City & County

EDCCC hires new attorney

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

The Economic Development Corp. of Clark County has retained the services of Central Arkansas attorney T.J. Lawhon to represent the tax-funded corporation on legal matters.

Lawhon is part of the Wright Lindsey Jennings firm and specializes in sales tax. He replaces local attorney Todd Turner, who submitted his resignation last week in an email. It had been Turner’s intent to withdraw as the EDCCC’s attorney “as soon as practicable” following the replacement of former interim Alliance CEO J.L. Griffin. Turner, who also is legal counsel for Clark County, had represented the EDCCC since its inception in 2007.

CEO Shelley Short recommended Lawhon as she had worked with him in the past and because Lawhon specializes in sales tax. Turner wrote in his letter that the “new” sales tax passed in 2021 is broader in scope than the original tax and encouraged the hiring of a firm with extensive expertise with public finance and tax law.

In a special-called meeting Monday the EDCCC met via livestream with a bare quorum. Short fielded questions from some of the board members curious about hiring an out-of-town firm. Short said she had been told there were no local attorneys who are experts in the field of sales tax and economic development corporations, and noted that Lawhon represents other tax-funded entities outside of Little Rock.

EDCCC president Kevin Jester said Lawhon had been “advising” the Alliance matters as late as last month, and that he was “comfortable” hiring Lawhon because he is well-versed in the area of sales tax and the entities that oversee them.

The EDCCC will not be under a contract with Lawhon or the firm.

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