Simmons First sues Dennis Smiley and Centennial Bank

story by Kim Souza
ksouza@thecitywire.com

The Dennis Smiley loan saga puts two of the state’s largest banks on opposite sides as Simmons First National added another layer to the growing legal web with a legal complaint filed in Benton County Circuit Court on Friday (May 2).  

Pine Bluff-based Simmons First, through its lawyers at Kutak Rock, filed a 44-page complaint against former Arvest banker Henry Dennis Smiley doing business as Design for the Home LLC. Centennial Bank also was named as a defendant in the case as a lender who might also lay claim to the collateral encumbered to Simmons.

Unlike the majority of previous loan default complaints filed against Smiley, the collateral used for three loans with Simmons First was not linked to the Smiley’s Arvest stock holdings. Simmons loaned Smiley $62,116 in October 2009 to be used as working capital in the Design for the Home business. The loan was secured by the inventory and receivables of that business, according to count documents.

In March 2010, Smiley received a second loan from Simmons for $38,125, which also was tagged for working capital in the design business and backed by the businesses inventory.

In each of these loans Simmons required payment in regular quarterly installments, but the second loan was extended in April 2012 when the final balance was due. In December 2012, Simmons loaned Smiley another $46,040 with a due date of June 2016. In loan number three Smiley pledged his interest in three residential lots in the Mountain View Addition in Fayetteville. The bank filed a UCC Financing Statement encumbering the tangible real estate commonly known as 525 N. Assembly Drive, Fayetteville. 

A search of the county real estate records shows this property is owned by Debra Parker-Ladd, with a mailing address of 307 Appalachian Way, McKinney, Texas. Smiley transferred the property to Parker-Ladd on Aug. 3, 2013, for a sum of $1, according to the deed on file. County records show an estimated sale price in 2013 was $229,000

Simmons made no mention of Parker-Ladd, but noted in the lawsuit that Centennial Bank may also have claim to this same tangible collateral. Simmons claims the Centennial lien would be junior, or subordinate, to Simmons’ claim. The Simmons filing asked the court for a judgment totaling $67,879 with interest accruing. The bank also asked for court costs related to the legal proceedings.

This is Simmons’ second complaint filed against Smiley in recent weeks following a $84,816 complaint lodged against HDS Holdings, AKA Dennis Smiley Jr. and Henry Dennis Smiley Sr.

Smiley Sr. has noted in recent court filings that he did not sign any documents, nor was he aware of loans made in his name.

SMILEY’S ANSWER
Smiley Jr., through his lawyers at Ball & Mourton in Fayetteville, answered the Arvest interpleading on May 2 agreeing with most of the points raised in the initial Arvest filing. Smiley noted that he has not received any payment from his stock account earned while he was employed at Arvest. 

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He asked the court to allow the funds on deposit be applied to his legal costs and any other relief the court deems just and proper.

The Arvest Interpleading listed the names of 20 Arkansas banks. To date, nine banks have staked claims totaling $1.69 million. Today’s Bank and First Security Bank filed answers to the Arvest interpleading but did not furnish details about what is owed.

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