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VOL. 122 | NO. 116 | Friday, June 22, 2007

Daily Digest

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Regions Begins Foreclosure Of Millbranch Road Church

     Regions Bank has begun foreclosure proceedings on a Millbranch Road church.
     St. Joseph Baptist Church Inc. property at 3628 Millbranch Road is slated for a July 13 foreclosure auction, according to a first-run foreclosure notice in today's Daily News.
     The 1.96-acre site is on the east side of Millbranch south of Singing Trees Drive, in Whitehaven's 38116 ZIP code. The property houses a 3,532-square-foot building, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports. The building has five bedrooms and three bathrooms, according to Chandler data.
     The Shelby County Assessor, which lists the property
     as being used for religious purposes, appraised it in 2007 at $175,600.
     AmSouth Bank - which merged with Regions Financial Corp. in November - sold the property to St. Joseph in June 2006 for $170,000. St. Joseph financed the purchase with a $138,327 loan through AmSouth - the loan on which St. Joseph is now in default, according to the notice.
     The property was last sold at a foreclosure sale in March 2005, when AmSouth bought it for $181,000. The defaulted borrower then was Prayer Power of Faith Holiness Church.
     To read the entire notice, turn to Page 24 in today's Daily News.

Equity Inns to be Acquired For $1.26B in Cash

     Hotel real estate investment trust Equity Inns Inc. of Germantown said Thursday it agreed to be purchased by an affiliate of Whitehall Street Global Real Estate Limited Partnership 2007 for about $1.26 billion in cash.
     The transaction includes the assumption of $940 million in debt.
     Equity has about 54.7 million shares outstanding, according to Thomson Financial.
     The purchase price of $23 per share is an approximately 28 percent premium over Equity's 90-day average closing share price and a premium of about 19 percent over its closing price of $19.36 Wednesday.
     There is no financing condition to close the acquisition.
     The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to certain conditions including Equity shareholder approval.

State Tax Liens Filed Against Medshares

     More state tax liens have been filed against Medshares Nursing Services and its seemingly affiliated companies. Eight state tax liens have been filed against Medshares affiliates, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.
     The notices of the state tax liens filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds state the "lien exists on all property and all rights, title and interest in property acquired prior to or subsequent to the filing of this notice that belongs to the named taxpayer."
     Tennessee Department of Revenue officials have said they do not put dollar amounts on their liens and the amount is not public record.
     The addresses listed include 2714 Union Ave. Extended, the same address listed on a state tax lien filed against the company a couple of weeks ago. Other addresses for the Medshares-affiliated companies are 174 Collins St. and 2430 Poplar Ave.
     Last year, Medshares sold its assets to Intrepid USA of Minnesota after failing to reorganize in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy started in 1999. In the process, the company left behind more than 100,000 medical records in storage facilities in Byhalia, Miss., and Collierville.
     Attempts to verify that the companies are related were unsuccessful as numbers listed for the companies at the listed addresses have been disconnected.

Commercial Sales Decline 22.7 Percent for May

     First it was residential sales, now it's commercial. Shelby County real estate in both categories has been sluggish this spring, according to the latest data from real estate information service Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.
     The number of commercial real estate sales fell 22.7 percent from May 2006 to May 2007, although the total dollar amount and average sales price figures did rise.
     There were just 85 sales totaling $213.5 million this May versus 110 sales totaling $168.4 million last May. The average sales price rose 39 percent, from $1.5 million to $2.5 million.
     May sales also were down from the previous month of April, which saw 115 transactions totaling $176.7 million.
     The year-to-date numbers, however, look promising. There have been 516 commercial sales totaling $1.3 billion, compared to the year-to-date stats as of May 31, 2006, which were 434 sales totaling just $675.5 million.

