By Tammy Moore Teague
Following a court hearing on Monday, former Korean War Veteran Fred Potter was ordered to pay a $1,000 per day fine untill he complies with a court order by Judge David McCormick. Additional charges have been added, which are yet to be released. These charges include Potter’s nephew, Allen, being in contempt for aiding and abetting.
The story has been ongoing since last month when the 88 year old was jailed for contempt of court. Both Potter and his wife Betty set up trusts to provide the surviving spouse with a continued income from rental properties, stocks and bonds. The battle began, however, when his wife passed and Potter’s niece and executor, Cassandra Holmes of Waldron challenged the trust. After years of court hearings, Potter was ordered to return items he took after moving from the property at 2151 West 6th St. in Waldron. Potter states that he does not have possession of the items ordered returned, one of which is a highly valued Stradivarius violin. After failing to produce them, Potter was considered in contempt of court and turned himself in to the Scott County jail. This ruling by McCormick has sparked criticism locally and nationally.
Although Potter was released from jail due to health issues, he had been confined on house arrest prior to the June 4 hearing.
Further developments in the case came following Monday’s hearing when the judge ruled that Potter was to pay $1,000 daily until he could comply with the court’s original order. Additional charges by Holmes’ attorney, Jack Skinner, are yet to be released. “How can you prove you don’t have something,” Potter’s nephew, Allen, questioned. “They depended on someone who they thought was a descent person and family member to do the right thing and that was to make sure the surviving spouse was cared for.”
Potter faults the attorney who originated the documents citing that it gave way for these events to transpire. He has moved to Alma as the case continues. Supporters took to main street on June 3 to participate in the Veterans Walk in Solidarity. Opponents of the judge’s ruling have questioned his conduct in this case, claiming that the American Bar Association calls for judges to exhibit “compassion, decisiveness, open-mindedness, sensitivity, courtesy, patience, freedom from bias and commitment to equal justice.”