Monday, March 27, 2006

Memory Lane: Charlie Daniels and Nick Wilson Part II


This is part II on our series on the career of Secretary of State Charlie Daniels. His ties to disgraced former State Senator Nick Wilson were to lengthy to detail in only one column, so they are continued here.

Daniels, a Democrat, is running for re-election. He is opposed by Republican Jim LaGrone.

So let's talk about Wislon/Daniels history.....

For details on this story, click "Monday" below or if sent directly here just scroll down.

3 Comments:

Blogger Nom Deguerre said...

First an old Brummett column. It tells an incrediable story that outlines how close Wilson and Daniels were. Except when he is talking about Conservative Christians, Brummett is a usually reliable source....

Brummett Column

It will take nerve for Gov. Bill Clinton to veto the $5,000 in living expenses, meaning raises, for Secretary of State W.J. “Bill” McCuen and Land Commissioner Charlie Daniel. McCuen is the Custodian of the state Capitol, which means he is in charge of the electricity to the governor’s office. Daniels is not in charge of very much—selling tax-delinquent land—but his best friend is named Nick Wilson.

“And the governor gets his living expenses paid, right down to his groceries. The governor should tap his reservoir of courage, which has been undisturbed for a few days now since he vetoed that National Rifle Association bill, and put the line-item veto to these raises.

“The governor would be saying these gentlemen do not desrve $5,000 raises when teachers are getting $92 or less. He might even be wondering why these two are being handpicked for these rewards.

“What happened was that all the statewide constitutional officers except Clinton, McCuen, Daniels, Auditor Julia Hughes Jones, Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher, Lieutenant Governor Winston Bryant and Attorney General Steve Clark cooked up this deal with Sen. Knox Nelson to get their so-called public relations accounts doubled, by $15,000 a year.

“The Joint Budget Committee approved it, but the House shouted it down after some front-page publicity. So then these folks came back with $11,250 in “living expense” supplements, but the Senate voted that down, 15 to 19.

“Most of them gave up at that point. But McCuen does not give up easily where money is concerned. Working mainly with Nick Wilson, he finagled the last-day amendment giving himself a $5,000 raise. Wilson threw in the same for his buddy Daniels.

“It passed after someone reminded legislators that the secretary of state sits on the three-member committee that will redraw state legislative districts pursuant to population shifts showing up from the census in 1990.

“McCuen justifies his singling out, and that of Daniels, by saying he has to officially greet foreign dignitaries from time to time and Daniels has to travel the state.

“But Daniels get mileage. And both get free apartments on state property…” (ADG; 3/26/89)

STORY TWO. WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING BIDS to shift business to a company Nick Wilson has a piece of....

Charlie Daniels denied knowing in advance that Nick Wilson owned stock in a small company that he shifted the state's business to, but his secretary admitted that Senator Wilson was the one who suggested the company....

"Since April 1989, Arkansas Title has been assigning title searches for the Land Commissioner’s office. The firm has received almost $30,000 for its nine months of work.

The land commissioner’s office auctions off property statewide on which taxes are delinquent. The purpose of title searches is to determine whether any liens exist on land to be auctioned.

Daniels said his office hired Arkansas Title because the abstract company was part of a network of 35 to 40 other abstract companies. Instead of having to contact an abstract company in every county, he said, “we could deal primarily with one group.”

Arkansas Title received $55 for every abstract company it found to do a title search, Daniels said. Other companies, he said, charged “several hundred dollars per parcel” of land serviced.

Wilson, who reportedly owns 200 shares of stock in Arkansas Title, was not available for comment Sunday night.

Daniels said his administrative assistant, Peggy Barnes, contacted Wilson last year about finding an abstract company because Wilson once owned an abstract firm.

Bids for an abstract company were not required or taken, he said.

The senator suggested Barnes contact Arkansas Title, Daniels said
..."
(ADG 1/15/90)

Bad End for a Bad Man

John Brummett notes the Daniels-Wilson connection in writing a story about the Senator's guilty plea.....

March 2000 Charlie Daniels’ “Best Friend” Pleads Guilty

“Because I am guilty.” That’s what the often brutally candid and frequently irascibly irreverent Nick Wilson said as he walked into the federal courthouse Thursday morning in Little Rock. A reporter had just asked whey he had decided to plead that way to a single count of racketeering to defraud the state and enrich himself.

Late in 1980, we at the Gazette got scooped by the competition, the Arkansas Democrat, on a story about Wilson’s pal, Charlie Daniels, then the labor commissioner and now the land commissioner, unilaterally depositing thousands of federal dollars in a bank in Pocahontas in which Nick had interest. It fell my lot to follow the story. I told Nick I needed to talk to him. He said let’s walk. We strolled the corridors of the Capitol as he professed innocence. I remember he was sweating. I remember I didn’t want it to be as bad as it looked. (ADG Brummett 3/4/00)

7:52 PM, March 27, 2006  
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