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VOL. 125 | NO. 251 | Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Daily Digest

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Exchange Building Sells for $2.4 Million

The Exchange Building at 130 Madison Ave. has sold for $2.4 million to an Evanston, Ill.-based limited liability company, UIGTN III LLC.

The LLC shares an address with Zimmerman Wealth Management. A call to Zimmerman was not returned by press time.

The 217,244-square-foot, 20-story Exchange Building was built in 1910. It sits on 0.25 acres at the corner of North Second Street and Madison Avenue.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2010 appraisal of the property is $2.4 million.

UIGTN III LLC filed a $1.8 million loan through Northwest Savings Bank at the time of purchase.

The seller, Northwest Capital Group Inc., bought the property in foreclosure March 22. The sale was because the borrower, The Exchange Building LP, defaulted on a loan that was originally taken out in 1995 in the amount of $2.9 million and modified several times before the foreclosure.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Memorial Service Tuesday for Justice Fones

A memorial service for retired Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William H.D. Fones Sr. of Memphis is Tuesday at Christ United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. in Wilson Chapel.

Fones died Thursday at the age of 93 after a long illness.

He served on the Tennessee Supreme Court from 1973 to 1990.

Fones was an attorney for 25 years with the firm Rosenfield, Borod, Fones, Bogatin & Kremer.

He became a Circuit Court judge in 1971 and from there was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court by Gov. Winfield Dunn.

Fones became chief justice in 1974 after popular elections in which Republican and Democratic candidates vied for the seats and Democrats swept all five seats. The state later changed back to yes-no non-partisan retention votes for Supreme Court positions.

The 1974 court didn’t run on a Democratic platform and neither did their Republican rivals, according to “A History of The Tennessee Supreme Court,” by James W. Ely and Theodore Brown. But Fones and the other justices had a goal of modernizing Tennessee law.

“Those of us on the ’74 court felt we had to make up for 100 years of not bringing the law up to date,” Fones said in a 1995 interview referenced in the book.

Fones earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee Law School before World War II but did not begin practicing law until 1945 after serving in the Army Air Corps, flying 90 combat missions as a bomber pilot in the southwest Pacific.

Fones, the widower of Rebecca Barr Fones, leaves two sons, Jere Barr Fones and William H.D. Fones Jr., five grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and one great grandchild.

– Bill Dries

Ex-Public Records Coordinator Sues City of Memphis

Attorney Carol Chumney, a former Memphis City councilwoman, has filed a 20-page federal lawsuit on behalf of Bridgett Handy-Clay, the city’s former public records coordinator who was fired earlier this year after requesting payroll and other records relating to her supervisor and other employees in the city attorney’s office.

The lawsuit claims Handy-Clay was wrongfully dismissed for “refusing to remain silent” about and reporting allegations of nepotism and abuse of city policies among city employees and officials. The suit names as defendants the city of Memphis, Mayor A C Wharton Jr., city attorney Herman Morris and senior legal administrator Cathy Porter.

Among the claims in the suit, Handy-Clay is said to have “reasonable cause to believe that (Morris) was also abusing city leave and pay policies.”

One line that jumps out of the suit – again, coming from the city’s former public records coordinator – reads: “There was an entrenched ‘culture’ at City Hall to disclose only the bare minimum needed to comply with any given public records request and conceal as much as possible from the public.”

Handy-Clay was appointed as the city’s public records coordinator in July 2007 by former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton. Later that year, Herenton won re-election as mayor, beating Chumney and Morris.

In a press conference earlier this year, the city’s chief administrative officer George Little said Handy-Clay’s firing had nothing to do with the issues she raised. Rather, he said it was an evaluation of her performance, among other things.

– Andy Meek

Plough Found. Awards $250K to Ronald McDonald House

The Plough Foundation has awarded a matching grant of up to $250,000 to aid Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis in its capital campaign to renovate its facility.

In August, the organization will celebrate 20 years of providing a home away from home for families of pediatric cancer patients undergoing treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The Hand in Hand for 20 Years renovations campaign is built on the contributions from local individuals, corporations, organizations and foundations.

Four hundred to 500 families stay at Ronald McDonald House annually. The campaign will help renovate the facility’s fixtures, cabinetry and flooring.

“The matching grant from Plough Foundation is a wonderful opportunity to attract donors to the Hand in Hand for 20 Years campaign and to stretch their dollars,” said Caron Byrd, executive director for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis. “The Plough Foundation has been a very generous supporter of Ronald McDonald House of Memphis at every critical phase throughout our existence. We greatly appreciate their continued support as we enter our 20th year of opening our doors and providing a home to families with sick children.”

The Plough Foundation will match $1 for every $3 raised toward the Hand in Hand for 20 Years campaign.

– Aisling Maki

Delta Regional Authority Celebrates 10 Years

December marks the 10-year anniversary for the Delta Regional Authority. The federal-state partnership represents 252 counties and parishes in eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

Over the past decade, the DRA has invested nearly $86.2 million into 610 projects, leveraging $1.4 billion in private-sector investment and $431.3 million in other government funds, for a total of almost $1.9 billion – an overall 22 to 1 return on taxpayer dollars.

In light of the anniversary, DRA has established revitalization plans, including shortening the timeline for funding decisions to complete projects and delivering real-time responses to state economic development projects and needs.

The DRA is working to bring new water or sewer services to 58,133 families and is creating or retaining 34,412 jobs with its partners.

“We have our work cut out for us, but the good news is that the DRA is better positioned than ever before to act,” said federal co-chairman Chris Masingill. “The answer will continue to be effectiveness, not just spending; the answer will continue to be positive outcomes, not just good intentions.”

– Sarah Baker

Rhodes College Offers Continuing Education Classes

The Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning at Rhodes College is enrolling students for its spring 2011 education classes.

Classes will begin in January and continue through mid-May. Rhodes offers a 20 percent tuition discount for those 65 and older. The Meeman Center offers continuing education courses for adults in the liberal arts and sciences.

For more information, including a full course listing, tuition amounts and registration information, call 843-3965 or visit http://meeman.rhodes.edu.

– Taylor Shoptaw

H&R Block Loses Refund Loan Banking Partner

Millions of H&R Block Inc. customers who relied on short-term loans backed by their anticipated tax refunds will not have that option this year since Block’s banking partner was forced by federal regulators to stop offering the loans.

Block could lose millions of dollars in revenue, because a large percentage of its customers use refund anticipation loans.

RALs, typically used by low-income customers who file their taxes early in the season, are short-term loans backed by an expected federal income tax refund.

It’s a blow to Block, which one analyst said could lose up to 7 percent of its customers to competitors.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 56 289 2,908
MORTGAGES 55 226 2,009
BUILDING PERMITS 108 1,002 6,703
BANKRUPTCIES 42 248 1,225