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VOL. 124 | NO. 89 | Thursday, May 7, 2009

Daily Digest

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Frayser Apartments Sold Back to Bank

The Whitney Manor and Frayser Manor apartment complexes in Frayser have been sold back to the bank that owned the note on them, Madison Realty Capital LP, for a combined $1.2 million following a foreclosure. Whitney Frayser Manor Memphis LLC, a local entity related to the lender, bought the properties April 6 from successor trustee Charles S. Sanger on the courthouse steps.

The previous owners of the apartment complexes are Whitney Manor Real Property Holdings LLC and Frayser Manor Real Property Holdings LLC, both of which list a Southington, Conn., address and both of which are managed by the same person, Daniel Ross.

Ross defaulted on a $2.4 million loan issued by New York-based Madison Realty Capital and dated March 14, 2007.

Whitney Manor is a 96-unit apartment complex at 3081 St. Charles Drive. Built in 1968, the complex sits on 6.83 acres at the northeast corner of Steele Street and Whitney Avenue. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2009 appraisal is $1.4 million.

Frayser Manor is a 106-unit apartment complex at 931 Frayser Blvd. Built in 1974, the complex sits on six acres near the intersection of Frayser Boulevard and Thomas Street. The assessor’s 2009 appraisal also is $1.4 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

MLGW to Discuss Utility Comparisons

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division officials today will discuss a comparison of utility bills between other major metropolitan areas and MLGW.

That comparison is among the items on the agenda for today’s President’s Briefing Agenda meeting that precedes this afternoon’s full MLGW board meeting. In a recent survey of 35 metropolitan areas, MLGW’s Memphis ratepayers had the ninth-lowest typical monthly residential utility bill for the winter.

The President’s Briefing Agenda will be today at 1:30 p.m. in the boardroom of the MLGW Administration Building, 220 S. Main St. The MLGW board meeting will follow at 3 p.m. in the same location.

Liens Levied Against Security Company

Three federal tax liens totaling more than $1.1 million have been filed against Memphis Security Co. at 4466 Elvis Presley Blvd. in Whitehaven.

The liens – in amounts of $766,867, $321,901 and $38,670 – appear on Page 10 of today’s print edition of The Daily News and also at The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

Records with the Shelby County Register of Deeds show that Memphis Security was incorporated by Nikita Chism at Suite 146 of the 4466 Elvis Presley Blvd. office building. That multitenant, 79,000-square-foot property is owned by Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church.

A Web search shows that Memphis Security is a private investigator service. Attempts to reach the company were unsuccessful by press time.

No Deal Yet On Tenn. Judicial Selection

State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said he’s been unable to reach a compromise with House leaders on changes to Tennessee’s judicial selection system.

The Blountville Republican supports a proposal to allow the governor to independently fill all vacancies, and for challengers to be allowed to run against incumbent Supreme Court justices.

But House leaders support a separate plan to keep the state’s Judicial Selection Commission in place, and for justices to continue to stand in yes-no retention elections.

The commission currently vets all appellate court candidates and presents the governor with three-person panels to choose from.

The attorney general has warned that if the Legislature does nothing, there will be no mechanism for filling vacancies beginning July 1.

Willpower May Be Lacking On Ethics Merger

State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey on Wednesday blamed what he called unfair media coverage for possibly scuttling an effort to merge the Tennessee Ethics Commission with the state Registry of Election Finance.

The Blountville Republican said all current ethics laws would stay on the books under the merger, and that combining the two entities would save money.

“I don’t know the political willpower is there to do that, simply because the media attention that it’s received – unfairly, to be honest,” Ramsey said. “Nothing is going to be scaled back in terms of ethics in the state of Tennessee. Everything we passed would remain there.”

The ethics commission was established in the aftermath of the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz corruption sting in 2005 that led to the convictions of five former lawmakers. The panel is set to expire at the end of June if lawmakers don’t extend it.

Ramsey’s comments came after the House State Government Subcommittee advanced a bill calling for the merger if the ethics commission fails to be renewed. The voice vote on the bill sponsored by Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, was taken without debate.

Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen has spoken out against combining the two panels, saying he doesn’t find ethics and campaign finance “a natural partnership.”

Ramsey said the ethics commission has grown into a “typical government bureaucracy,” and that it could complete its work with just one or two employees. He rejected suggestions that the commission needs the staff to register and vet personal disclosure forms from state and local officials, register lobbyists and their employers and conduct training sessions.

The commission also issues advisory opinions and considers ethics complaints.

“I think that can be done with less, I firmly believe that,” Ramsey said.

Tennessee to Begin In-State Flu Testing

Tennessee health officials say they expect a surge in the number of confirmed swine flu cases because in-state testing will produce more rapid results.

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Susan Cooper said the state lab will be equipped to confirm the H1N1 virus with special kits today.

Previously, the state lab could determine only probable cases of the swine flu and had to send specimens to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for confirmation.

The CDC has confirmed two cases of swine flu in Tennessee.

There are 20 probable cases of the swine flu in the state altogether, in Davidson, Knox, Shelby and Williamson counties.

The state lab tested 473 cultures by early Wednesday to determine if the patients have influenza and what type it is.

Airspace Crossed, Memphis Controller at Fault

The Federal Aviation Administration reported a “significant error” by an air traffic controller in Memphis who put two airliners too close together in the skies over Kentucky last week.

Both planes took evasive maneuvers and the FAA said one pilot filed a near mid-air collision report.

The planes got within a mile of each other horizontally, while FAA safety rules say they should have been at least five miles apart.

The incident happened on April 29 about 32,000 feet above Bowling Green, Ky.

It involved American Airlines Flight 395 from Boston to Dallas and Pinnacle Airlines Flight 2594 from Detroit to Birmingham, Ala.

The FAA said the controller has been decertified and must undergo retraining.

MED Presented Organ Donation Honor

The Regional Medical Center at Memphis has been presented with the Organ Donation Medal of Honor by the Mid-South Transplant Foundation.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has honored The MED and 411 other hospitals out of a pool of 716 hospitals that met eligibility criteria for achieving and sustaining organ donation rates of 75 percent or higher in a 12-month period.

The MED also joined a group of 126 hospitals who have reached that goal three years in a row.

Medtronic Wins Approval For New Heart Device Wire

Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. reported Wednesday it received approval to market a new wire for use with its heart-pacing implantable devices.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s Attain Ability wire for treatment of heart failure, according to a company statement. The wire, known as a lead, connects a patient’s heart to a cardiac pacing device, which is surgically implanted in the upper chest.

FDA approved the lead for patients at risk of heart failure, in which the heart can’t adequately pump blood to the rest of the body.

Pacemakers treat the condition with electrical pulses that trigger heartbeats when the heart can’t pump on its own.

Sales of implantable heart devices have been mostly flat in recent years, in part because of safety concerns about leads.

Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device firm, pulled its Sprint Fidelis leads off the market in October 2007 after identifying several patient deaths that may have been caused by the cracked wires. Earlier this year the company updated the probable death toll to 13 patients.

The new wire incorporates insulation material first developed by NASA for use in space and other harsh environments. Medtronic said the Attain is the “first implantable medical device of this kind” to use material developed by the space agency.

Company executives say they were able to make the wire the thinnest of its type, a feature they say will make it easier to implant.

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

PROPERTY SALES 128 234 13,285
MORTGAGES 80 152 8,323
BANKRUPTCIES 42 79 6,299