FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Former Springdale City Council member Ray Dotson was arrested for theft on January 7 after a dispute with a woman over possessions belonging to her deceased husband.
According to an affidavit from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, a sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to River’s Edge RV Park in Springdale in response to two 911 calls. The first call was made by Dotson regarding a trespassing.
The second call was made by a woman who claimed that Dotson was irate and aggressive when she entered the RV park to take her deceased husband’s property.
The affidavit says dispatch heard Dotson screaming at the woman during the 911 calls, and he refused to separate himself from the woman and the people she brought to help her remove the property.
According to the affidavit, the woman’s late husband rented property from Dotson to store his possessions including an RV and a boat. Some of the possessions were in the woman’s name, and some was in her late husband’s name.
When the sheriff’s deputy spoke with Dotson, he refused to allow the woman to retrieve the items and wanted her gone. Dotson told the sheriff’s deputy that the woman needed to pay the rent that her husband did not pay before his death.
Dotson told the sheriff’s deputy he would not allow the property to be retrieved until the debt was paid, and the rent would continue to accrue.
The sheriff’s deputy attempted to explain that he could not hold the property hostage, according to the affidavit. Dotson said that his property is an impound yard, and he could put a lien on any possession himself if rent is not paid.
The affidavit says Dotson said he decided the woman’s husband’s property is impounded, and he gave an eviction notice after the husband had died.
According to the affidavit, Dotson said that the woman could not enter the property, but owed the rent her husband did not pay while he was hospitalized. Dotson also said she would continue to owe rent while he banned her from the property.
Dotson continued to contact the woman and sent her messages saying she cannot enter the property or obtain the personal items until she pays $100 each day she does not pay the lump sum of accrued rent, according to the release.
Dotson also texted the woman requesting the title to a Ford Bronco and a boat that were on the property.
The affidavit says Dotson has not obtained a valid court order authorizing a lien on the property, and has continued to prevent the woman from retrieving her deceased husband’s belongings.
Dotson also removed some of the items and property and informed the woman that he moved them to a storage facility, but would not tell her where or allow her to retrieve the property, according to the affidavit.
Dotson had not returned the property as of December 31 or allowed the woman to retrieve the items.
Dotson was arrested and is accused of one count of theft of property, a class C felony. His bond is set at $1,500.
Dotson was booked at the Washington County Jail and has been released.