Nelms: "No money is missing"

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The Craighead County Quorum Court will hold a special meeting Monday to discuss the county's nearly $300,000 IRS debt and how County Clerk Nancy Nelms contributed to the debt.

"We've had misunderstandings, and at that meeting Monday night, I plan to have a full explanation," Nelms said.

On the advice of her attorney, Nelms will give the Quorum Court the first account of why the IRS sent a notice that Craighead County owes $288,264.20 in tax penalties and fees.

"I don't feel like I need to explain to other people before I explain to them because I do owe that to them," Nelms said.

"I can tell you that there is no money missing, that all the monies have been deposited over the years. Mo one has absconded with funds."

The notice lists money owed from 2003 to 2009. Justice of the Peace Ken Stacks wants to know why it took Nelms so long to say something. "It's really disturbing to me, the extent of this, and the length of time, and that it was not brought forward much earlier."

What Nelms reveals at the meeting will determine the Quorum Court's next steps, which could include requesting an investigation that could lead to Nelm's dismissal from the county clerk position.

"The only thing we as a Quorum Court can do is recommend to the prosecuting attorney, Scott
Ellington, that he look into the matter and make a determination."

The outcome of the meeting is up in the air, but Stacks believes the Clerk's office should move forward without Nelms.

"At this point, I think she's lost the trust of the majority of the Quorum Court, certainly mine, and perhaps even the trust of the people of Craighead County. So, I think it would be best if someone else were in that office."

Nelms would not comment on whether she would resign if asked. She has served as Craighead County Clerk for 13 years, and worked at the office since 1978.

The meeting is in the Craighead County Judge's Conference Room at the Craighead County Courthouse. It starts at 7 p.m., and it is open to the public.

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