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VOL. 123 | NO. 147 | Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Daily Digest

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California Investor Buys Cordova Body Shop

Bonsall, Calif.-based Optoprecision Profit Sharing Trust has bought an ABRA Auto Body and Glass store in Cordova for $1.2 million from Richard Lynch. The 5,645-square-foot shop sits on 0.47 acres at 7980 Patriot Drive on the west side of Germantown Parkway between Trinity and Macon roads.

The sale closed July 21, with Optoprecision financing the purchase with a $920,000 loan from Renasant Bank. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2008 assessment of the shop and adjoining parking lot is $356,700.

Rex Wamble of Wamble & Co., which represented the buyer, said Optoprecision was attracted to the property “strictly as an investment.”

“A good, solid company like this with a triple-net lease is what we call in the business ‘clipping coupons’ – ABRA makes an automatic bank deposit of their rent check the first day of every month,” Wamble said. “Basically that’s it. It’s a guaranteed percentage return plus the depreciation factor.”

Optoprecision owns another ABRA shop on Covington Pike, as well as office buildings at 2552 and 2600 Poplar Ave.

The seller, Lynch, said the decision to shed the property was aimed at restructuring his investment portfolio.

“I’m just diversifying, putting some money into some other properties and other things,” Lynch said. “I’ve got several other ABRA Auto Body’s, this just happened to be one of them I was liquidating. It wasn’t anything against the company – I love the company – and the area is fine; I was just diversifying.”

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Race Still an Issue In Cohen’s Bid

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen faces his first re-election challenge in next month’s Democratic primary, and race is again at the heart of the fight.

But unabashed complaints that a white person cannot represent a majority black city have lessened. Now Cohen’s opponents focus on a more subtle call for “diversity” – in Congress and on Tennessee’s all-white congressional delegation.

“They’re trying to stay away from the racial part of it because they don’t want to go there, but when you boil it down, you can’t get away from it,” said Sidney Chism, a campaign adviser for Cohen’s top challenger, Nikki Tinker.

After Cohen’s 2006 victory, which followed a splintered primary vote among a dozen black candidates, critics complained loudly that Tennessee’s 9th District deserved an African-American representative in Washington. The district is 60 percent black and 35 percent white.

Cohen has spent 24 years in the state Senate, representing a heavily black district, and earned a reputation as an equal rights advocate. In Congress, he has voted consistently with liberal Democrats and been an outspoken opponent to the war in Iraq.

Tinker, general counsel for Pinnacle Airlines and a former campaign aide of Harold Ford Jr., never has held elective office and is tying her campaign to Obama’s call for change in Washington.

Her TV ads play up humble beginnings growing up in Alabama with a single mother and disabled grandmother. She argues her campaign is not about race but adds that her supporters hunger for more racial diversity in Congress.

Of Tennessee’s nine House districts, “this is the only one where African-Americans have even enough courage to stand up and run,” she said during a televised debate.

Cohen is one of two representatives from majority black districts. The other is Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa. But Cohen is alone in having followed a black predecessor into office. Ford previously represented the district.

Bush Admin. Projects Record 2009 Deficit

The next president will inherit a record budget deficit approaching $490 billion, according to a new Bush administration estimate.

An administration official said the deficit was being driven to an all-time high by the sagging economy and the stimulus payments being made to 130 million households in an effort to keep the country from falling into a deep recession. A deficit approaching $490 billion would easily surpass the record deficit of $413 billion set in 2004.

The official revealed the $490 billion figure Monday on condition of anonymity because the new estimate had not been formally released. Administration officials were scheduled to do that at a news conference later in the day.

The new figure actually underestimates the deficit, since it leaves out about $80 billion in war costs. In a break from tradition – and in violation of new mandates from Congress – the White House did not include its full estimate of war costs.

White House press secretary Dana Perino had no comment on the $490 billion figure.

The White House had included cost estimates for an economic stimulus bill in its earlier projections, so the new figures represent a considerable deterioration in the government’s fiscal health.

The White House had predicted in February that next year’s deficit would be $407 billion, which means the increase in the projections since then would approach $80 billion or so. Figures for the 2008 budget year ending Sept. 30 may also set a record.

ServiceMaster Franchise Honored for Performance

Local ServiceMaster franchise ServiceMaster Building Maintenance has been honored with two awards at the company’s international convention in Orlando.

The ServiceMaster Clean parent company presented the President’s Cabinet Award to owners Chris McCall, Jim Black and Kyle Corbin of ServiceMaster Building Maintenance and their service team for owning the largest ServiceMaster Clean contract janitorial cleaning franchise in the world.

The President’s Cabinet Award recognizes the top performing franchise owners from more than 4,500 businesses worldwide.

In addition to the President’s Cabinet Award, ServiceMaster Clean presented the Service Partner of the Year Award. The award recognizes service partners working as regular facility cleaners who demonstrate excellence in their work and who are known for caring roles among community and family.

Albert Wright, service partner for ServiceMaster Building Maintenance, was selected for the honor after receiving ServiceMaster’s regional Service Partner of the Year award earlier this year. He is a service partner on the event staff of FedExForum and has worked for ServiceMaster Building Maintenance for more than a year.

Lansky Bros. Recognized For Innovative Work

Memphis retailer Lansky Bros. was honored July 21 at The Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City with an achievement award from men’s fashion trade publication MR Magazine.

The Uptown/Downtown Awards are presented to retailers who have shown innovation in their work.

Karen Alberg Grossman, MR’s editor in chief, when presenting the award, described the stores’ history in Downtown Memphis and influence on fashion around the world.

Lansky Bros. has outfitted such musicians as Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes, Robert Plant, B.B. King and Elvis Presley.

The stores are run by three generations of Lanskys, which include Bernard, son Hal and granddaughter Julie.

Highway Fund Drops As Americans Cut Driving

The soaring price of fuel and other strains on the U.S. economy have caused Americans to cut back sharply on driving, which jeopardizes the federal fund for building and repairing the country’s highways.

The federal highway trust fund, which relies on per-gallon taxes that don’t rise with price, faces a multibillion dollar shortfall next year, down from a surplus of more than $10 billion just three years ago.

According to Federal Highway Administration data released Monday, Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer miles in May 2008 than in May 2007, the third-largest monthly drop in the 66 years the data has been collected.

The May decline continues a seven-month decrease in driving that has amounted to 40.5 billion fewer miles traveled since November compared with the same period a year earlier.

May’s drop comes during a month that traffic usually rises because of the Memorial Day holiday and the start of the summer vacation season.

Americans not only are cutting back on their own driving. They are increasingly using fuel-efficient vehicles, carpooling and taking mass transportation.

Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said in a statement Monday that the drop in driving miles demonstrates that the federal gas tax is no longer sufficient to finance the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

The highway trust fund gets 18.4 cents per gallon from gasoline sales and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel sales.

Last week, the House approved by a veto-proof margin an $8 billion infusion into the highway trust fund for the fiscal year beginning in October.

Reps. Jerry Lewis of California and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, top Republicans on the appropriations and budget committees, have criticized the bill for redirecting funds from the general Treasury that should be used for other priorities.

PROPERTY SALES 0 211 21,788
MORTGAGES 0 164 16,581
BANKRUPTCIES 0 100 6,817