Special Prosecutor Appointed To Investigate Mayor Sex Plot

     Officials have appointed a special prosecutor to investigate a nightclub waitress' claim that a prominent attorney paid her to entangle the Memphis mayor in a sex scandal.
     The Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference on Wednesday appointed retired District Attorney Joseph Baugh to examine Gwendolyn Smith's claim that attorney Richard Fields offered her $150,000 to lure Mayor Willie Herenton to have sex and to videotape the encounter.
     Baugh, a Franklin native, was elected in 1982 and 1990 as attorney general for the 21st District, which includes Hickman, Lewis, Perry and Williamson counties.
     He is now in private practice in Franklin but performs pro tem work for the district attorneys conference, which has the authority to appoint special prosecutors to investigate criminal complaints.
     Smith reported the alleged plot to Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, who requested a special prosecutor investigate the matter because some of the alleged participants have contributed to his campaign committee.
     Herenton charged in a June 14 news conference that political enemies, whom he refused to name, conspired to involve him in a sex scandal to undermine his chances for re-election in October to a fifth term.
     Herenton, who is the city's first elected black mayor, also said he thought a conspiracy could be racially motivated.
     Smith, 29, was arrested Friday on charges of smoking marijuana while on probation and for an unrelated 2004 forgery conviction.
     She was sentenced in Nashville Wednesday to 18 months in jail for the parole violation.

Peete Pleads Guilty To Accepting Bribes

     Former Memphis City Council member Rickey Peete picked up his second public corruption conviction Wednesday and now faces a return to federal prison.
     Peete, 52, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes for his City Council votes on a real estate project.
     Peete was accused of taking $14,500 in bribes in 2006 to help get the council's approval for a real estate and highway billboard project.
     He was indicted in December at the same time similar charges were filed against fellow council member Edmund Ford, who remains on the council. Peete resigned from office last month.
     Peete previously was convicted on a federal extortion charge in 1989, also while on the City Council, and drew a sentence of two and a half years. He was charged then with soliciting a bribe for a zoning vote.
     His voting rights were restored after he got out of prison, and he was re-elected to the council in 1995.
     Peete will be sentenced Sept. 20 for this latest conviction.

ALSAC to Commemorate 50-Year Anniversary

     ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, will celebrate its 50-year anniversary today and Saturday during its national convention in Memphis.
     The two-day event will feature more than 1,000 donors and volunteers from across the country who will be thanked for their support and have the opportunity to hear inspirational stories about the hospital's life-saving work.
     The convention also will commemorate the life of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas, who in 1957 founded the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) to raise the money needed to operate and maintain St. Jude.
     Over the past 50 years, ALSAC has grown into the third-largest health care charity in America, raising more than $500 million a year to fund the hospital's daily operating cost of more than $1.2 million.
     With its national headquarters in Memphis and regional offices across the United States, ALSAC helps organize more than 30,000 events a year and manages dozens of national fundraising programs with the help of more than one million volunteers. These programs range from Country Cares for St. Jude Kids radiothons and St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway events to math-a-thons and galas.

Methodist South Given Premier Award for Quality

     Methodist South Hospital announced it has been recognized by the Premier Healthcare Alliance with the 2007 Premier Award for Quality for its excellence in patient care in the Maternal and Neonatal Care department.
     Michael Ugwueke, administrator and chief executive officer of Methodist South Hospital, accepted the award Tuesday at the 2007 Premier Annual Breakthroughs Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.
     Methodist South was the only hospital in Tennessee to receive the award.
     "It really validates the exceptional care that our associates provide for all our patients every day," said Ugwueke in a statement. "We are honored to be considered an industry leader in obstetrical services by an external organization like Premier based on quality and efficiency."
     Awarded in six clinical areas, the Premier Award for Quality is based on quality and cost data regularly submitted to Premier for reporting and benchmarking purposes. The clinical areas considered for the Premier Award are Hip and/or Knee Replacement Procedures, Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG), Heart Failure (HF), Pneumonia (PN), Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) and Maternal and Neonatal Care (Pregnancy).

Baker Donelson Attorneys Honored by Chambers USA

     The 2007 edition of business lawyer directory Chambers USA has named 28 attorneys at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC as leading practitioners. Attorneys from the firm's offices in Memphis, Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, Johnson City, Tenn., Jackson, Miss. and Nashville were recognized in the directory.
     Memphis attorneys recognized were Mary L. Aronov, Leo Bearman Jr. and Robert C. Liddon Jr.

This report compiled by Rosalind Guy with contributions from reporters Andy Meek, Eric Smith and Amy O. Williams, research analyst Kate Simone, editorial assistant Rebekah Hearn and The Associated Press.
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 98 172 17,556
MORTGAGES 101 194 20,229
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 9 2,654
BUILDING PERMITS 0 126 36,072
BANKRUPTCIES 51 114 11,278
BUSINESS LICENSES 26 58 5,767
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 6,715
MARRIAGE LICENSES 17 68 3,984