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VOL. 126 | NO. 113 | Friday, June 10, 2011

Daily Digest

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Foreclosure Notice Rerun for Willow Lake Park

The planned foreclosure sale of the 17-building, mixed-use Willow Lake Business Park and Corporate Park in Hickory Hill has a new date: July 8, according to a first-run foreclosure notice in today’s Memphis Daily News and online at www.memphisdailynews.com.

The property, which is owned by Chicago-based HSA Commercial Real Estate, was originally slated for a foreclosure sale Feb. 18, and was postponed multiple times between February and May, said substitute trustee R. Spencer Clift III of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. The new notice, which will run for three consecutive weeks, lists the new July sale date.

The foreclosure is being pursued because the borrowers – listed as five separate Delaware limited liability companies related to HSA – defaulted on a $67 million loan through Countrywide Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc. dated December 2006. That loan was later assigned to LaSalle Bank NA, then to U.S. Bank NA.

The property includes multiple addresses on Raines Road, Willow Lake Boulevard, Knight Road, South Perkins Road and Cromwell Cove. Included property descriptions list parcels in Willow Lake Business Park, Chickasaw Cession, Corporate Park and Hickory Hill Industrial Park.

When HSA bought the property in December 2006 for $53 million, the properties were 85 percent leased by 55 tenants, including International Paper, FedEx, Fujitsu, Sears Home Improvement Products, M&M Aerospace, Terminix and NetFlix, according to CoStar Realty Information Inc.

Several of the properties were in payment-in-lieu-of-taxes programs with the Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board with various companies that have since moved out or moved on.

The new sale is planned for Friday, July 8, at noon at the Shelby County Courthouse Downtown.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

American Drum & Pallet Owner Gets Prison Term

The president of American Drum & Pallet, 801 Walnut St., was sentenced this week to three years and a month in prison for storing hazardous waste, specifically a pesticide, without a permit at the South Memphis drum-recycling business.

Johnnie Williams was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Jon P. McCalla to pay $322,749 in restitution to the Environmental Protection Agency for the EPA’s cleanup of the property off Crump Boulevard.

The EPA was contacted by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in 2007. The federal investigators found leaking containers and vapor readings that showed the pesticides were being released into the air. They specifically found the presence of methyl parathion, a hazardous chemical, especially in a neighborhood that includes homes nearby and no fencing separating the business from those homes.

Williams pleaded guilty to the charge in September. He had been convicted of the same charge in 1997 by a jury in Memphis federal court.

– Bill Dries

Girl Scouts Awarded $15K in Technology Grants

Girl Scouts Heart of the South has received $15,000 grants from each The Assisi Foundation of Memphis Inc. and the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.

The two grants will enable Girl Scouts Heart of the South to upgrade its technology infrastructure.

Members and volunteers will be able to register online for council events, pay membership dues and activity fees, eliminating paperwork and data entry.

The investment in technology will allow Girl Scouts to save resources and money that can be allocated to increasing leadership development for programs for girls. The enhanced technology also will help build capacity for the anticipated increase in girl members, volunteers, Girl Scout alumnae and supporters.

The Assisi Foundation of Memphis has awarded more than $100 million dollars to nonprofit organizations serving people located primarily in the Mid-South region.

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis is the largest philanthropic foundation in the Memphis area. Its Capacity Building initiative supports projects that strengthen the ability of nonprofits to achieve great performance and impact.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Baker Donelson Earns High Rankings in Vault Survey

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has been ranked highly in the 2011 edition of Vault Inc.’s national ranking of the best law firms to work for.

Baker Donelson ranked among the top 20 law firms nationally in five categories: seventh in firm culture, seventh in hours, ninth in formal training, 11th in satisfaction and 18th in informal training.

This is the first year Baker Donelson has participated in the annual survey.

The rankings are based on the feedback of 15,000 law firm associates across the country who were asked to rate their firms on a 1 to 10 scale for 12 quality-of-life categories.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Rep. Steve Cohen Travels to Mideast

This week, Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen is leading a fact-finding trip to Israel, the West Bank and Egypt.

Cohen, who recently was appointed to a commission on security and cooperation in Europe, was encouraged to visit the region by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who appointed him to the commission.

Cohen arrived in Cairo, Egypt, last Saturday. While in Egypt, the congressman met with U.S. Ambassador Margaret Scobey, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Amr Moussa, Acting President Mohamed Tantawi, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, April 6th Revolution leaders, and business and humanitarian leaders.

“This fact-finding mission is enlightening and has offered opportunities for dialogue,” Cohen said. “For me, those discussions have reinforced that peace in the Mideast is possible. I am advocating for peace negotiations everywhere I go and sense that our delegation’s mission is resonating with leaders.”

– Andy Meek

Baker Donelson Attorneys to Present on FMLA

Attorneys in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC will present “Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Compliance: What you need to know” Thursday, June 16, in the firm’s Downtown office.

Brent Siler and Joann Coston-Holloway, attorneys in the firm’s Memphis office, will give an overview of the rules governing FMLA leave, paid-leave policies versus the required statutory leave, and more.

The presentation will be held in the firm’s office,165 Madison Ave. on the 20th floor, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. There’s no charge for the event, and breakfast will be provided. For more information, email rsvp@bakerdonelson.com.

– Andy Meek

Visa Makes Moves into Mobile Banking

Visa Inc. announced two moves on Thursday into mobile banking, buying a company that makes software for mobile banking for users in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and striking an agreement with another company that works with bank customers.

Visa said it would pay $110 million in cash for privately-held Fundamo, based in Cape Town, South Africa. Fundamo now has more than 5 million subscribers, and Visa said it has the potential to reach more than 180 million customers. Visa expects to complete the deal on Thursday and said it will slightly hurt its earnings for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

Mobile banking is a key growth area for Visa both in established countries, as bank customers look for more convenience, and in the developing world, where many people either don’t use banks at all, or use them only through a mobile device. But getting different mobile carriers and bank payment systems to talk to each other can be difficult. Fundamo’s software is supposed to bridge those gaps, Visa said. It allows for person-to-person payments, adding cell phone minutes, bill paying, as well as banking services, Visa said.

Visa also announced an agreement with mobile banking software maker Monitise PLC.

– The Associated Press

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