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VOL. 124 | NO. 26 | Monday, February 9, 2009

Daily Digest

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Homer Skelton Acquires Price Ford Property

First Tennessee Bank N.A., the trustee of the Homer D. Skelton Inter Vivos Trust, has purchased the land at 9030 U.S. 51 N. in Millington, the location of the Price Ford dealership, for $2.35 million.

The Secretary of State Business Information Web site and The Daily News Online show an official name change was filed by Homer Skelton Ford of Millington LLC to change the limited liability company’s name to Homer Skelton Millington Ford LLC. The LLC now also lists its address as 9030 U.S. 51 N. The instrument date on this name change was Jan. 6.

A series of garnishments were filed against Price Ford LLC in April and May.

In the June 4 edition of The Daily News, reporting indicates that car dealer Homer Skelton on May 23 bought the former Wolfchase Chrysler/Plymouth/Jeep dealership at 3020 N. Germantown Road, and on May 21 bought an unnamed auto dealership at 7661 U.S. 51 N. in Millington.

The property at 9030 U.S. 51 N. is a 6-acre lot that sits on the east side of the highway and is zoned commercial for an auto dealership.

Calls to Price Ford went unanswered. A message left with a representative at Homer Skelton Ford in Olive Branch was not returned by press time.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Airport Authority To Consider Runway Contract

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) will hold its January board of commissioners meeting today at 8 a.m. in the Airport Authority boardroom, inside the terminal building at Memphis International Airport. The meeting was postponed last month because of inclement weather.

Among the resolutions for approval on the agenda will be the award of contract for reconstructing Runway 9/27, the airport’s lone east-west runway. Division reports also are slated for today’s meeting.

The next regular monthly MSCAA board meeting is slated for Feb. 19. All board meetings are open to the public.

County Commission To Discuss Tax Bills

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners is likely to discuss and vote on a resolution today sponsored by commissioner Mike Ritz related to county tax bills and the portion of the county tax rate set aside for schools.

Ritz wants the county trustee to leave the portion of the county tax rate that goes to schools off tax bills. The county’s budget and finance committee defeated the resolution last week.

The commission’s meeting today will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Shelby County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.

Tenn. Budget Shortfall Reaches Almost $500M

Tennessee’s tax collections have fallen nearly a half-billion dollars short of expectations through the first six months of the budget year.

The state Finance Department has reported general fund revenues came in at nearly $103 million below projections in December. That brought the shortfall for the first half of the fiscal year to $482 million.

Sales taxes, which account for two out of every three tax dollars collected in Tennessee, have missed projections by $281 million since July.

Waning corporate tax collections have been responsible for most of the rest of the shortfall. Franchise and excise taxes have fallen $162 million short of expectations during the first six months of the budget year.

Democratic Party Cmte. To Grow in County

The Shelby County Democratic Party’s executive committee probably will be larger because of the larger local voter turnout in the November presidential elections.

Members of the committee got their first look last week at proposed rules for the coming party convention. Since President Barack Obama carried Shelby County in November and voter turnout was also increased, rules will allow the 66-member committee to add some new positions. All executive committee members are elected based on the state House district they live in.

The executive committee members as well as the party’s leadership will be elected to two-year terms in a two-part process that will begin with precinct caucuses to be held March 28 at Airways Middle School and will end with a convention. No date has been set yet for the party convention.

Local party chair Keith Norman is not seeking re-election. Contenders for the job include attorney Van Turner, who is currently party parliamentarian, and attorney Jay Bailey.

Former Cop Convicted For Robbing Drug Dealers

Former Memphis Police officer Arthur Sease will be sentenced May 14 after a federal court jury convicted him last week of charges he robbed drug dealers while he was on the police force and after he was fired from the police department.

Sease was convicted on 44 counts of civil rights violations, drug and robbery charges and firearms violations.

The robberies took place over a two-and-a-half-year period starting in November 2003. Sease enlisted other police officers in the conspiracy in which they took drugs and money and resold the drugs first to finance a rap music venture and then to pay his attorney.

Three other Memphis police officers have pleaded guilty in the case and are awaiting sentencing. Reserve Memphis police officer Andrew Hunt was the primary witness against Sease. He pleaded guilty to federal charges in the case two years ago and was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

The trial involved 16 separate robberies including several where the victim was unknown. Several of the drug dealers complained to police. Others came forward reluctantly.

Sease did not testify in his own defense at the trial.

Medtronic Completes Ablation Acquisition

Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc. has completed the acquisition of privately held Ablation Frontiers Inc. Under the terms of the agreement announced Jan. 12, the transaction includes an initial payment of $225 million plus potential additional payments contingent upon achievement of certain clinical milestones.

Ablation Frontiers is a company based in Carlsbad, Calif., that specializes in medical devices to help people suffering from atrial fibrillation and other cardiac arrhythmias.

Medtronic’s Spinal and Biologics Business is based in Memphis.

Medco Subsidiary Focus Of Whistleblower Complaint

Medco Health Solutions Inc. has disclosed it has received a federal subpoena related to a whistleblower complaint filed against PolyMedica Corp., which Medco acquired in the fourth quarter of 2007.

PolyMedica is a diabetes product supplier. No details were released about the complaint because the case is sealed.

Medco is the parent company of Memphis-based Accredo Health Group.

3-Month Interbank Lending Rates Unchanged

The cost of three-month dollar loans between banks remained high Friday amid ongoing worries that lenders continue to face funding problems despite government efforts to shore up their finances and free up credit markets.

The rate on three-month loans in dollars – known as the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor – remained around 1.24 percent, according to the British Bankers’ Association.

The rate for three-month loans in euros – known as the European Interbank Offered Rate, or Euribor – decreased to 2.02 percent from 2.04 percent after Thursday’s decision by the European Central Bank to leave its key interest rate unchanged.

Though the ECB kept its key rate on hold at 2.0 percent, as predicted by markets, policymakers have hinted that rates would be reduced at the next announcement in March.

Meanwhile, the equivalent three-month sterling rate fell 0.03 percent to 2.11 percent after the Bank of England cut its benchmark rate a further half percentage point to a new record low of 1 percent. The cut was also widely expected.

Interbank rates are important because they affect the cost of loans in the wider economy, for businesses and individuals. Rates have been high during the financial crisis as banks have hoarded cash and worried that other lenders might collapse and not pay them back.

All three lending rates remain above the levels markets expect interest rates to be in three-months time. While the U.S. Federal Reserve can’t reduce its key rate any further from the current 0 to 0.25 percent range, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are both predicted to reduce borrowing costs further.

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient To Speak at U of M

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jody Williams will speak at the University of Memphis Feb. 20.

Williams was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in creating an international treaty for the clearing of antipersonnel landmine fields and banning landmines from being used in the future.

Williams established the Nobel Women’s Initiative in 2006 with six fellow women Nobel Peace Laureates. In addition to her work with the Nobel Women’s Initiative, she currently serves as international ambassador for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Williams will speak at 4 p.m. in the Rose Theatre on campus and the lecture is free and open to the public.

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220