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Friday, May 6, 2016

Johnson faces charges over water payments

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Clifton Johnson
Johnson, manager of the Biggers Bluff water system, was arrested Nov. 20.

Sharp County bench warrants were issued for the arrest of Johnson on Nov. 20; he was arrested the same day. The charges against Johnson are theft of property and theft of services, both class B felonies.

Johnson, who has been managing the water system for Biggers Bluff, stopped making regular payments to the city of Hardy for water use in 2005. The residents of Biggers Bluff, unaware of this situation, continued making payments to Johnson.

The city of Hardy took action for the debt owed to them by shutting off the water supply to Biggers Bluff Oct. 10. This action left close to 20 families without water. The debt owed to the city of Hardy by Johnson is $21,712.

Several of the residents of Biggers Bluff willingly gave investigators their canceled checks and records of payment for their water bills. The prosecutor's office subpoenaed Johnson's bank records from FNBC.

According to the affidavit for warrant of arrest, Johnson had an account under his name doing business as (DBA) Riverbend Park. The account showed that Johnson, as of May 2008, had sufficient funds to fulfill his obligations as the manager of the Bluffs Water Company but failed to do so.

According to the report, the account activity also showed that Johnson used the account to pay for personal items.

The affidavit states that as of March 30, 2008, Johnson's account had $24,657.23. The amount owed to the city of Hardy was $14,366.46. There were numerous cash withdrawals that cannot be identified but did not go towards the debt owed to the city of Hardy.

Johnson's bond was set at $1,500 to be paid by cash or a professional. He posted bond the same day he was arrested. Johnson's arraignment date is set for Jan. 5.

Sam and Sue Oakley, who live in the Biggers Bluff area, went over 30 days without water. "This has been very stressful, not only mentally but financially," Sam said. The Oakleys spent almost $13,000 on a well after trenching expenses.

Sam said he thinks it is great that Johnson has been arrested and he is not getting away with what he has done.

Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton said, "I hate that this has all been such a big turmoil." "It makes our area look uninviting."

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this helps to restore faith in the system. it appeared that mr. johnson was going to get away with this travesty without penalty, and it is still mindboggling that it went on this long. this type of issue doesn't help entice people to move to the area. i feel for those innocent people who paid their water bill for so long and got cut off. i think the mayor did what she had to do, however, to help bring this issue to a head.

-- Posted by hardybob on Fri, Nov 28, 2008, at 1:51 PM

I'm very glad he's been arrested and hope these residents can recoup some of their loses. I am a little disheartened though with the last comment...it makes our area look uninviting. Is that the only concern here?

-- Posted by blessedmama on Sat, Nov 29, 2008, at 12:52 AM

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