Woodwork returned: Cross Partnership reclaims property from Satori
The Clark and Klock building is whole again.
John F. Cross, president of the John F. Cross Family Partnership, issued an announcement on Thursday, Feb. 2, stating that the Victorian oak roses, trim, doors and baseboards installed by W.O. Perkins in the early 1900s have been returned to the Clark and Klock building in Eureka Springs after being dismantled and removed from the premises in February 2013. Cross said workers began reinstalling the woodwork on Thursday.
Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce issued an order on April 23, 2015, granting summary judgment to the Cross Partnership in a civil lawsuit against former Eureka Springs mayor Beau Zar Satori. Pierce had ordered Satori to pay his former landlord almost $10,000 and return the antique woodwork that he allegedly took from a building that housed Satori’s art and jewelry gallery.
Pierce also ordered Satori to pay the plaintiff $110 for unpaid rent, $3,987.86 for damage to an air conditioner compressor, $642.49 for court costs and $5,000 in attorney’s fees — a total of $9,740.35.
Pierce also said the court would retain jurisdiction for the purpose of determining additional damages related to reinstalling the woodwork.
Cross said they finally reclaimed the property last spring around the end of April. The wheels of justice do move, he said, but sometimes they move slowly along a bumpy road.
“It took the sheriff a year and two days to enact the circuit judge’s order,” he said. “We had to write two writs of mandamus to force him to act. The first one expired, but for the second one we saw Satori in [an area restaurant]. … We called the cops, and they came down and served him the order.”
Cross said Satori had 10 days to deliver the woodwork after that point but failed to do so.
“So we went up with the sheriff and cut the locks off of Satori’s storage garages and went in and got the stuff ourselves while the sheriff looked on,” Cross said.
He said the woodwork was put into storage. The reinstallation was put off until January of this year, Cross said, so as to not interrupt the Clark and Klock building’s current tenant.
“We didn’t want to interrupt the current tenant who had the art studio,” he said. “We were just starting the spring season, so reinstalling the woodwork then would have disrupted her business for the rest of the summer. We told her we would put it up in January when business slows down in town.”
The Cross Partnership evicted Satori from the Clark and Klock building at 81 Spring St. in Eureka Springs in the fall of 2012 for nonpayment of rent. Satori left the property in February 2013. Three months later, Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Rogers filed an affidavit alleging that Satori stole antique oak baseboards, trim and doors from the building.
“I’ve only evicted three people in 50 years, and two of them have been Satori,” Cross said. “I let him back in the first time out of the goodness of my heart, and then he pulled some more stuff.”
When the Cross Partnership went to the building to evict Satori, Cross said that Satori asked for three more days to move out. Cross said he agreed to the arrangement provided that Satori would pay rent for those three days.
“So we went up there early in the morning after three days, and his workers were still out there with paintbrushes in their hands,” Cross said. “They were still painting the woodwork that he put back in.”
He continued, “The original doors are three solid oak doors. What he tried to replace them with were flimsy hollow pine doors. He painted them to look like aged oak by using a dark oak stain. I guess he thought we wouldn’t know the difference.”
The baseboards and trim were made by W.O. Perkins and installed in the early 1900s, according to the affidavit, and were valued by an antiques expert consulted by the prosecutor to be worth at least $8,000.
Satori denied taking the woodwork, according to a Eureka Springs Police Department report, and told authorities that the original baseboards, trim and molding were still in the building, behind white pine boards he installed.
However, after police removed the white pine boards they found no boards behind them, according to the report.
According to Satori, the woodwork he removed from the building was either made or commissioned by himself.
“Cross charged me with a crime when I removed it and replaced it, but it was the third time I had put the wood detailing on there,” Satori said. “In the early ‘80s, I did it in white pine. In the ’90s, I did it in red oak. Before I moved out, I replaced it in yellow pine.”
He continued, “All of the original baseboards that were in the building in 1900 are still there. Nothing was ever removed except for my red oak work.”
Rogers originally charged Satori with a Class C felony, but “nolle prossed” the charges after the Cross Partnership filed its civil suit on April 1, 2014. Rogers said in May 2015 that the charges were no longer pending.
Cross said the Cross Partnership opted for a civil suit because they thought his and Satori’s positions could have resulted in a biased jury.
“We didn’t feel we could get a fair trial with 12 jurors in the Western District of Carroll County,” he said. “We went to the circuit court, where there are only nine jurors, and filed [civil] charges against Satori. In the meantime, we issued a motion for a summary judgement so as not to waste taxpayers’ time. The judge understood and gave us a summary judgement.”
Because Pierce granted a summary judgment to the Cross Partnership, the case never went before a jury.
According to Satori, the criminal suit was dropped because there was no case against him.
“It was all my stuff. I had receipts for all of it. I have evidence of ownership for everything. None of it was original,” he said. “So he keeps singing this claim that it was all historic when it wasn’t and isn’t.”
After the Cross Partnership received the summary judgment, Satori said that they had 30 days to retrieve the property.
“They waited three weeks and served me papers while I was eating lunch,” he said. “I told them the wood all belonged to my sister and that she had it in her storage locker. I said I would talk to her and my lawyer and get back to them.”
Satori continued, “The next day, I called them, and they had already broken into the storage unit. They cut the lock off the door and stole the wood. There’s nothing there that was originally in the building. It’s just another case of John Cross taking from people.”
He said he was disappointed in the courts’ handling of the case because they were not sending him notifications in a timely manner.
“I needed things sent to my P.O. box, and they were sending them to addresses I had lived in in the past and been evicted from by Cross,” Satori said. “They were sending court papers to houses that I never lived in. I have records of the courts and his lawyers sending documents to six different addresses.”
He continued, “I wasn’t able to respond to anything because they didn’t send the papers to my P.O. box. I gave a deposition at their request, and, in the deposition, I told them that I needed everything sent to my P.O. box. It’s not difficult. It’s legal shysterism.”
Cross said that the Cross Partnership will try to collect the $9,740.35 awarded by the court.
“We’re going to try to enforce that judgment as time goes by unless Satori takes bankruptcy,” he said. “It’s hard to say how long it will take to reinstall the woodwork since we’re going to have to manufacture some items for it now. It will take a week or so at least.”
Cross said that, overall, he is pleased to have the woodwork back in the Clark and Klock building.
“That may be the last commercial building in the historical district to have the original fixtures inside,” he said. “To those who know antiques and woodwork, it’s really pleasing to see that something like that has been saved for all this time in a building that was built about 117 years ago.”