Divisive Issue Lurking In Region 8

June 15, 2006 -- Posted at 6:30 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Despite Sheffeild's new private club status, opponents are still fighting to keep more liquor out of Craighead County.

The opponents of alcohol are still looking for other ways to stop the issuance of alcohol permits, rather than just pleading their case before the ABC Board in Little Rock.

Pastor Steve Jacobson of Friendly Hope Baptist Church is one of the leaders in that fight.

"An unelected, unaccountable board should not be allowed to change the face of a county over the vote of the people. That's a corruption of our whole system. What we'd like to see is an injunction to stop the ABC Board from granting any more permits until this thing can be sorted out in court," said Jacobson.

In an interview with K8 News last month, Jacobson left the impression that there were payoffs in awarding liquor licenses in Craighead County.

On May 26, 2006, Steve Jacobson said, "I really resent people who think because they have influence and money that the laws don't apply to them and that they can go to Little Rock and grease a few palms and get what they want without having to go through the voters and that's wrong,"said Jacobson.

In an interview on Thursday, Jacobson was asked directly if he believes there were bribes and whether or not he has proof of the allegations.

"I don't think it's that overt. If you were to get the campaign donor list and look up those on the donor list, you would see some of the same names giving to the same people. If you started looking at who is interested in who is bringing liquor to Craighead county, well,  you would see a parallel there. You'd have to be naive to think there's not a relationship there.....to know there's not a relationship there.  I'm not accusing anyone of bribery, but they are using the system, they're using the system, they're using the system," said Jacobson.

It's a divisive issue Jacobson, among many others, is passionate about.

"If we quit, it will be like Benton County, we will just get steamrolled.  We do what we can,  we fight the battles that we are able to fight," said Jacobson.