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VOL. 124 | NO. 95 | Friday, May 15, 2009

Daily Digest

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Carriage Crossing Jewelry Store Sells

The Jared the Galleria of Jewelry store adjacent to Collierville’s Avenue Carriage Crossing has sold for $2.8 million in a special warranty deed to Philip Brabyn of Naples, Fla. Brabyn bought the outparcel property at 4615 Merchants Park Circle from Carriage Avenue LLC, which developed the open-air mall. The sale date was May 6.

The jewelry store sits on a 1-acre parcel that was subdivided from a 2.49-acre parcel in the Price Farm Planned Development Phase 2G, which is part of Parcel 4 of the Carriage Avenue LLC property. It sits between Houston Levee Road and Merchants Park Circle, a road that loops around the mall.

Brabyn financed the purchase with a $1.1 million loan dated May 8 through Financial Federal Savings Bank, and the deed of trust also included a security agreement and assignment of rents and leases.

Attempts to reach the buyer and seller were unsuccessful by press time.

Jared the Galleria of Jewelry is a division of Akron, Ohio-based Sterling Jewelers Inc. Jared has three Memphis-area stores.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

SEC May Act Against Morgan Keegan

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sent a Wells Notice in March to Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc, signaling the agency may soon launch a civil action against the Memphis-based unit of Regions Financial Corp.

Regions disclosed Morgan Keegan’s receipt of the SEC’s notification in a regulatory filing the Alabama-based bank made this week.

A Wells Notice is a letter the SEC sends to targets of potential civil enforcement proceedings, and the targets then have the opportunity to formally respond and explain why they believe action is not necessary. The letter is not a formal allegation of wrongdoing.

The notification sent to Morgan Keegan came out of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office and focused on the Memphis brokerage firm’s sale of auction-rate securities.

Auction-rate debt includes an interest rate reset regularly at auctions. Brokers of the debt fell under scrutiny last year after regulators began to explore whether investors had been given an accurate picture of its safety and volatility.

The Wells Notice to Morgan Keegan indicates the SEC is focused on the “adequacy of disclosures of the liquidity risks associated with (auction-rate securities) and whether the firm sold a significant volume of ARS after its ability to support auctions was diminished,” Regions disclosed this week.

Morgan Keegan spokeswoman Kathy Ridley said the firm has cooperated extensively with the SEC regarding the auction-rate issue.

“We’ve worked pretty aggressively with issuers on securities that we underwrote in working to refund a significant portion of those outstanding issues,” Ridley said. “We have also initiated a voluntary repurchase program focused on holdings in individual investor accounts, and we’ve bought back about $28 million in securities so far this year.”

MBA Receives Award For Minority Intern Program

The Memphis Bar Association has been selected as a 2009 recipient of the American Bar Association’s Partnership Award for its High School Summer Law Intern Program.

The ABA Partnership Award Program honors bar association projects that increase the participation and advancement of lawyers of color in the organized bar and attract students of color to the legal profession.

The awards program is open to all bar associations that demonstrate how their efforts nurture or increase racial and ethnic diversity in the legal community.

The MBA’s Diversity Committee created the High School Summer Law Intern Program in 2007. The MBA’s goal is to expose minority high school students to the practice of law and careers in the field.

Tenn. Handguns in Bars Bill Headed to Governor

A proposal that would allow Tennessee handgun permit holders to bring their weapons into any establishment that serves alcohol is headed to the governor for his consideration.

The Senate on Thursday approved a conference committee report on a 24-7 vote.

Both chambers agreed to leave out provisions that would impose an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for carrying handguns where alcohol is served and to keep a total ban on establishments that enforce age-restricted entry.

Gov. Phil Bredesen spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said the governor will review the legislation once it reaches his desk.

The Senate also passed legislation 26-3 that would allow judges with handgun permits to carry their weapons during judicial proceedings.

The bills, HB0962, HB0082 and SB0019 are available at http://www.capitol.tn.gov.

Documents: Paulson Forced Nine Bank CEOs to Take TARP

The chief executives of the country’s nine largest banks had no choice but to accept capital infusions from the U.S. Treasury Department in October, government documents released Wednesday have confirmed.

Obtained and released by Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan educational foundation, the documents revealed “talking points” used by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson during the Oct. 13 meeting between federal officials and the executives that stressed the investments would be required “in any circumstance,” whether the banks found them appealing or not.

Paulson also told the bankers it would not be prudent to opt out of the program because doing so “would leave you vulnerable and exposed.”

It’s no secret that some of the banks had to be pressured to participate in the program, and several bank CEOs have said they had been strongly encouraged to take the funds. But the documents are the first proof of the government’s insistence.

“These documents show our government exercising unrestrained power over the private sector,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.

A phone call to the Treasury for comment was not immediately returned Thursday morning.

The outcome of that meeting – which resulted in the government taking direct stakes in the banks through $125 billion in preferred stock purchases – marked a shift in the government’s strategy to fixing the financial system.

The Treasury first had decided to use a chunk of the $700 billion financial bailout package to pay for taking partial ownership stakes in banks, rather than using the money to buy rotten debts from financial institutions. The idea was that the investments would instill confidence in the system and get banks to lend again following the credit market freeze.

The banks initially required to accept the funds were Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., State Street Corp., Bank of New York Mellon and Bank of America Corp., including the soon-to-be-acquired Merrill Lynch.

The Treasury so far has invested $199.1 billion in more than 550 of the nation’s banks, according to government data. Of that amount, $1.16 billion has been returned by 12 institutions.

Several other recipients of the funds, including JPMorgan and American Express Co., have stressed their desire to return the money as soon as possible. The funds have become burdensome for banks because of increased government scrutiny and limits on compensation that are contingent with the investment.

Coppertone Introducing New Antioxidant Product

Schering-Plough is introducing Coppertown NutraShield with Dual Defense, a new line of sunscreens enriched with antioxidants to help promote natural skin repair.

The formula neutralizes harmful free radicals created by ultraviolet ray exposure. The company reported a study showed the formula reduced free radical formation by 74 percent in skin exposed to UV light.

The New Jersey-based company makes and distributes Coppertone from Memphis, where its consumer health products division is based.

Methodist to Hold Family Grief Camp

Methodist Hospice is taking applications for Camp BraveHearts, a three-day family grief camp to help children ages six to 16 and their parents cope with the death of a family member or friend.

The camp will be held June 4-6 at St. Columbia Episcopal Conference and Retreat Center, 4577 Billy Maher Road. Camp BraveHearts is free. For details, call 516-1744.

PROPERTY SALES 90 156 6,702
MORTGAGES 61 139 4,268
BANKRUPTCIES 40 85 3,481