By Tammy Moore Teague
The 88 year-old Korean War Veteran, Fred Potter, returned to a Scott County courtroom on Thursday, August 9. During the hearing, Judge David McCormick heard arguments and reviewed evidence in the ongoing civil case.
Before the hearing the judge met with defense attorney, Jack Skinner, as well as Potter’s attorney, Kevin Hickey, in his chambers. He notified counsel that he is aware of the fraud charges filed against Cassaundra Holmes in Crawford County. –See related story
Allen Potter, nephew of Fred Potter, stated in regards to the fraud case: “Skinner said if he questions Fred about the one dollar bill of sale and he does not admit to signing it, he is going to file perjury charges against him. Fred’s lawyer left the judges chambers to meet with Fred and advise him of Skinner’s threat. Fred said he did not sign that document and with a quick review of Fred’s deposition and court minutes, Fred’s lawyer agreed with him. Fred’s lawyer returned to the judge’s chambers and told Skinner to go ahead. Skinner did not bring up the one dollar bill of sale in the court hearing.”
The court continues to hold Potter in contempt of court, fining him $1,000 per day. He will continue to stay in contempt until all of his and his late wife, Betty Potter’s, personal property is returned to the home at 2151 W 6th Street in Waldron. At this hearing, Potter was required to present all his trust assets, including account numbers, to the court as well as his living expenses and total income.
Skinner was handed all required documents including an Edward Jones statement, bank statements, living expenses, income statements, inventory of trust assets, itemized inventory of trust items returned, and roughly 1300 pictures of all trust items returned to the Waldron home. Those items can be reviewed –here– . This property will be auctioned off, as the court rejected all of Potter’s receipts for items purchased after September 20, 2004.
Allen Potter was the first to take the stand. “I was on the stand for 2.5 hours,” remarked Allen Potter. Skinner questioned Allen Potter extensively about the silver bullion asking him to agree “under oath” that all the property that Allen and Fred Potter removed, and all the property that was at the house on the first inventory was returned. However, Allen Potter could not agree, stating that he did not remove most of the property, and he was not in the state when it was removed. Allen Potter did agree to moving the silver into a safety deposit box at Chambers bank and to putting the box in his and Fred Potter’s name.
Skinner accused Allen Potter of taking trust money from Fred Potter. He responded that the checks that Skinner had as evidence were reimbursements for movers fees. “Fred does not have an ATM card, Allen Potter said. “So I paid the bill and he paid me back.” Allen Potter offered to bring up his bank account and show Skinner the ATM withdraws as evidence, but Skinner declined to see them.
On cross examination, Hickey asked why the safety deposit boxes were in Fred and Allen Potter’s personal name, Allen Potter responded that the bank required safety deposit boxes to be tied to an actual person, not an entity like a trust. Also on cross examination Allen Potter was asked about the wedding rings, Allen Potter responded that Betty’s ring is in the safe in Hickey’s office and Fred’s is on his hand and Fred wants to wear it until the court makes him hand it over. Hickey asked Allen why the rings are not at the 6th street house, Allen Potter responded “that it would be careless to leave them in an empty home.”
Fred Potter was then called to the stand. Hickey questioned the whereabouts of some personal items. He responded “that all items have been returned from my house in Alma, even my clothing as required by the court.” Hickey asked Fred Potter about his trust money and banking accounts, painting a clear picture of any money movement, proving that he was not in violation of court order. Hickey also asked him about ownership of a Stradivarius Violin, he responded that “he wished he had one.”
Skinner on cross examination questioned Fred Potter extensively about the silver listed in Fred Potter’s trust. Hickey had many objections that were sustained by the judge. Skinner went into detail about items returned to the 6th St. home. Fred could not remember some items, but on re-cross examination, through photographs, was proven they had been returned.
Fred Potter was questioned by Skinner about a golf cart, he responded that it was leaking battery acid on his garage floor, it did not run, and he did not want it. “It was hauled off by a junker,” Fred Potter explained. He was then asked about gold bullion, he responded that “the only gold I have is in my teeth, and I guess you want that too.” Skinner then inquired about antiques. He responded “most of the stuff is just old, I’m tired of hearing antique this and antique that. I’m old, but not an antique. In all this questioning, Cassaundra is not showing proof of what she says is missing.”
At this time, as stated by Skinner, Fred Potter owes $66,000 in contempt fees to the court. The judge is satisfied with money being held in Fred’s locked trust account. The court did order that Fred return all monies to his trust account. He was allowed $10,000 from his trust to refurnish his home in Alma. He has been allotted $40,000 in legal fees. The court found that Fred Potter’s pension is adequate for living expenses and that he may not touch any of his frozen trust assets.
The next hearing in the case will be held at the Scott County Courthouse on September 27 at 9 a.m.