- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Ethics Commission dismissed 13 complaints against outgoing Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/23W87h6 ) reported the commission voted Monday to drop one complaint filed by Kevin Harrison, a justice of the peace, and 12 others lodged by Clifford Ferguson, son of former sheriff Keith Ferguson. The complaints ranged from Cradduck teaching a class on public property to increase the profit of his personal business to threatening to fire sheriff’s office employees following his January arrest.

Clifford Ferguson said he accepts the commission’s decision, adding that Cradduck’s recent resignation was satisfactory. “If there are other issues it will come out over time,” Ferguson said.

Harrison said Commission Director Graham Sloan told him “there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed.” Harrison added that he has one more complaint pending, claiming Cradduck used a sheriff’s office employee as a baby-sitter.

Cradduck has pleaded not guilty to felony and misdemeanor tampering charges. He stands accused of falsifying an employee payroll request and of instructing his assistant to lie about it to Arkansas State Police.

Amid calls for his removal, Cradduck offered to resign under certain conditions. The Benton County Quorum Court on Friday agreed to pay Cradduck nearly $80,000, the amount he’s due in salary and benefits for the remainder of his term, in exchange for his resignation once a replacement is hired. His term ends December 31.

Cradduck was defeated in the Republican primary by Shawn Holloway. Holloway will face Glenn Latham, an independent, in the November election.

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Information from: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.nwaonline.com

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