Monroe County Throwdown
CLARENDON (KATV) -
Over the past year we have told you how laws in Arkansas favor the landlord over the tenant.
One Monroe County woman is ready to fight back against her landlord.
This story may be the talk of the town at the Clarendon barber shop tomorrow.
Which could be interesting...because the landlord in this story is also the town barber.
Christine Clark recorded a confrontation with her landlord that starts with her setting a console television upright, only to have her landlord, Larry Curtis, ram a 2x4 through the back of it.
"This is what he does to your furniture," observes a still calm Christine Clark.
When Curtis wants you gone, you had better move out.
When Christine and Alan Clark took more than two days to vacate a Larry Curtis rent house in Clarendon, they found all their belongings scattered outside...much of it on a burn pile.
What happened to a 10-day eviction notice?
"I don't do that," explains Curtis. "I give 'em 30 minutes son."
"The law says you have to give them 10 days. Are you above the law?"
"listen," says Curtis. "They don't abide by the agreement...they move out."
As Christine Clark picked items out of the burn pile...Larry Curtis picked up a two by four.
"And he grabs me and he pulls me around and he hits me...whack, whack, whack," says Clark as she remembers and reenacts what happened.
You can hear Christine Clark's anger on the video tape.
"Now you're assaulting me," yells Clark. "Hitting me with a (expletive) board."
"She told the judge I hit her in the head with a 2x4 and gave her a concussion," says Clark. "But she didn't have no medical records to show it."
Before we show you what happened next...let's go back and revisit why the Clarks were being evicted in the first place.
"The dispute was over my daughter," says Clark.
When electricity was shut off due to non-payment at the Clark's rent house, the state was about to step in and take the couple's nine year-old daughter and three year-old son.
"He offered us $40,000 to adopt our daughter," says Clark. "So I took it as he was trying to better us. But then again I'd be losing my baby girl."
"Was it tempting?"
"No," answers Clark. "I never thought twice about it."
"I told them, I said, I'll help here get through college, you know?" recalls Curtis. "I said the way y'all are...she ain't even gonna get out of Clarendon."
Curtis, the town barber, has a good reputation for mentoring kids.
But Christine wanted to keep her children together so her mother-in-law took guardianship.
Clark says that seemed to set her landlord off...leading to eviction, then confrontation.
The drama was captured on Clark's video camera.
"Ah! Help!" (Clark is thrown to ground). "Uhhh!" (they struggle, she screams). "He's assaulted me. And he tried to hit me."
"Get the hell out of here!" yells Curtis.
"He's trying to hit me!" screams Clark.
"Get off this lot I said!" yells Curtis back.
"Help!" cries Clark.
"Get off that lot!" orders Curtis again.
In the end the Clarks suffered minor injuries, much of their stuff was burned and Curtis was charged with assault, found guilty and fined $2,700.00.
"I haven't paid anything," says Curtis.
"But that's what your fine is, right?"
"Nope," says Curtis. "I'm gonna appeal it. To the Supreme Court."
"Everybody kept saying 'You won. You won," says Christine Clark. "But in a way I still don't feel like I won because none of our stuff...all the stuff that we worked for...so hard for...is now gone."
The Clarks have hired an attorney and plan to sue Larry Curtis in civil court for the loss of their property.
Curtis also received a 90 day suspended jail sentence. Mr. Curtis has 15 properties in Clarendon...most of them rent houses. We haven't heard any complaints from any other tenants.
If you have a complaint about a landlord...or if you are a landlord and have a horror story about a tenant...email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Air date: February 6th, 2014