FISHER, AR (KAIT) – The city of Fisher and Mayor Homer Don Anschultz have been named in a lawsuit filed by Paul Graver, President of First Government Lease Company out of Chicago, Illinois. According to court documents, the lawsuit charges the city for $9,011.47 plus court costs. Mayor Anschultz is required to respond to the lawsuit by January 6, 2012 in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie, Illinois.
"We don't care where the money comes from, ultimately the obligor is the city," said Graver. "The last time we got paid on the narcotics dog was August 23, 2011."
The lawsuit stated the city breached two contracts signed by Mayor Anschultz and Alderman Josh Barker in September, 2008. The two contracts were for the purchase of a police cruiser and narcotics dog.
Graver said his company provided Anschultz and the city with money to purchase the dog and car with the understanding it would be paid back. Graver gave the city until Wednesday night to come up with a repayment plan or he would file litigation.
"It's my intent to, I'll turn the couch in the lobby upside down and shake it for quarters in order to get it paid off if I have to," said Graver. "I imagine I'll get a default judgment here. I will then wait 30 days, take my default judgment to the county that Fisher is located in, domesticate my foreign judgment and then I'll have a sheriff come by and grab their assets and do a sheriff's sale until I'm paid in full."
"I imagine for this relatively small amount, the town won't hire an attorney because to get an attorney to stand in for you in Cook County runs about $5,000," said Graver.
Region 8 News discussed the suit with Anschultz Friday and asked him if the city would be able to hire an attorney. Anschultz said he was unsure if the city could afford one.
"He just wants to know what's going on and what's going to be the outcome of it, and I told him we were trying to get it resolved, but I couldn't talk to Mr. Graver," said Anschultz.
Anschultz said he disagreed with Graver's claim that he called Anschultz to personally verify his signature was on the lease-purchase agreements.
"He did not call Ms. Cooper or me, either one or any of the council members. He did not call us and verify nothing," said Anschultz. "He said that he called us and then verified all of this. Mr. Graver knows that he's not telling the truth."
Anschultz also said he did not sign the lease-purchase agreements. Wednesday, Anschultz told Region 8 News he was unsure if he had signed them.
"I want to retract a deal that I stated the other day about signing papers that I don't read. The only time I have done that is with Ms. Cooper (secretary), but she tells me ahead of time what it is and everything," said Anschultz. "I do not sign papers like that without reading them for something like that deal."
Anschultz said Dave Threlkeld, who assumed duties as chief of police in 2008, was the one who purchased the police car and narcotics dog. Anschultz said Threlkeld purchased the items without permission of the city council. Threlkeld is no longer police chief in Fisher.
"He told me he was going to pay for it and told me and Ms. Cooper both that he was going to pay for it. (He) told the city council he was going to pay for all of it," said Anschultz.
However, Threlkeld told Region 8 News a different story Friday. During a phone conversation, Threlkeld said "absolutely not" when asked if he signed the lease-purchase agreements in Anschultz's name.
Threlkeld said the mayor, "made a mistake and is back tracking."
"I didn't get the papers until Threlkeld had brought the car and the dog down here," said Anschultz. "That car was supposed to have been sold for Mr. Graver who was supposed to have got the money. When he faxed us another deal, it had a motorcycle on it, repossession for a motorcycle on the deal that he sent us."
Threlkeld is not mentioned as a defendant in the lawsuit.
"We've mitigated the damages. We've tried to sell the assets and now we're coming back at you (Fisher) for the difference," said Graver. "I'm not a nameless, faceless corporate entity. We're looking at my kids' college education fund."
Graver said Threlkeld was trying to pay for the dog and car on behalf of the city, but the buyers did not live up to their end of the deal.
"He's working trying to get the dog placed somewhere else, but it's ultimately the town that I'm going after," said Graver.
Region 8 News also obtained a copy of all city council meeting records since April, 2008. One record indicated Anschultz told the city council that the city purchased a police car from the Polk County Sheriff's Department. No record showing the city council's approval of that purchase was available.