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VOL. 131 | NO. 160 | Thursday, August 11, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: SEC and GMF, Wiseacre's Growth and Apartment Action

By Bill Dries

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating Global Ministries Foundation since mid-July. The revelation turned up Wednesday in a Memphis Federal Court filing by the receiver appointed to oversee and sell the Tulane and Warren apartments.

Those are the two complexes owned by GMF that failed two HUD inspections within several months. The second failure triggered a series of actions that have brought us to word of the second investigation of GMF in a week.

As bad as the bedbug infestations, bad roofs and horrible plumbing are, it looks like some of the questions from investigators are starting to focus on the tax-exempt bonds used to finance GMF's purchase of the properties.

Whatever happens next with the idea of a Wiseacre brewery at the Mid-South Coliseum will happen quickly – as in a commitment by the end of this year – quickly being a very relative term when government and politics become involved.

The urgency here isn’t about the Coliseum. It’s about the company that in less than three years has grown out of the ranks of micro-breweries to a regional brewery whose Broad Avenue brewery and tap room in an old warehouse was supposed to be big enough for a decade.

More on CLERB, one of the other stories out of a busy council day at City Hall. We go a bit deeper into the idea of the city council taking on the role of citizen complaints about police misconduct.

Lots of apartment action in Digest, most notably Hyde Capital of New York has bought the architectural landmark Kimbrough Towers building on Union Avenue at Kimbrough and the adjoining retail strip as well as the Rosecrest Apartments, across Union Avenue from Midtown Kroger to come and Midtown Market to come at the Union and McLean corner.

But wait, there’s more.

The Greens at Irene apartments in southeast Memphis sold for $39.1 million making it the largest multi-family transaction in Shelby County over the past year. It follows the $34.3 million sale of Collierville’s Madison at Schilling Farms community in June.

New numbers from Chandler Reports, the real estate information company that is part of The Daily News Publishing Co.

Homes sales across the county dropped for the second month in a row and the effect is to push up prices. And one of the Realtor’s we talked with says our market is behind on new construction.

And the Chandler numbers on the mortgage market show it up 5 percent in July.

The Memphis Real Estate Recap includes the sale of the Varsity Brands warehouse in Bartlett, pulling a $6 million permit for long-talked about work on The Cobblestones by the river, Olymbec buys again – this time an office building in southeast Memphis and the Country Hearth Inn on Millbranch sells.

The day after the July 10 protest march that shut down the Hernando DeSoto Bridge for several hours, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland took part in a townhall meeting at Greater Imani Christian Church in Raleigh with a standing room only crowd that included some of the leaders of the protest.

Things didn’t go well during the session. There was a lot of frustration and a fair amount of tension. Inbetween were a lot of folks who came to talk about things other than Black Lives Matter and to promote their own causes and organizations.

That is what tends to happen when our elected and political officials call such a meeting. And the harsh reaction of those involved in the protest was close to the best example of the stark and generational difference between the two groups of Memphians – the best example being the several thousand people on the bridge the day before.

Some of the differences among those involved in what was initially a march from the National Civil Rights Museum to the plaza at FedExForum (as outlined in our cover story) were also still present, leading to some disagreement about whether those in the audience would ask questions by filling out cards or be allowed to speak.

The result was a lengthy set of written questions and statements that Strickland vowed to answer and post on the city’s web site.

He has done that. You can find it here.

Here are a few of the questions, statements and responses that I think reflect some – not all, but some – of the issues that are still in play almost a month later.

These passages are verbatim:

Why is it that Mayor Strickland only make a news conference when it only involves the killing of police officers?

Since I’ve been in office, only one police officer, Verdell Smith, has been killed in the line of duty. I did meet privately with Officer Smith’s family to express his condolences, and I have also met privately with several homicide victims’ families, keeping those meetings private as to not exploit their grief. The level of violence in our community makes me angry. I keep a personal journal that has the name and picture of every homicide victim to remember who they are, and that public safety is my No. 1 priority as mayor. I am deeply affected by murders in our city.

We want our Mayor to be more interactive in our communities! That’s why we voted Warton out of seat.

Every week, I meet with the public in their communities, churches and neighborhoods. And I will continue to do more.

53. To the Mayor: Are you afraid of the movement?

Absolutely not. Everyone has a constitutional right to peaceful assembly. I may not have gone through the same struggles as my black friends and neighbors, but I know what injustice and discrimination look like, and I understand those struggles. I understand and believe that Black Lives Matter. And I care about the safety and welfare of all the citizens of Memphis, no matter what color they are or how much money they have.

Why didn’t you show up and show support to the cause?

I was near the protest and prepared to talk with protestors, but was advised by my police director, Mike Rallings, not to join the group.

65. What type of police sensitivity training will you be requiring? Will it be similar to the teacher training in inner city schools? Why are teachers getting this & not police?

Cultural diversity and bias-based profiling are taught during every recruit training session. Also, our Community Outreach Program (COP) currently teaches a block of instruction that touches on these topics. They discuss the importance of community policing, steps to take to get to know those in your community, and how to interact with different cultures and races. Also, our Training Academy staff is also working on implementing additional training to address cultural diversity and bias-based profiling for the 2017 in-service sessions. The training received by teachers is determined by the SCS board and the state.

Trump reaction in a state that has been red since 2000 in this week’s View From The Hill column by our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard.

Leah Roen is the new director of pro bono services for Memphis Area Legal Services in a community that has a large market for such help.


The problems McDonald’s is having are larger than their brand and their menu. Wendy’s says you aren’t eating out as much.

And Washington posts the biggest monthly budget deficit since February putting it year to date 10 percent higher.

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