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VOL. 128 | NO. 48 | Monday, March 11, 2013

Daily Digest

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Airport Budget Host Hotel Sells for $1.7 Million

The 106-room Budget Host Inn & Suites at 2745 Airways Blvd. next to Memphis International Airport has sold for $1.7 million. Meridian Hospitality LLC bought the 45,972-square-foot hotel Feb. 25 from PNRCY LLC.

Pallaviben Patel signed the warranty deed as chief manager of PNRCY, which had bought the hotel in 2009 – then branded as an Econo Lodge – for $1.7 million from R & B Lodging Inc.

Built in 1983, the hotel sits on 3.01 acres at the northwest corner of the intersection of Airways and Democrat Road. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal was $1.2 million.

The sale also included a 3,373-square-foot restaurant, which sits on a 0.63-acre outparcel of the hotel. The restaurant, formerly called Jazz Café, also was built in 1983 and had a 2012 appraised value of $186,700.

No financing was associated with the sale.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

MAAR Reports February Home Sales

Memphis-area home sales for February were flat from a year ago, with 934 total sales recorded in the Memphis Area Association of Realtors MAARdata property records database.

Total sales year to date were up 22 percent. Average sales price year over year rose 14.7 percent at $117,016.

Inventory was flat, with 6,147 units listed for sale. Sales volume year to date increased 36.8 percent to $267 million.

The database includes records of all property transactions in Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties.

To see real estate information company Chandler Reports’ February totals for Shelby County, see the Tuesday, March 12, edition of The Daily News.

– Sarah Baker

February Revenue $5 Million More Than State Budgeted

Tennessee Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes says the state’s total tax collections for February mark the seventh consecutive month of positive growth.

Emkes said Friday that overall February revenues were $744.3 million, which is $5 million more than the state budgeted.

He said sales tax collections showed modest growth, as did several of the smaller tax categories.

The sales tax collections were $3 million more than the estimate for February. The general fund was over by $12 million.

– The Associated Press

Tennessee Unemployment Increases Slightly in January

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for January was 7.7 percent, a slight increase from the previous month.

Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis said Thursday that there are more than 2.8 million people employed in Tennessee.

That’s the highest employment total for the state since December 2007.

The unemployment rate for last December was 7.6 percent. The national unemployment rate for January was 7.9 percent. State figures show that nonfarm employment increased by 7,600 jobs between December and January.

– The Associated Press

Cuts Coming to Federal Unemployment Benefits

The state Labor and Workforce Development Department says more than 30,000 Tennesseans receiving federal unemployment benefits will see their payments reduced because of federal budget cuts that took effect this month.

The department said Thursday people will start being notified by mail detailing the reduction in their benefits no later than March 22.

The cuts affected many federal programs, including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The department said all EUC payments on or after March 31 will be reduced by 10.7 percent through the end of the fiscal year in September.

– The Associated Press

East Memphis Squatter Removed From Home

A woman who allegedly moved into a foreclosed East Memphis mansion is facing aggravated burglary, property theft and criminal trespass charges.

Tabitha Gentry, who also goes by the name Abka Re Bey, was arrested by Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies Thursday, March 8, on the warrants when she left the house at 600 S. Shady Grove Road.

Renasant Bank filed a complaint with the Memphis Police Department on March 5 after someone reported what should have been a vacant property was occupied with no trespassing signs posted and the gates chained shut.

Sheriff’s deputies set up surveillance around the house and got arrest warrants as well as a search warrant for the house and grounds, valued at $3.1 million.

Detectives with the District Attorney General’s Task Force also found that a protective custody order had been filed with Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court to have a 13-year-old child taken from Gentry.

Gentry was stopped by Memphis Police on Poplar Avenue late Thursday night after she had left the house. The house was searched and the 13-year-old child mentioned in the protective custody order was released to her aunt. Another child in the house was placed in the custody of the Department of Children’s Services.

Gentry was being held at the Shelby County Jail Friday on a $2 million bond.

The District Attorney General’s office is still investigating the case.

– Bill Dries

TennCare Spend Down Program Sets Enrollment Date

TennCare officials have announced the open enrollment date for a program that helps with high unpaid medical bills for lower-income, elderly or disabled people.

The TennCare Standard Spend Down program open enrollment will sign up 2,500 new applicants.

Applications will be accepted beginning at 6 p.m. March 21 through a toll-free number, 866-358-3230.

The line will be shut down once 2,500 applications have been received. During previous open enrollment periods, it took only an hour to receive 2,500 applications.

The program is for low-income individuals or those who are aged, blind, disabled or the caretaker relative of a Medicaid eligible child. To qualify, eligible individuals must have enough unpaid medical bills to meet the “spend down” threshold.

More details about eligibility and income guidelines are online at http://www.tn.gov/TennCare.

– The Associated Press

Tennessee Groups Promoting Trafficking Victim Hot Line

Human trafficking is happening in Tennessee, but the problem has gone largely unrecognized until recently, a group that includes former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at a news conference Thursday.

Women’s organizations from Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga gathered with lawmakers and law enforcement officials at Legislative Plaza to call more attention to the problem of trafficking and the resources that exist to combat it. That includes a two-year-old statewide trafficking hot line that has been poorly advertised and is rarely used.

Human trafficking is the sexual exploitation of children, as well as adult prostitution that involves some type of force or coercion, said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn.

TBI Special Agent in Charge Margie Quin said that Tennessee only passed a law classifying prostituted children as victims in 2011. Before that, they were considered criminals.

“You think to yourself, ‘13-year-olds were being arrested for prostitution?’ Oh heck, yes, they were,” she said.

Quin said the change has been a paradigm shift for law enforcement.

A 2011 study that Quin helped put together estimated that Tennessee had between 750 and 1,500 cases of sex trafficking in the previous 24 months. That study has been criticized as inaccurate by some law enforcement agencies, but Quin said that many times law enforcement is unaware of trafficking. She said that places that treat victims, like domestic violence shelters, often do not report trafficking to the police because the victims do not want to be identified.

Gwyn said he was “amazed and astonished” when he read the study, in which 85 percent of Tennessee’s counties reported human trafficking in their areas. He was also disturbed to learn that law enforcement was not adequately trained to recognize it or deal with it.

As part of the trafficking awareness campaign in Tennessee, women’s funds in Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga have pooled money to advertise a statewide trafficking hot line. The number is 855-558-6484.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047