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Editorial Results (free)

1. Landing Zone -

Beale Street Landing was supposed to cost far less than $43 million and be completed much sooner than the decade it took from the design competition.

But the head of the Riverfront Development Corp. overseeing the 6-acre landing and its construction says with the formal two-day opening of the landing starting Friday, June 27, the riverfront project at the foot of Beale Street and on the northern edge of Tom Lee Park should begin to counter critics of how the project has been managed.

2. U of M Names Presidential Search Panel -

A panel of Memphians to come up with three to five finalists for the University of Memphis presidency meets for the first time Dec. 4.

The panel of 22, appointed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, is being led by attorney Greg Duckett, senior vice president and corporate counsel of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and a member of the Board of Regents.

3. University of Memphis Names Presidential Search Panel -

A panel of Memphians to come up with three to five finalists for the University of Memphis presidency meets for the first time Dec. 4.

The panel of 22, appointed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, is being led by attorney Greg Duckett, senior vice president and corporate counsel of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and a member of the Board of Regents.

4. Martin Named Interim U of M President -

Brad Martin, the retired chairman and CEO of Saks Inc. and current chairman of the private investment firm RBM Venture Co., will be the interim president of the University of Memphis.

5. Kroc Center Opens to Big Crowds -

To cap off Healthy Heart Month, the new 100,000-square-foot Kroc Center held its open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony last weekend.

The state-of-the-art Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center has welcomed more than 10,000 visitors in its first few days.

6. Baptist, Methodist Help CBU With PA Studies Program -

Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare have partnered with Christian Brothers University to help address the Memphis area’s critical, growing demand for health care services.

7. ‘In This Together’ -

For some Memphis consumers, it’s a completely natural impulse to go out of the way to keep from going far away when there’s money to spend. Those particular consumers will run over a TCBY to get to YoLo, shove past a Starbucks to get their caffeine fix at Otherlands, Republic or Cafe Eclectic, hop over an IHOP to stand in line at Brother Juniper’s and dodge Dillard’s to suit up at shops like Oak Hall and James Davis.

8. Baptist’s Duckett Finds Professional Purpose in Service -

Attorney Greg Duckett is a man motivated by service to his community.

It is this commitment that has led him to the Tennessee Board of Regents, where he serves as vice chairman, membership on the Tennessee Election Commission and the boards of the Memphis College of Art, the National Civil Rights Museum and the Liberty Bowl Festival Association.

9. 'Power of the Dollar' Campaign Stresses Local Spending -

Some great ideas are so simple that they are overlooked until an economic crisis comes along.

But the creators of a new media campaign encouraging businesses to buy from each other locally is ringing loud and clear as Memphis considers its budget woes.

10. State Senate Panel Continues Probe of TBR Hiring Process -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Some members of the Tennessee Board of Regents acknowledged Wednesday that the process used to select the latest chancellor probably could have been carried out better to deflect criticism.

11. Senate Panel Continues Probe of TBR Hiring Process -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Some members of the Tennessee Board of Regents acknowledged Wednesday that the process used to select the latest chancellor probably could have been carried out better to deflect criticism.

12. Baptist Wage Suit Loses Class Action Status -

The suit alleging Baptist hospitals in Memphis engaged in unfair pay practices by making automatic meal deductions from employee paychecks and 30-minute payroll deductions for lunch breaks has lost its class action status.

13. Baptist Drops Opposition to Olive Branch Hospital -

Baptist Memorial Health Care will not appeal in court the Mississippi State Health Department’s decision allowing Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare to build a hospital in Olive Branch.

Baptist has opposed the plans for more than two years as Methodist sought a Certificate of Need from the state agency for the $137 million hospital. Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier approved the CON in late July.

14. CBU Adds Four Board Members -

The Board of Trustees at Christian Brothers University has announced four new members for the 2010-2011 year.

They are Greg Duckett, senior vice president and corporate counsel for Baptist Memorial Health Care System; Doug Marchant, founder, president and CEO of Unified Health Services; Pravin Thakkar, president and CEO of Universal Scaffolding & Equipment; and H. McCall Wilson Jr., president and CEO of the Bank of Fayette County.

