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VOL. 123 | NO. 134 | Thursday, July 10, 2008

Daily Digest

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Holiday Inn Select Fetches $8.3M

Riya Parikh Memphis LLC has bought the Holiday Inn Select at Memphis International Airport at 2240 Democrat Road for $8.3 million from Genwood Memphis II LLC. Riya Parikh Memphis LLC, which lists a Metuchen, N.J., address, financed the purchase with a $12.8 million loan from PNC Bank NA.

The roughly 200,000-square-foot hotel was built in 1974, has 374 guest rooms and suites plus 33,000 square feet of meeting space. It sits on 7.56 acres on the north side of Democrat, between Airways and Nonconnah boulevards.

Rajendra Parikh signed the trust deed as managing member for the buyer, and Jose Gallegos was named on the warranty deed. Gallegos, general manager of the hotel, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the sale.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2008 appraisal of the hotel is $6.7 million. Genwood Memphis II LLC bought the property in June 2006 for $10 million. The transaction also included an assignment of rents, leases and profits.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

LUCB to Hear Restaurant Request

At today’s Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board meeting, members are scheduled to hear a rezoning request for a commercial property in the Cooper-Young neighborhood to use as parking for a restaurant with alcohol sales. Kristina Ryan is the applicant for that project, which involves land on the east side of Cooper Street north of Walker Avenue.

The board also will hear a request from Spring Creek Ranch Club LLC to acquire a special permit that would allow a golf swing analysis and fitness studio on the south side of Monterey Road east of Collierville-Arlington Road.

The LUCB meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St. in the Memphis City Council chambers.

Fannie, Freddie Sink On Capital Concerns

Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell Wednesday amid continuing fears the mortgage finance companies will be forced to sell more new shares than anticipated to compensate for losses from the housing slump.

The two government-chartered companies have been operating under a cloud of uncertainty in recent weeks, and their shares plunged Monday to levels not seen since the early 1990s amid concerns an accounting rule change would force them to raise as much as $75 billion in new capital.

While those concerns subsided Tuesday amid reassurances from the companies’ chief government regulator, fears remain that housing troubles will continue to worsen, forcing Fannie and Freddie to sell so many shares that current investors would see the value of their existing stake decline.

“There’s a lot of nervousness about whether or not they have adequate capital to withstand the credit crisis,” said Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst Howard Shapiro, adding that he is “pretty comfortable” in the companies’ planned and completed capital-raising efforts.

While the government is widely expected to stand behind Fannie and Freddie’s debt should the companies be unable to meet their obligations, analysts say shareholders could be wiped out in the event of a severe crisis.

Investors finally are realizing that the housing market’s troubles are not confined to subprime loans made to borrowers with poor credit and increasingly will affect loans bought or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie, said Joshua Rosner, managing director of research firm Graham, Fisher & Co.

“There’s an increasing recognition that as they have to raise capital, investors are going to be diluted,” Rosner said.

Washington-based Fannie Mae raised more than $7 billion earlier this year to fortify its balance sheet. McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac plans to raise $5.5 billion, but has been waiting to initiate the offerings because its stock is not yet registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company had been exempted from SEC registration due to its status as a government-chartered company. Freddie had proposed to register with the SEC in 2002, but that process was put on hold due to a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal that came to light in 2003.

Blackburn’s Campaign Gains NRA Endorsement

A new feature was added Tuesday to the campaign Web site of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn: a large emblem of the National Rifle Association.

The gun lobby has announced its endorsement of Blackburn, the Republican incumbent in Tennessee’s 7th congressional district running for re-election, calling her a “great friend to Tennessee gun owners and hunters.” Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm, said Blackburn’s signing of a “friend of the court” brief in the recent U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down a Washington gun ban was one reason for the group’s support.

Blackburn is facing Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood in the Aug. 7 primary election.

Ophelia Ford Must Retake Funeral Director Exam

State Sen. Ophelia Ford called a decision to make her reapply for her expired funeral director’s license a “grave insult” and has vowed to work to revise state laws on the issue.

The Memphis Democrat argued she should be given more leeway for missing a renewal deadline because she had been seriously ill. Ford missed much of the last two legislative sessions with what she described as a severe case of anemia and a bleeding ulcer.

But the state Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers on Tuesday denied Ford’s request, so she must now take a 50-question exam as part of her reapplication for a funeral director’s license.

She can still work as an assistant at the Memphis funeral home, but she can’t actively counsel families or make funeral arrangements until her license is reinstated.

Board member David Murphy said the panel was sympathetic to Ford’s case but couldn’t bend the rules for her because it would “compromise the principles this board stands for and violate the law.”

“We cannot solve your problem,” he said.

Ford was upset by the decision and vowed to work to change the law.

“I cannot allow what has happened to me to happen to anyone else,” she said. “It is terribly unfair that any board would not have the discretion to look at what has taken place with a person. I think it’s a grave insult and a shame that anyone would have their license taken from them under circumstances such as mine.”

Ford replaced her brother, John Ford, in the Senate in 2006 after he was indicted and eventually convicted in the Tennessee Waltz corruption sting.

John Ford is currently on trial again in Nashville on unrelated federal corruption charges.

The Fords’ parents founded the South Memphis funeral home N.J. Ford and Sons. Ophelia Ford’s license was issued in 1997 and expired on July 1, 2007.

St. Jude Receives Grant For Brain Tumor Research

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital a $226,800 grant.

The National Cancer Institute, a division of HHS, awarded the grant to support research being conducted by Dr. Heather M. Conklin, a pediatric neuropsychologist and assistant member of the St. Jude faculty in the Brain Tumor Program. Conklin is studying memory function and performance among childhood brain tumor survivors.

State Agency Approves Four-Day Work Week

The Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole recently approved a four-day work week to help employees wrestling with high fuel prices.

Parole board spokeswoman Melissa McDonald said supervisors will look at individual units and employees to gauge the effectiveness of the change.

The agency, which has about 1,110 employees, will keep its standard Monday through Friday schedule. McDonald said not everyone will be eligible.

She said those who qualify likely will work 9.5 hours for three days and one nine-hour day.

According to the Tennessee Department of Human Resources, any state agency can implement a four-day work week with approval from their commissioner. The agency must keep a Monday through Friday schedule.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 68 321 13,763
MORTGAGES 79 340 15,906
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 44 2,183
BUILDING PERMITS 265 765 28,522
BANKRUPTCIES 49 227 8,877
BUSINESS LICENSES 28 113 4,678
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 25 118 5,511
MARRIAGE LICENSES 16 73 2,967

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