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VOL. 125 | NO. 118 | Friday, June 18, 2010

Daily Digest

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Ajay Files Loan On Hollywood Cinema

Ajay Inc. has filed a $4.2 million loan through Liberty Bank of Arkansas on the Hollywood 20 Cinema at 6711 Stage Road in Bartlett. The Memphis-based company operated in the trust deed as Hollywood Cinema LLC.

Built in 1997, the 42,643-square-foot, 20-screen movie theater sits on 4.53 acres at the southeast corner of Stage and Kirby-Whitten roads.

Its appraised value is $4.5 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2010 data.

Deepak A. Keshani and Ambarish A. Keshani signed the trust deed as members of Hollywood Cinema LLC.

Ajay also owns an adjacent parcel that was included in the loan, a 2.11-acre parking lot whose formal address is 2873 Whitten Road. It has an appraised value of $516,100.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Confiscated Cell Phones Go to Domestic Violence Victims

Shelby County Interim Mayor Joe Ford and officials with the Shelby County Division of Corrections on Thursday donated more than 100 cell phones that had been confiscated from inmates to the YWCA of Greater Memphis Abused Women’s Services Program.

The cell phones will be programmed for use as 911 emergency help lines. State law prohibits inmates from having cell phones.

This is the second donation of confiscated cell phones that the county has made. The county donated 67 mobile telephones in April.

People can also donate their old phones to the program by dropping them off at the YWCA of Greater Memphis headquarters at 766 S. Highland St.

Tom Wilemon

Tenn. Banking Commissioner Addresses Rotary Club

Greg Gonzales, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions, was in Memphis Wednesday to speak to the Rotary Club of Memphis East.

In his speech to the group, he touched on the condition of the state’s banking system and major challenges going forward. He said one of the reasons Tennessee has not seen any in-state bank failures during the current economic crisis is “we have had traditionally conservative and prudent bank management in Tennessee.”

Gonzales also said, “We also started the economic downturn with a good capital position which has been a buffer for banks. That ... has served Tennessee consumers well.”

Anchor Trailways Begins New Round-Trip Service

Anchor Trailways & Tours, a motorcoach company based in Nashville, has launched a western route of their ATRunner service between Nashville and Memphis.

The new round-trip bus service runs seven days a week, making connections with airports and Greyhound in both cities and with Memphis Amtrak.

The buses also will make stops in Atoka, Ripley, Dyersburg, Union City, Martin, Dresden, Paris, Camden, Holladay, Dickson, West End and the Music City Star Station.

The ATRunner is funded by a grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Transportation Resource Division. The $2.5 million grant to anchor Trailways & Tours is designed to address the intercity travel needs for people in rural areas of Tennessee who do not have access to daily scheduled transit routes to major cities.

Tickets can be purchased online or on the coaches. For more information, call 877-371-3377 or visit www.ATRunner.com.

— Taylor Shoptaw

Sentencing Date Set In Palin Hacking Case

A judge set a Sept. 24 sentencing date for a former University of Tennessee student and Memphian convicted of hacking Sarah Palin’s e-mail account as she campaigned for vice president on the Republican ticket in 2008.

Records show 22-year-old David Kernell faces a possible prison sentence of 15 to 21 months. He was found guilty April 30 in federal court in Knoxville of obstruction of justice and unauthorized access to a computer, but acquitted of a wire fraud charge.

The former Alaska governor and her daughter, Bristol, testified the hacking caused emotional hardships for their family.

Kernell’s attorney contended the hacking was a prank.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Weddle declined comment Thursday. The judge at a brief Wednesday hearing agreed to consider a defense motion challenging the obstruction case.

Kernell’s attorney, Wade Davies, did not immediately return a telephone message.

— The Associated Press

UT Campuses Face 8.5 Percent Tuition Hike

The University of Tennessee’s Board of Trustees is considering tuition increases of 8.5 percent for students at the Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin campuses this fall.

If approved, the increase would generate nearly $20 million in additional revenue for the schools.

The proposed increase follows a 7 percent increase at the Chattanooga and Martin campuses and a 9 percent increase at the Knoxville campus last fall.

Tuition and fees have made up a greater portion of the UT system’s budget over the last decade as state funding has declined. Tuition has more than doubled since 2000 at the Knoxville campus.

The current tuition proposal is part of a 300-page agenda released ahead of next week’s board meeting.

— The Associated Press

Leading Indicators Rise 0.4 Percent in May

A gauge of future economic activity rose 0.4 percent in May, signaling slow growth in the U.S. economy lies ahead in the summer and fall.

The leading economic index from the Conference Board, a private research group, is designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected an increase of 0.5 percent in May.

The index has been mostly rising since April 2009, tugged higher by the increasing amount of money in the economy, the rebound in manufacturing and slow improvements in the job market.

Another big boost to the leading indicators has been the difference between 10-year interest rates and the overnight interest rate that the Federal Reserve has kept at a record low near zero. A wide gap between the two can mean investors expect economic activity to pick up.

A stock market rally last year and a boost to the housing market from a federal tax credit, now expired, had also helped.

— The Associated Press

Nearly 500 Arrests Made In Mortgage Fraud Probe

The Justice Department announced Thursday that investigators have made nearly 500 arrests since March in a major crackdown on mortgage fraud.

The nationwide initiative called Operation Stolen Dreams is the largest collective enforcement effort aimed at confronting the problem of mortgage fraud, Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference. It involves 1,215 criminal defendants in cases that uncovered more than $2.3 billion in losses.

The Justice Department has engaged in civil enforcement actions to recover more than $147 million in the operation.

Two Countrywide companies will pay $108 million to settle allegations that they inflated the fees that homeowners paid.

Hundreds of FBI agents are working on task forces with other law enforcement agencies to combat a type of crime that poses “a risk to our economic stability” as a nation, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the news conference.

The Justice Department said the probe has resulted in significant criminal cases in Chico, Calif.; Miami; Detroit; Duluth, Minn.; New Jersey, and Atlanta.

In Detroit, investigators broke up a “ghost loan” mortgage scheme in which the conspirators allegedly posed as mortgage brokers, appraisers, real estate and title agents.

The alleged scheme in Miami targeted the Haitian-American community.

In Chico, Calif., one of the biggest home builders in the area was sitting on unsold new homes as the housing market cooled in 2006. The builder sold the homes to straw buyers at inflated prices, then rebated tens of thousands of dollars on each home to shell companies controlled by the buyers’ agents.

In New Jersey, the servicing manager of U.S. Mortgage pleaded guilty for his role in the fraudulent sale of more than $136 million in mortgage loans to investors.

— The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 56 295 6,392
MORTGAGES 26 180 4,035
BUILDING PERMITS 128 840 15,361
BANKRUPTCIES 31 153 3,270