15. Beale Street Report Overshadowed by Wilkins Flap - The handing over of the case files is still being worked out. So is a motion for a change of counsel. And the final invoice from attorney Ricky E. Wilkins for his work on the Chancery Court case involving the Beale Street Entertainment District is yet to come.

The decision by Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery to replace Wilkins comes at a crucial time in the long-running case.

Special Chancellor Don Harris is about to unseal a report on the entertainment district that has already been partially leaked. The report from Philadelphia accounting firm Parente Randolph was being prepared for release late last week as Wilkins and Lowery began a testy e-mail exchange that ended with Lowery firing Wilkins earlier this week.

For the past year or so of former Mayor Willie Herenton’s tenure, the city, represented by Wilkins, was zealously pursuing an accounting of money from Beale Street since 2002.

Money pit

The money is supposed to flow from the nightclubs on Beale Street to management company Performa Entertainment to the Beale Street Development Corp. and finally to the city. The money hasn’t flowed to the city at all, even though the city owns the district. On that, all sides agree.

The BSDC is the nonprofit board that holds the lease from the city, and Performa has a contract to run, manage and develop Beale Street with the BSDC.

Performa CEO John Elkington contends the district wasn’t profitable for a long time after its dedication in late 1983. Elkington said he and Performa put their own money into it. Under his contract, Elkington said he can and should recoup the money when the district turns a profit.

Wilkins contended in court that Performa mingled the Beale Street money with Performa ventures in other cities. It’s an allegation Elkington has adamantly denied.

“That’s nowhere in the report,” Elkington said in his only positive reference to the Parente Randolph findings.

Advocacy wars

The report by Paul Pocalyko, a principal of the accounting and consulting firm, concluded Performa owed the city of Memphis more than $6 million in profits from the district.

Press reports of Pocalyko’s multimillion-dollar bottom line had the political effect of stalling plans by Lowery to settle the lawsuit and fire City Attorney Elbert Jefferson.

“My overall goal is to save the taxpayers money,” Lowery said this week, denying that he is trying to “squash” the accounting of profits from the district. “If this case can be settled, I want it settled. If it must go to court, then it will go to court. But the overall goal is to improve the efficiency of this city.”

Elkington has been Beale Street’s developer since the district between Second and Fourth streets reopened 25 years ago.

“They spent $500,000 on an audit that is not an audit,” he said.

Elkington recently hired attorney John C. Speer, a member of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, to represent Performa.

Speer wouldn’t comment on the content of the Pocalyko report.

But he said, in general, the report mistakenly counted revenue, to the tune of millions of dollars, as due the city.

“That document is not an audit. It’s an opinion,” Speer said. “We are disappointed that it wasn’t an audit because we think an audit would have a credibility that would have supported the conclusion we have that there’s not any money owed to the city.”

Earlier this week, Speer was awaiting his own full copy of the report and both sides were still arguing about what would be redacted from it.

“The conclusions and opinions in there are not supported by fact,” Speer said. “They are opinions that are designed to support the position taken by the city’s attorney.”

That included approximately $2 million merchants made from selling wristbands over the seven-year period starting in 2002. The wristband sales allow patrons to get in several clubs for one cover charge.

“That money never goes to us. That’s $2.1 million,” Elkington told The Daily News. “So a third of what they are alleging went to the merchants.”

Another $900,000 was disallowed because it was a credit some tenants were given on their rent after they made property improvements. But Performa claims it has a 1991 letter with then-city chief administrative officer Greg Duckett approving the credit arrangement.

“What they’re trying to do is rewrite the lease,” Elkington said. “We’ve always said, ‘If we owe some money, we’ll pay it.’ … Right now, this is stuff that is conjecture.”

‘Black hole’

Lowery has said one of his first actions on taking office was to direct city Chief Administrative Officer Jack Sammons to find a way to settle the Beale Street lawsuit.

A settlement had been one of three priorities – along with a Mid-South Fairgrounds redevelopment contract and an agreement for Bass Pro Shops to develop The Pyramid – Herenton had set for his final weeks in office but never achieved.

Lowery had the same goal for his tenure, which lasts until the special election on Oct. 15 if he doesn’t win the right to fill out Herenton’s term.

