It boils down to this.
There are video and photos of State Treasurer candidate Rep. Duncan Baird, House Speaker Davy Carter, Rep. Micah Neal, and Rep. John Burris along with former RPA communication director Katherine Valios and a friend of hers at the state capitol in the wee hours of the night during the recent special legislative session. They asked if they could go on the roof of the capitol and were told no by security.
That’s the long and short of the “scandal.” To get this out of the way – yes, nothing good happens when out after midnight like our moms always told us. They should have been in bed and not goofing off at the state capitol. Fair enough.
The back and forth is whether or not Milligan used the video to try to intimidate Baird out of the race. Milligan denied he did, but Baird released a statement this morning saying that was “false” and that Milligan told him, “Here’s the bottom line, you’re finding a new career, you’re not gonna run for State Treasurer. Ok? Unless you want to see this on the 7:00 news.”
Milligan doubled-down on his denial on KARN’s Dave Elswick show today where he appears frequently as a guest.
“I never once told Duncan Baird to get out of the race. I did tell him there were people who wanted him out of the race. I want to make that clear and I will put my hand on a Bible,” said Milligan. “They say I am trying to blackmail him out of the race or I tried to blackmail him out of the race. Absolutely not.”
However this afternoon, Baird released audio of his meeting with Milligan, which took place last Thursday at the Krispy Kreme location in west Little Rock six days before the story broke. You can hear the whole tapes here and here.
“A review of Dennis Milligan’s history, as has been reported in the press, caused me to be concerned that he would seek to be aggressive and menacing in this campaign. To provide certainty as to what happened during our phone call and meeting on November 7th, I recorded our conversations,” Baird said, “As it turns out, Mr. Milligan lied to Max Brantley when he said he didn’t try to threaten me if I stayed in the race. The fact that Mr. Milligan was untruthful is established by audio tape.”
In the tapes, Milligan shows Baird pictures of him drinking with several fellow legislators and “two young ladies” at Whitewater Tavern on the evening of October 17 before showing him a jump drive that contained a video that he described showing him at the capitol with the same ladies from the Whitewater Tavern trying to get capitol police to let him on the roof.
“In the video, there’s nothing that says that anything bad’s going on. But these ladies don’t look like they’re lobbyists. They don’t look like they are someone that would be part of the session. They look like they would be some group that would be maybe independent of the legislative process,” says Milligan. “And the thing that created the situation was when the officers were threatened. They were threatened with, we will take care of seeing Secretary Martin in the morning, and we will get this shit rectified.”
Milligan emphasizes several times that he has the video and that it involves not only Baird but Carter, Neal, and Burris. He reminded Baird that Burris is the political director for Tom Cotton. He also points out several times that Carter’s employer is putting on a fundraiser for him.
“Let me ask you this, do you think your wife would enjoy seeing this?” Milligan asks.
“Yeah, I think she’d be fine with it. I mean, we…” responds Baird.
“Enough, end of conversation, that’s all I need to know, that’s it. Mr. Allison and Mr. Sims, who are Mr. Carter’s employers. They’re holding a fundraiser for me, and so, they’re gonna be advised of Mr. Carter’s actions. And…are you going to explain or let Davy explain to his wife. And you said your wife is good with it. Look, I’m not releasing this info. Other people have said. Here’s the bottom line, you’re finding a new career, you’re not gonna run for State Treasurer. Ok? Unless you want to see this on the 7:00 news,” says Milligan.
Milligan goes on to say – “You’re affecting Davy’s life and three kids. You’re affecting potentially his job. You’re affecting Tom Cotton. A lot of pressure. And you want to throw them under the bus, that’s your business. But you said it’s ok with your wife.”
Baird – “Well, I’m saying, knowing what happened that night, you know, in the normal course of, you know what I’m saying?
Milligan – “You’re not gonna get me, and I don’t think your gonna get Bruce (Campbell, Duncan’s father-in-law) to understand, I really don’t. So, here’s the pressure. I want you to do what you think is right. And if you don’t think that this is anything that the news media will care about. Then it’s not coming from my office. But I want you to know about it. Because like I said, how would I have known about this?”
Then as the two are leaving Milligan appears to give Baird a deadline to let him know if he will drop out.
Milligan – “If you change your mind within a couple of hours, let me know.”
Baird – “Sounds good. So what’s the plan, your time frame?”
Milligan – “For what?”
Baird – “For, I mean, what’s the, what’s the couple of hours?”
Milligan – “I’m just gonna tell the people… I’m just gonna tell them if you change your mind to get out of the race.”
Baird – “You’re gonna tell the press?”
Milligan – “I’m not telling the press nothing.”
Baird – “But you’re gonna tell…”
Milligan – “These people have said, you know, if Duncan finds something else to do, or… Like I said Duncan, you can say I did it, you can get on the phone and call Davy and mention it to him, you can call Micah Neal, whoever. I mean, this ain’t good.”
Baird – “Yeah, sounds good.”
Milligan – “Well, I won’t even say. If you call me within a couple of hours, we’ll find you something else to do. And that’s fine….You got to think about other people. If it’s just Duncan’s life, that’s one thing. There are other people’s lives here, it’s not going to be good. You know that Randy Sims and Johnny Allison are throwing a fundraiser for me.”
Baird – “Yeah, where are y’all doing that, down here?”
Milligan – “That’s beside the point. I’m just saying I don’t think they are going to be real happy with Davy. You might say what’s that got to do with me. Well, I don’t know. Y’all are on the video, not me. You don’t see me on there nowhere.”
Baird – “Well, I appreciate you calling me, I mean, I do appreciate it.”