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VOL. 123 | NO. 209 | Friday, October 24, 2008

Daily Digest

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Aintree Farms Set To Replace Clubhouse

The Aintree Farms subdivision in Germantown will rebuild its clubhouse, which burned down two years ago in an electrical fire. The neighborhood this week filed a $1.3 million permit application with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement to build the 7,100-square-foot facility. Its address will be 3310 Winners Circle.

Construction will begin as soon as a few details are worked out, said Don Herring, vice president of the homeowners’ association for the roughly 20-year-old gated subdivision.

“We’re waiting on final cost estimates,” Herring said. “We hope to get the financials and make sure we’re in line with the money we got from our insurance people hopefully in the next week or so. We hope to break ground immediately after that.”

The new clubhouse will resemble the old one, with an English equestrian theme. It will include three rooms that can be separated or joined together for one large space, accommodating up to 300 people for events like weddings.

It also will have a sauna and steam room, a fully equipped weight and exercise room, and bathroom facilities for people using the pool. A clubhouse door will lead to the pool area.

Herring said construction is expected to last about six months, with opening set for April or May. Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC is contractor for the project, and Fleming/Associates/Architects PC is architect.

Herring touted the “uniqueness” of the old clubhouse, namely the fact that it was originally used as a breeding barn for thoroughbred horses.

“The new one is going to have some of the same character,” Herring said, adding that it will be compliant with the

Americans with Disabilities Act. “We put a lot of thought into it and probably looked at 12 or 15 different designs before we decided on that one.”

More details on the project and the subdivision can be found at www.aintree-farms.com.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

County Jobless Rate Up in September

The September unemployment rate for Shelby County was 7.4 percent, up from 7.2 percent in August, according to data released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The figure was slightly above the statewide rate of 7.2 percent for September. The statewide figure is up significantly from a year ago when the jobless rate was 4.9 percent.

The average worker’s hourly earnings averaged $14.84 in Tennessee, up eight cents from August. The average workweek of 41 hours remained the same.

US Foreclosure Filings Up 71 Percent in Q3

The number of homeowners ensnared in the foreclosure crisis grew by more than 70 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2007, according to data released Thursday.

Nationwide, nearly 766,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice from July through September, up 71 percent from a year earlier, reported foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc.

By the end of the year, RealtyTrac expects more than a million bank-owned properties to have piled up on the market, representing around a third of all properties for sale in the U.S.

RealtyTrac monitors default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. More than 250,000 properties were repossessed by lenders nationwide in the third quarter, 81,000 of which were taken back last month.

Six states – California, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Michigan and Nevada – accounted for more than 60 percent of all foreclosure activity in the quarter, with California alone making up more than a quarter of all U.S. foreclosure filings.

Detroit and Atlanta were the only cities outside California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona to make RealtyTrac’s list of the 20 hardest-hit metropolitan areas.

Mortgage Investors Group Opens Memphis Office

A nearly 20-year-old mortgage lender in Tennessee has opened a branch in Memphis at 5384 Poplar Ave.

Knoxville-based Mortgage Investors Group, which has 20 retail network branches, recently announced the opening of its new Memphis location, which will be managed by Todd Brown and Patti Sachenbacher.

The office will serve the Memphis area, as well as all of West Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and surrounding states. The lending company provides residential customers with loan products that include conventional, government and specialty loans.

SunTrust Shares Fall On Q3 Profit Drop

Shares of SunTrust Banks Inc. tumbled Thursday after the regional bank reported a 26 percent decline in third-quarter profit, from rising loan defaults and higher credit expenses.

Shares dropped $3.62, or 9 percent, to $36.51 in midday trading. Shares have traded between $25.60 and $73.80 in the past 12 months.

The Atlanta-based bank reported Thursday that its third-quarter earnings slipped to $307.3 million, or 88 cents per share, from $412.6 million, or $1.18 per share, a year earlier.

Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Mayo said he expects the bank to cut its dividend by at least 50 percent before the end of the year.

“Like much of the industry, earnings trends are flattish while the balance sheet got worse, likely causing management to take more balance sheet and capital actions ahead,” Mayo wrote in a note to clients.

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. analyst Christopher Mutascio, who maintained a “Hold” rating on the shares, said credit quality is deteriorating “at a rather fast pace.” He also noted that expenses came in higher than expected.

“Management indicates that the vast majority of the sequential-quarter and year-over-year increase in operating expenses is tied directly to credit-related costs,” Mutascio wrote in a research note. “So, the deterioration in credit quality is not only impacting the company’s loan loss provision expense, it is also dampening the effect of the cost save initiatives.”

Tenn. Looks for Return Of Tax Penalties

The state of Tennessee is demanding the federal government return more than a half-million dollars in federal penalties caused by a clerical mixup in 2005.

The Tennessean newspaper has reported that Tennessee filed suit in U.S. District Court this summer over $544,000 in penalties it paid to the Internal Revenue Service for filing withholding taxes four days late.

The state Department of Finance and Administration claims it made a simple error when it assumed that a state bank holiday on Dec. 29, 2005, was also a federal bank holiday. As a result, the state filed the taxes on the next business day, Jan. 3, 2006, which was four days after the taxes were due.

In a response from the U.S. Department of Justice filed this month, the federal government claimed that the state didn’t prove its case and Tennessee is not entitled to a refund.

C’ville Businessman Arrested On Theft, Tax Evasion

The Tennessee Department of Revenue’s Special Investigations Section has conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest Thursday of Kenneth R. Gregory, 39, of Collierville, for theft and sales tax evasion.

The Shelby County Grand Jury on Oct. 9 returned a two-count indictment for theft of property over $10,000 and sales tax evasion. The theft charge is a class C felony and carries a maximum sentence of six years in the state penitentiary and a fine up to $10,000. Sales tax evasion is a class E felony with a maximum sentence of two years and fine of $3,000.

The indictments charged that between Dec. 1, 2002 and June 30, 2005, Gregory failed to register his business, Complete Business Software Inc., with the Tennessee Department of Revenue and knowingly withheld more than $10,000 of collected sales taxes that he did not remit to the state of Tennessee.

Orpheum Increases Ticket Allotment for Schools

The Orpheum Theatre’s Department of Education and Community Programs has awarded more than 5,000 tickets to schools this fall.

The tickets went to schools where teachers applied for Student Matinee Grants. More tickets have been awarded this year than any other year since the grant program began in 2005.

The 5,000 tickets translate to about 275 classes that would not otherwise have been able to attend a performance.

The Orpheum’s grant program for students is sponsored by AutoZone, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Southern Arts Federation.

Barnes & Noble To Collect Books for Kids

Barnes & Noble Wolfchase will be collecting books for Mid-South Reads, which then will donate the books to underprivileged children in Shelby County as part of Barnes & Noble’s nationwide Holiday Book Drive.

The book drive will run from Nov. 1 to Jan. 1, and among the recipients of the books will be schools, libraries, literacy organizations, family social services agencies and homeless centers.

Nationally, Barnes & Noble will donate 100,000 books to its literacy partner First Book. Each store individually chooses its own local nonprofit partner.

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108