”

Watkins
spent more than two decades developing family and camping resorts along
the Spring River. He sold hundreds of parcels of land, using
installment land contracts.

“He gave lower-income people the
ability to buy some land,” Carpenter said, defending his friend. “He’s
done nothing to deserve this.”

An unknown number of buyers lost
their money and their land after several banks foreclosed on Watkins
when he defaulted on $2.6 million in loans he purportedly obtained by
using the land as collateral.

More than 50 purported victims,
most of whom live out of state, have contacted the attorney general’s
office to file complaints against Watkins.

mike

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Post by mike Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:18 pm

Wayne Watkins of Riverbend Park Fame is in Custody in Texas and is on his way back to Sharp County, says The Batesville Daily Guard today 2/21/11

http://www.guardonline.com/

Text of article:

BREAKING NEWS - Wayne Watkins captured

ASH FLAT — A developer who allegedly walked away with thousands of dollars from investors in Sharp County land development projects four years ago was taken into custody today in Texas, Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts said.
Wayne Watkins’ developments included the popular Spring River Beach Club.
Counts said sheriff’s officers from Harris County, Texas, contacted him today to tell him they had Watkins in custody on the years-old arrest warrant from Sharp County.
“Watkins is being held on an outstanding warrant that was issued in 2007 for the offense of theft by deception, a class B felony,” Counts said.
“On this same date, Wayne Watkins was taken before a judge in Harris County, Texas, for an extradition hearing,” Counts added. “Watkins has waived extradition and arrangements are currently being made to transport him back to Sharp County.”
Larry Kissee, Watkins’ attorney, said Watkins was not technically a fugitive because he had never been served any legal papers in connection with the charge.
He said Watkins went to Mexico, where his mother was living, four years ago because she was seriously ill “and just didn’t come back.”
His mother has since died, Kissee said, and Watkins was returning today because his father, Earl Watkins, is now seriously ill.
“We’ve been negotiating with the prosecutor for several weeks trying to arrange it so he could drive up here and give himself up,” Kissee said from his office in Ash Flat.
But feeling that he was running out of time to spend with his father, Watkins chose to get onto a plane and fly into Houston this morning, knowing he would be picked up on the felony warrant, Kissee said. All who arrive on such flights are routinely checked through the National Crime Information Center database, the attorney said.
Watkins, 63, collected down payments from people who bought lots in the Spring River Beach Club in Hardy. He had the investors sign installment land sales contracts, which allowed him to automatically withdraw monthly payments from their bank accounts, officials said at the time he was charged.
Watkins then used the land as collateral to take out $2.6 million in loans, but he went into default.
Officials said he and the money disappeared, along with any legal claim the buyers had to the land.
More than 50 land property buyers, most from out of state, have contacted the attorney general’s office over the past four years to file complaints against Watkins.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel sued Watkins and his business associates in 2008, saying they violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by engaging in a concerted scheme to knowingly deceive both consumer purchasers and banks.

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