EUDORA, Ark. (10/9/19) –An interim mayor has been appointed by the Eudora City Council after former mayor, Travis Collins, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts.
He resigned from his position as mayor and board member of the Lakeside School District. Johnathan Patrick, Collins’ assistant, will assume mayoral duties until special elections are held in March.
Some residents say the last 10 months of Collins being in office have been a “slap in the face” because they had so much faith in him.
“Lots of people believed in him and they wanted to see him succeed. Before any other person was out there, he did a lot of work for the community,” Clarence Walker, freelance writer for the Chicot County Spectator said.
Walker noted one of Collins’ most notable achievement was helping a young man who was sent to prison for 80 years for drug possession.
“Collins was always on the cutting edge of putting things together to help people,” he said.
Collins has been in the center of trouble of his own in the past 20 years. He was convicted of hot check fraud in Saline County in 1999.
He is now being charged with falsifying business records for claiming he hadn’t been convicted of a felony when he signed the political practices pledge. He is also being charged with theft of property between $1,000 and $5,000, a felony that took place weeks after he was sworn in.
Some residents in Eudora said Collins had a vision for the town and it’s unfortunate he wasn’t able to carry it out. Patrick, who is now leading the town, wants residents to know that the focus is still the same in moving Eudora forward.
We also reached out to Collins for a comment. We’re waiting on his response.
Mayor of Eudora faces removal from office over felony charges
EUDORA, Arkansas (08/14/19) — The mayor of Eudora could soon be removed from his public appointments over a felony conviction 20 years ago.
Eudora Mayor Travis Collins was elected into office November 2018 and took office in the beginning of the year. According to Article 5 of the Arkansas Constitution, Collins history should have disqualified him from holding an office. He was convicted of hot check fraud in December 1999 in Saline County.
Arkansas law bans anyone convicted of an “infamous crime,” defined in part as an offense of fraud, deceit or dishonesty, from holding an office of public trust.
Anyone interested in running for an office must sign a political practices pledge. Within the form, it states “I hereby certify that I have never been convicted of a felony in the State of Arkansas, or in another jurisdiction outside of Arkansas.”
Court records show that Collins is being charged with filing a false political practices pledge because he signed this form. Prosecutors are accusing him of falsely certifying that he had not been convicted of a felony when he filed for political office. He is also being charged with theft of property between $1,000 and $5,000, a charge that was filed just weeks after he was sworn in.
A person can be qualified to be a candidate for a state, district, county, municipal and township office and claim they have never been convicted of a felony if his or her record was expunged.
We reached out to Collins’ attorney, Gene McKissic but he would not comment on the charges.
The town of Eudora is vastly divided on whether Collins is actually an asset to the town.
“I just hope our town can get back better than what it is but the way it’s going now. It’s not,” Frank Farris said. “He’s getting by by breaking the law .”
Other residents say despite his hot check fraud conviction in 1999 and the two most recent charges, Mayor Collins is a great man that has done nothing but help the town and its citizens.
“They should just leave him alone and let him continue with being the mayor,” Mary Smith said. “He’s doing great things for the community and people need to give him the benefit of the doubt and show their kindness toward him because he has done a lot for the city of Eudora.”
The state also seeks to remove Collins from his position on the Lakeside School District Board of Directors.
Mayor Collins has not resigned from his positions because he believes he is innocent of all charges. Pre-trial hearing has been set for September 30.