Beckham’s campaign mail misrepresents magnoliareporter.com’s coverage of Crowell’s real estate deal, news website demands state senator’s apology and mail destroyed | Local News

The following is a statement from Mike McNeill, owner of Magnolia Reporter LLC, and publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com:

On the afternoon of Thursday, May 12, magnoliareporter.com received a campaign message from Arkansas State Senate candidate Steve Crowell of Magnolia. The post expressed concern about a post paid for by a group called Truth in Politics 2 IEC on behalf of State Senator Charles Beckham of McNeil.

Beckham and Crowell are both Republicans and the only candidates for the District 3 seat in the Arkansas Senate. The primary on Tuesday, May 24 will determine which man will serve a four-year term in the state Senate.

One side of the mail features a photograph of Beckham and some of his endorsements.

The other side of the mail features the magnoliareporter.com logo, along with a title photo and photo caption from an article written by JD Bailey for magnoliareporter.com, published October 26, 2021.

CLICK HERE to see the article in its entirety.

The rest of Beckham’s mail claims that Crowell, a member of Magnolia City Council, secured a ‘sweetheart’ deal whereby his wife purchased city-owned property formerly used as a home health clinic at the Regional Medical Center in Magnolia at 833 N. Washington. The clinic was, for many years before, the home of former Magnolia Chamber of Commerce director and First National Bank chairman, WC Blewster, and his wife, Agnes.

Laura Crowell wanted to buy the house for future use by her financial investment advisory firm.

Beckham’s mail incorrectly describes the sale as a “City Council’s darling property deal”.

magnoliareporter.com covered the details of the sale at length, including the actions the Magnolia City Council took to avoid any appearance of impropriety in the sale. The city gave any interested party three weeks to make an offer, but ultimately there were only two. Crowell’s bid of $70,000 was $40,000 higher than the second-place bid.

CLICK HERE to see magnoliareporter.com’s Sept. 28 article on the city’s plans to bid on the property.

CLICK HERE to view magnoliareporter.com’s report on the sale of the property.

“I cannot allow the name, image or likeness of magnoliareporter.com to be used to misrepresent or misinform Southern Arkansas voters about any issue or candidate. The Beckham campaign mail does, and voters and the media in District 3 must hold the Beckham campaign accountable,” McNeill said.

Later Thursday night, McNeill, on behalf of Magnolia Reporter LLC, sent Beckham a text, email, and Facebook messages making three demands from his campaign and Truth in Politics 2 IEC, for immediate action.

The letter said in part:

“First, the Charles Beckham Campaign for Senate and Truth in Politics 2 IEC, and all related efforts, will cease all use of the Magnolia Reporter logo, photographs, or text. This material is copyrighted copyright, and I hold you, your campaign and Truth in Politics 2 IEC in violation of our copyright.

“Second, Magnolia Reporter LLC demands that all unsent copies of the offending mail be immediately destroyed, and that this mailing or any future mailings that may already be en route to the United States Postal Service be recalled and destroyed.

“Third, Magnolia Reporter LLC wants a written apology from you and your campaign, and from Truth in Politics 2 IEC, for this unauthorized use.

“I further demand that the actions required above take place by noon on Friday, May 13, 2022,” McNeill’s letter reads.

Late Friday morning, Beckham sent the following email to magnoliareporter.com.

“The Charles Beckham Campaign for State Senate complies with Ark. Code Ann § 7-6-201 Section (11)(B) and (C) and the Rules of the Ethics Commission of the Arkansas on Independent Expenditures Committee § 700(c), nominees or any committee or authorized agent of the nominee are prohibited from arranging, cooperating or consulting with the Independent Expenditures Committee,” the email states.

“Blaming a so-called independent committee for the shipper is the ‘it wasn’t me, it was my evil twin’ excuse,” McNeill said. McNeill said he considers Beckham’s email a non-response and that Magnolia Reporter LLC’s claims still stand.

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