Texarkana, Arkansas, Board Member Laney Harris was censured by his fellow board members this week, in part because of a dispute over a lawnmower.

According to multiple news reports, Harris wasn't happy that a Texarkana woman recently ended a romantic relationship with him.  According to a harassment complaint filed by the woman, Harris allegedly came to her home repeatedly, demanding that she come outside to talk to him.  He wanted her to return a lawnmower that he had loaned to her.  The woman explained that the mower had been stolen from her yard, but that didn't seem to satisfy Harris who began to sit in front of the woman's home. She also accused him of using profanity in the presence of her 8-year old grandchild.

There were two other incidents cited in the censure notice.  One involved Harris clandestinely taking pictures of vendors while they were setting up their booths for RailFest.  When approached by event coordinators who asked what he was doing, a verbal confrontation ensued. In the other event, Harris led a group of people on an unauthorized walk-through of a city-owned building that the city is trying to revive.

As part of the censure, Harris was removed from the Advertising and Promotion Commission.  Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell said the censure is to let Harris and the public know that the city does not condone his behavior.  The letter of censure will be mailed this week.

Harris has issued a formal statement denying the claims, and says the city is trying to "silence him."




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