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VOL. 128 | NO. 91 | Thursday, May 9, 2013

Daily Digest

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Lakeland Super 8 Sells for $1.3 Million

The Super 8 motel at 9779 Huff N Puff Road in Lakeland has sold for $1.3 million.

Sairam Nivas LLC bought the 34,068-square-foot hotel in a May 1 warranty deed from Prabhubhai K. Patel and Kashmira P. Patel.

Prabhubhai K. Patel and Kashmira P. Patel had acquired the property for $1.7 million in 1996 from Purushottam O. Donda and Ansuya P. Patel.

Built in 1990, the low-rise motel sits on 1.4 acres at the intersection of Huff N Puff and Canada roads at the Canada Road exit of Interstate 40 in Lakeland.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2013 appraisal is $1.5 million.

No financing was associated with the purchase.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

County Pension Fund Hits High Mark

The value of the pension fund that pays benefits to Shelby County retirees in March hit a five-year high.

The portfolio of the county’s retirement defined benefit plan stood at $1.01 billion in March. The last time the value was higher than that was in May 2008.

Also, the fund for each of the first three months of 2013 has surpassed the monthly values for each of the first three months in 2012.

The recent highs in the stock market – plus record-low interest rates – explain the fund’s recent performance. In a low interest rate environment, stocks tend to look more attractive to investors, and they push the market higher.

– Andy Meek

Bank of Bartlett Continues Profitable Streak

Bank of Bartlett in the first three months of 2013 enjoyed its seventh straight profitable quarter.

The bank’s pre-tax net income in the first quarter was $618,204. For the quarter ended March 31, the bank saw a 39 percent drop in interest expense to $333,690, and a 9 percent decrease in non-interest expense of $3.3 million.

Mortgage-related revenue for the quarter grew to $748,041, an 86 percent increase over the same quarter in 2012.

Bank of Bartlett President Harold Byrd said the bank’s positive earnings reflect the long-term strategic plan the bank put in place several years ago.

– Andy Meek

Council Approves Apartments, Golf Driving Range

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, May 7, a golf driving range on Summer Avenue north of Sycamore View Road, a 240-unit apartment complex on 19.3 acres at Lenow and Dexter roads and a 69-unit apartment complex on the northern side of Shelby Farms Park to the west of Germantown Parkway.

The council also approved a women’s resource center by Neighborhood Christian Center at 3028 Carnes Avenue.

Passing on the first of three readings were ordinance proposals to set the city property tax rate and the operating budget that amounted to fill-in-the-blank resolutions at this point. The council’s budget committee continued to hold hearings on the budget earlier Tuesday.

Also approved on the first of three readings was an ordinance by council member Kemp Conrad to eliminate pension “double dipping.”

The proposal specifically bans city employees who retire and get a city government pension from being rehired by city government and then getting paid for their work as well as continuing to receive their pension payments.

Conrad’s proposal would also require that retired city employees who go to work for any other local government entity would have their pension payment from the city reduced by whatever amount they made when working for the other government entity.

The council also reconsidered its rejection last month of $99,312 for sewer repairs at the Cedar Creek Sewer Extension in an area of Shelby County that is in the Memphis annexation reserve area. City Council attorney Allan Wade advised the council that there could be legal complications if it didn’t approve the item.

With the reconsideration the council approved the sewer extension.

– Bill Dries

Outside Group Sends Warning to the Fed

The Federal Advisory Council, a group of bankers that includes First Horizon National Corp. chairman and CEO Bryan Jordan and which advises the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, is concerned about several specific areas of the economy.

According to the Bloomberg news service, which obtained some of the group’s recent meeting minutes, the council has warned of a bubble being inflated by farmland prices as well as its concern over growth in student loan debt.

Jordan is the top executive at the Memphis-based parent company of First Tennessee Bank. The council, made up of 12 bankers, meets quarterly to advise the central bank.

In the council’s Feb. 3 meeting, according to Bloomberg, the council said that a run-up in student loan debt has parallels to the housing crisis.

– Andy Meek

MAAR Reports April Home Sales

The local residential real estate market continues to show signs of improvement, according to recent sales figures.

Memphis-area home sales for April rose 18.3 percent compared to April 2012, with 1,386 total sales recorded by the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

Sales increased 19 percent from March and the average sales price rose 5.8 percent to $135,104 from last April.

MAAR also reported a 20.6 percent increase in year-to-year sales volume, with sales through April hitting $612.3 million, up from $507.6 million through April 2012. Sales volume in April totaled $187.3 million, up 25 percent from $149.7 million in April 2012.

– Amos Maki

ServiceMaster Clean Expands to New York, Atlanta

The ServiceMaster Clean division of Memphis-based ServiceMaster Co. has expanded into Atlanta and Syracuse, N.Y., with new franchise agreements announced this week.

The Atlanta territory becomes a third for the existing franchise group ServiceMaster Facilities Maintenance. And the Syracuse territory is a new ServiceMaster Janitorial territory.

– Bill Dries

Dunavant Logistics Group Opens Southwestern Office

Memphis-based Dunavant Logistics Group said it has hired Jim Lange to run a new Phoenix office as director of business development.

Lange will be responsible for expanding all of the company’s shipping and supply chain management activities throughout the Southwest, California and Pacific Northwest. He will focus on the growing international demand for agricultural commodities. Lange said expanding consumer markets in Asia and the Middle East have led to a boom in demand for U.S. agricultural exports.

– Jennifer Johnson Backer

Hamlet Pleads in Petties Drug Case

After five years in a Mexican prison, Chris Hamlet pleaded guilty in Memphis federal court Tuesday, May 7, to U.S. drug conspiracy charges that could earn him an even longer stint in a U.S. prison.

Hamlet is the last of the defendants in the Craig Petties drug organization charged in the largest drug case ever brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

All of the other defendants have either pleaded guilty or been convicted. Some have been sentenced.

Others, including Petties, the leader of the multi-state drug organization with direct ties to the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel, are awaiting sentencing by Memphis federal court Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays.

Mays scheduled an Aug. 8 sentencing hearing for Hamlet.

Hamlet fled Memphis for Mexico about the same time that Petties did in 2002. Petties ran the drug organization from Mexico for six years before he was captured in 2008 and brought back to Memphis.

Hamlet was arrested in Mexico just before that, in late 2007. Federal drug agents sought his return to the U.S. as well. But Mexican authorities imprisoned him for five years until last December when U.S. officials took custody of him near Houston.

– Bill Dries

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