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VOL. 125 | NO. 104 | Friday, May 28, 2010

Daily Digest

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Golden State Star Buys Wright’s Old Home

Professional basketball player Monta Ellis, a Mississippi native who now plays for the Golden State Warriors, has bought the Eads home once owned by former University of Memphis Tigers and Memphis Grizzlies star Lorenzen Wright.

The move comes just months after reports that the Grizzlies offered to trade O.J. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet for Ellis. The deal never happened.

Ellis, who was born and raised in Jackson, Miss., and Juanika M. Amos paid $1.7 million for the custom-built, 12,475-square-foot house that sits on 6.46 acres on Mountain Brook Cove near Raleigh-LaGrange and Reid Hooker roads. The sale closed May 21.

The seller was BankTennessee, which had foreclosed the home in May 2009 when Wright and his wife, Sherra, defaulted on a $2.7 million construction loan dated May 16, 2006.

The two-story, 17-room home was completed in 2008. Its current appraised value is $2.8 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

BankTennessee bought the home out of foreclosure for $1.3 million and then listed it for $2.5 million through Crye-Leike Realtors Inc.’s Quail Hollow office.

Ellis and Amos financed the purchase with a $1.2 million loan through Copiah Bank.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Eric Smith

CCC to Vote On Contract for New President

The Center City Commission board of directors is scheduled to vote on a contract for the Downtown agency’s new president and CEO, Paul Morris, at the board’s meeting Friday.

The board tapped Morris, a Memphis attorney, earlier this month to replace outgoing president and CEO Jeff Sanford.

The CCC board meets Friday at noon at the CCC office, 114 North Main St.

Andy Meek

GTx CEO Upbeat Despite Drug Setback

Dr. Mitch Steiner, the chief executive officer of GTx Inc., said the company is moving ahead with the other drug therapies it is developing after one intended to prevent prostate cancer did not show significant results in a clinical study.

Over the next six months, the company expects to report news on the other potential therapies.

They include drugs to prevent muscle wasting in cancer treatments, to prevent bone fractures in men undergoing hormone deprivation therapy for prostate cancer and a first-line treatment for prostate cancer.

“In terms of news flow, there’s a lot of activity,” Steiner told The Daily News. “In our business, even getting regulatory clarity is news flow.”

By August, the company expects to announce what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will require for a late-stage clinical trial of Ostarine, the drug for muscle wasting.

Also this summer, GTx expects news from the FDA on guidelines for a second Phase III clinical trial of the tormifene 80 mg to prevent bone fractures.

The company expects to report data mid-summer on GTx-758, the potential first-line treatment for prostate cancer. GTx hopes in the third or fourth quarter to meet with the FDA about his treatment.

The company could begin Phase II trials of that drug in the first quarter of next year.

The stock of GTx plunged by more than 30 percent Wednesday to around $2 a share after the company announced disappointing results of the drug therapy to prevent prostate cancer.

The stock was still hovering in that range in midday trading on Thursday.

Tom Wilemon

Community Foundation Approves Several Grants

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis has approved $77,500 in grants from its Partnership Fund and plans to distribute another $150,000 in grants.

The $150,000 will be awarded and distributed among nonprofit organizations for staffing, planning and operational needs.

Officials with organizations interested in seeking the grants should attend pre-application workshops at 9 a.m. June 9 and 4 p.m. on June 10 at the Community Foundation headquarters, 1900 Union Ave.

For details about the grant criteria, visit www.cfgm.org.

The $77,500 in grants awarded went to The Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence ($15,000), the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis ($25,000), the Mid-South American Humanics Collaborative ($10,000), Partners for the Homeless ($15,000) and Volunteer Mid-South ($12,500).

— Tom Wilemon

Memphis Student Wins TBA Essay Contest

The Memphis senior Matthew Street, who recently graduated from First Assembly Christian School in Cordova, has won first place in an annual essay contest sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association. Second place went to eleventh-grader Joel Avey of McCallie School in Chattannoga.

In an art contest for elementary and middle school students, Ason Jones, an eighth-grader at Wooddale Middle School, took second place.

Each year, the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division holds a statewide art and essay contest in conjunction with Law Day, a national day set aside on May 1 to celebrate the rule of law.

Established by Dwight Eisenhower in 1958, Law Day provides an opportunity for young people to learn about the law and the American judicial system and an opportunity for lawyers to serve their communities.

The theme of this year’s contest was “Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges.

Students were asked to consider how society can honor long-standing traditions in the law while addressing new issues and situations that might challenge old ways of doing things.

Rebekah Hearn

Tenn Court of the Judiciary Names New Head Counsel

The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary has named federal prosecutor Timothy Discenza as its new chief disciplinary counsel.

Discenza will be responsible for reviewing complaints against judges, conducting investigations and prosecuting formal charges, according to a news release from the court.

Discenza, of Memphis, has served as a U.S. Justice Department prosecutor for 33 years. He is also an adjunct professor of law for the University of Memphis School of Law, where he earned his law degree.

Discenza will begin serving on July 1 when current counsel Steve Daniel steps down.

The chief disciplinary counsel is not a state employee but a contractor appointed by the Court of the Judiciary.

— The Associated Press

Farmers Group to Maintain McWherter Monument

The Future Farmers of America has agreed to maintain the site of a monument of former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter.

The 7-foot-tall statue is to be unveiled this fall on the courthouse lawn in Dresden. The former governor has asked that no taxpayer dollars be used to keep up the site.

Fundraising has surpassed the $150,00 needed to pay for the monument, according to radio station WCMT. The sculpture's bronzing is expected to be completed by August.

The 79-year-old McWherter was governor from 1987 to 1995 following 20 years in the state Legislature.

— The Associated Press

Ark. Jury Acquits Ex-Judge of Theft Charges

A Jefferson County jury has acquitted a former county judge of four counts of theft of property.

After deliberating for about 90 minutes Wednesday, the jury found former Judge Jack Jones not guilty, saying he did not knowingly or willingly conceal the offenses of which he had been accused, which means he could not be convicted.

Jones had been charged with using county resources for work on both private and personal property during his final eight years in office. He was a county judge from 1989 to 2006.

Jones says he was humbled by the jury's verdict and says he's been set free after being "bound up for a while."

Special Prosecutor Robert Dittrich of Stuttgart says he never questions the wisdom of a jury verdict.

He says he knew the concealment issue would be difficult to prove.

— The Associated Press

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