Lowery’s immediate concern was millions of dollars the city was paying outside attorneys to pursue litigation. That concern was why Lowery tried to fire Jefferson within minutes of taking the oath of office on July 31. He held Jefferson responsible for what he termed a “black hole” of legal expenses approved on Jefferson’s watch as city attorney.

Lowery mentioned prominently the $35,000 a month to Wilkins and his law firm for work on the Beale Street case.

...

16. Nurse Wage-Fixing Suit Could Gain Traction From Similar Cases -

Lawyers representing nurses against Memphis hospitals in an alleged wage-fixing conspiracy have gotten a class action certification for a sister lawsuit they filed in Albany, N.Y., and are also pointing to another ruling in a similar case from Arizona.

17. Main Street’s Big Hole To Be Filled at Last -

Center City Commission president Jeff Sanford knew some developers and others doubted anything would get built anytime soon in the big hole at Gayoso Avenue and Main Street.

18. Council Members Raise Questions About Riverfront Control -

The Memphis City Council has signaled it may begin taking a more hands-on approach than it once did concerning the quasi-governmental entity that manages a five-mile stretch of riverfront Downtown.

19. Ward Named Judge of the Year by Bar Association -

The Criminal Law Section of the Memphis Bar Association recently presented Criminal Court Judge Mark Ward its judge of the year award. Ward presides over Division 9 of Shelby County's 30th Judicial District. Ward was appointed to the bench in 2004. Prior to that, he worked as an assistant public defender and in private practice. Ward's bachelor's degree in law enforcement and his law degree are both from the University of Memphis.

20. New machines to help avoid voting irregularities -

The Shelby County Election Commission voted 3-1 this week to recommend technology giant Diebold Inc. for the contract to purchase between 1,300 and 1,500 new voting machines in time for the August 2006 primary election.

21. Riverfront Development Corp. Elects New Officers -

The Riverfront Development Corp. named the following members to its board of directors: Kemp Conrad, Tomeka Hart and Dan Turley. The following members were elected as officers: Rick Masson, chairman; Greg Duckett, vice chairman; John Farris, secretary; Angus McEachran, assistant secretary; Bill Taylor, treasurer; and John Pontius, assistant treasurer.

22. Archived Article: Gov Focus - Major changes are being proposed for the way that Shelby County Election Commission is operated and the way it operates general elections

Election Chairman Favors Changes in System

ANDREW BELL

The Daily News

Major changes are being propo...

23. Archived Article: Memos - Memphs memos

Larry K. Scroggs joined Burch, Porter & Johnson as a member in the law firms litigation section. Scroggs has been in private practice since 1971. He earned a law degree from Vanderbilt University. He was a state representative fo...

24. Archived Article: Memos - Gail Spragins was named Methodist Healthcare director of associate relations in the human resources division

Gail Spragins was appointed Methodist Healthcare director of associate relations in the human resources division. She was director of org...

25. Archived Article: Habitat (lead) - By Stacey Wiedower Top hat, steel toes required for Habitat gala By Stacey Wiedower The Daily News Grab a hard hat and a bow tie and head over to the event with the most unique dress code in MemphisHabitat for Humanitys second annual Housewarming Ga...

26. Archived Article: Memos - Dr Dr. Bill Poston has been named vice president of clinical integration and quality for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp.s Memphis metropolitan area. He formerly was chief of staff for Baptist Memorial Hospital at its Medical Center and East Memph...

27. Archived Article: Memos - Benny Lendermon III, director of public works for the city of Memphis, has been named this years outstanding engineering alumnus by the Engineering Alumni Chapter of the University of Memphis Benny Lendermon III, director of public works for the cit...

28. Archived Article: Goals For Mem Chg - By CAMILLE H New leadership classes will benefit community By CAMILLE H. GAMBLE The Daily News Goals for Memphis announced Wednesday the creation of the Leadership Company, a new initiative which will offer leadership classes to executives and gover...

29. Archived Article: Govt Analys - 04-19 Govt analys Ford: the long good-bye By BERJE YACOUBIAN Special to The Daily News The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution adopted in 1791 clearly states "Congress shall make no laws...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.....

30. Archived Article: Memos - memos from 1/17 Tamara L. Hane has joined Bean & Ison, CPAs & Consultants as a staff accountant. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Martin, where she received her master of business administration degree in 1993. Prior to joini...