Arkansas Engine Repossession Leads to Police Chase

Another fire truck repossession case is in the fire law news, this one a little more bizarre that the one we covered last week.  On Friday, an Alexander, Arkansas engine parked outside a restaurant was repossessed and driven away with the firefighters and eventually Arkansas State Police in hot pursuit.

The legal issues that led to that pursuit are complicated and not 100% clear from the news reports. What appears to have happened was that in 2007, the city of Alexander bought a truck on lease purchase through First Government Lease Co. In 2012, First Government assigned to loan to First State Bank.

In March of 2013, on advice of the city attorney the city stopped paying on the loan, claiming that the interest rate being charged was in excess of that allowed under the state constitution. In the city’s view that made the entire lease void.

First State Bank investigated and apparently was upset with both parties, the city for not paying and First Government for getting them into the situation in the first place. On October 2, 2013 the bank sued the city and First Government, accusing First Government of engaging in a pattern of defrauding Arkansas cities.

According to Paul Graver of First Government Lease Co., First Government  bought the loan back from the bank and when the city refused demands for payment, ordered the truck repossessed last Friday.


About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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