Sugar Services Begins Downtown Expansion

Sugar Services has applied for a $1.3 million building permit for new construction at its 7 G.E. Patterson Ave. facility. Sugar Services’ expansion came with a bit of opposition from the surrounding South End neighborhood. The bulk sugar processor is one of the last remaining industrial tenants in an area dense with high-end apartments and condos.

In March, Sugar Services went before the Board of Adjustment seeking a zoning variance to permit new construction on the property. Area developers and residents spoke out against the truck and rail traffic that moves through the Sugar Services facility. The board approved Sugar Services’ request to demolish one of its original buildings and construct a 13,000-square-foot warehouse to be used for storage and processing.

Traditional Construction Co. is listed as the contractor in the recent building permit.

– Madeline Faber

Council Urges Strickland To Make Rallings Top Cop

Interim Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings told city council members Tuesday, July 19, that if he is appointed permanent police director by Mayor Jim Strickland, he would commit to serve for the duration of Strickland’s current four-year term of office.

Rallings is in the city’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan with an April 2018 retirement date. Strickland’s current term of office runs to the end of 2019.

Rallings made the commitment to serve beyond the DROP date as the council approved a resolution urging Strickland to appoint Rallings as the permanent choice.

Rallings is one of six finalists recommended to Strickland by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which fielded applications for the city. Whoever Strickland selects will go to the council for approval.

Council member Patrice Robinson recused herself from Tuesday’s vote because she is serving on a committee that will be involved with Strickland in interviewing each of the six candidates.

In other council action Tuesday, council member Martavius Jones delayed a vote on third and final reading of an ordinance to put a referendum over city employee residency requirements on the November ballot.

The proposal for voters would be to change Memphis’ charter to require city employees hired after a certain date to live within the city limits.

Jones said he is seeking more information about police recruiting by other cities and their experiences in trying to hire police officers as the city of Memphis also is making an effort. Jones is skeptical that those other cities have an advantage by not having a residency requirement.

The item comes back for a final vote at the council’s Aug. 9 session.

The council approved another charter change referendum for the November ballot Tuesday that would change the distribution of in-lieu-of-tax payments from Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division to city government. The result would be a $5 million increase in revenue to the city if approved by voters.

The council also approved $6.5 million in street paving funding but took back the approval by the end of Tuesday’s session once council members got a look at where the paving projects were to be distributed among the council districts. Some districts had more projects than others.

The council will discuss the paving list at committee sessions next month.

– Bill Dries

Dunavant Enterprises Starts Leasing Group

Memphis-based Dunavant Enterprises has formed a leasing entity that leases all types of transportation equipment to its logistics customers.

Dunavant Logistics Leasing Group is headquartered in LaPorte, Texas, and is led by Carlos Rodriguez, who comes to the position of director of business development and equipment leasing from being maintenance and repair director of Dunavant Trans Gulf Transportation LLC for six years.

Dunavant chief operating officer Richard McDuffie said the move into leasing stemmed from the issues Dunavant’s logistics clients face with maintenance on aging chassis.

“Our customers specifically requested chassis and trailer offerings in conjunction with our warehousing, trucking, drayage and global logistics management services,” McDuffie said in a statement.

– Bill Dries

Memphis Contributes To Pinnacle’s Strong Q2 Results

In its second-quarter earnings announcement released this week, Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners had a few numbers specific to Memphis.

For one, Pinnacle says net loans in Memphis have increased 41.4 percent since its acquisition of Memphis-based Magna Bank closed in September.

Pinnacle also has hired 17 revenue producers in the market since September.

Company-wide, revenue for the quarter ended June 30 was a record $107.8 million, an increase of $8 million from the first quarter of 2016. Revenues increased 50 percent over the same quarter last year.

Loans at June 30 were also a record – $7.09 billion, an increase of $263.5 million from March 31 and $2.26 billion from June 30, 2015.

– Andy Meek

Kendrick Promoted At Memphis Int’l Raceway

IRG Sports + Entertainment has promoted Pam Kendrick to president and general manager of Memphis International Raceway, the company announced this week.

Kendrick has worked in the operations and management side of the motorsports industry since 1998, starting at Dover International Speedway. In 2002, she transferred to Dover Motorsports-owned Memphis Motorsports Park as the director of administration and remained with the facility until it closed in 2009. IRGSE purchased the facility in late 2010 and reopened it under Kendrick’s leadership as the vice president and general manager.

The Millington raceway was tabbed this year as the new home of the world’s longest continually running drag race event, the World Series of Drag Racing. Kendrick spearheaded the addition of the major sporting event to MIR, according to IRGSE, and has worked with the local community to promote the historic race. In addition, MIR celebrated 30 years of hosting the Super Chevy Show in April and the turnout was record-setting.

“Ms. Kendrick’s aptitude and contributions to Memphis International Raceway since IRGSE took ownership of the facility has been invaluable,” said IRGSE vice chairman and CEO Chris Lencheski in a statement. “She is an innovative thinker, hard worker and embodies all the traits a company needs to be successful. We appreciate all that she has done at Memphis International Raceway and her commitment to the new culture within the organization.”

– Daily News staff

Former Public Works Director In Mason Indicted for Theft

The town of Mason’s former public works superintendent, Christopher Lee Trimble, has been indicted by a Tipton County grand jury on charges of official misconduct and theft after an investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

From January 2007 through his resignation in March 2015, authorities allege Trimble received unauthorized compensation of $602,865.40, according to a release from the state Comptroller’s Office. This money included overtime payments, sale of his vacation and sick time back to the town, and unauthorized holiday pay.

During that time period, Trimble allegedly claimed that he was working 112 hours per week, and indicated that he never took vacation or sick days. The former and current Board of Mayor and Aldermen told investigators they were unaware of the overtime that Trimble claimed, and time sheets made available for inspection were not signed by the mayor or a designated alderman. Trimble admitted to investigators that he did not work all of the hours claimed on his time sheets, according to the release.

Investigators also raised concerns about payments made to an outside consultant that were never approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The investigation also describes numerous deficiencies in the town of Mason’s accounting practices. These include failing to maintain current records, failing to make prompt deposits, and filing delinquent taxes with the Internal Revenue Service.

Mason is located in Tipton County, about 11 miles northeast of Arlington.

“This investigation underscores the importance of oversight,” state Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said in a statement. “At a minimum, all employee timesheets should be signed and reviewed. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen must establish proper checks and balances to safeguard the people’s money.”

– Daily News staff