More suits filed against Smiley, trials to be set soon

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 145 views 

Nine lawyers carrying large files met with Benton County Circuit Judge John Scott on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 18) to sort out the complex legal proceedings facing former Arvest banker Dennis Smiley, his wife and father Henry Dennis Smiley Sr.

Smiley was forced to retire as president of Arvest Bank-Benton County in March when possible loan fraud was discovered. Smiley reportedly borrowed an estimated $4.5 million from more than a dozen Arkansas banks dating back to 2009, according to Uniform Commercial Code filings with Arkansas Security of State.

Smiley Sr. has his retained his own legal counsel for the upcoming proceedings. His name was used in connection with loans made to his son without his knowledge or consent, according to statements made in previous court filings.

The combined repayment of loans sought in the open civil cases against Dennis Smiley and his business interests exceed $1.063 million.

No one from the Smiley family was present at the proceedings.

Judge Scott heard from each of the lawyers in the six pending complaints against Smiley and his business interests with another lawsuit being added after Community First Bank of Harrison filed Wednesday against Smiley for thee delinquent unsecured loans totaling more than $118,200.

Judge Scott asked the counsel present at Wednesday’s hearing if there were any other outstanding civil claims against Smiley to which counsel said there’s still the pending case by Signature Bank in Washington County over $448,997 owed on three loans in default.

“We’ll let them handle that one,” Scott answered.

He polled each of lawyers there representing the open cases against Smiley and his business interests sharing with them the possible open dates on his docket for trials to resolve these matters. He said given the time needed for adequate discovery the earliest any of the cases would likely be heard will be the spring of 2015. Exact trial dates will be set in the next two weeks, he said.

Following are cases related to the Smiley issue.

Case No. 2014-454
Arvest interpleading with 21 banks over Smiley’s retirement funds pledged as collateral. Judge Scott ordered the dismissal of this case on Monday (Sept. 16) as all but two of the banks named reached an out-of-court settlement. Signature Bank and First State Bank of DeQueen did not settle.

Case No. 2014-415
Delta Trust Bank versus HDS Holdings, Smiley Jr. and Smiley Sr. over unpaid loans of $245,126. Counsel for Smiley Sr., told the court they had requested a handwriting expert and issued hundreds of subpoenas in preparation of a jury trial which could be wrapped in two days.

Case No. 2014-524
Simmons First Bank is suing Henry Smiley Sr. for loans made HDS Holdings. The bank’s claim is $84,816 and accruing. Simmons and the plaintiffs counsel have requested a jury trial with a handwriting expert. They believe the trial can be completed in two days.

Case No. 2014-573
First Federal Bank is suing HDH Holdings, H. Dennis Smiley Jr. and Henry Dennis Smiley Sr. and the family revocable trust. The amounts outstanding on two loans exceed $70,000. The bank requested a two-day jury trial to resolve this matter.

Case No. 2014-522
First State Bank (Lonoke) is suing Henry Dennis Smiley Jr., Cynthia Smiley and Design for the Home. The bank’s complaint shows the defendants are delinquent on three loans totaling more than $159,000. The bank’s lawyer did not request a jury trial and said the case would could likely be wrapped up in one day.

Case No. 2014-1177
Arvest Bank is suing HDS Holdings, Henry Dennis Smiley Sr., Dennis Smiley Jr. as trustee of the family trust. The bank asked the court for judgments against Smiley Sr., HDS Holdings and the Henry Dennis Smiley Revocable Trust totaling $386,254.27 from unpaid loans made between December 2009 and February 2014, less than a month before Smiley Jr.‘s resignation. Arvest’s counsel did not request a jury trial.

The bank made or extended eight loans totaling nearly $500,000 to the plaintiffs over a four year period as follows:

Case No. 2014-1288
Community First Bank is suing Design for the Home, Dennis Smith Jr. and wife Cynthia. The bank’s complaint shows the defendants owing on three loans totaling $118,200 with interest accruing. The suit was filed Wednesday and Judge Scott said he will review it and contact the defendant for a trial date in the next two weeks.

The pending foreclosure compliant filed by First Security Bank, with Arvest and Benefit Bank as co-defendants was resolved prior to Wednesday’s hearing. A filing on Sept. 9 indicated Smiley had resolved the foreclosure action. The court dismissed the foreclosure order on Sept 10.