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VOL. 133 | NO. 126 | Monday, June 25, 2018

Daily Digest

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Country Squire Apartments Sells for $62M

The Country Squire Apartments complex, located on the northeastern edge of Shelby Farms, has sold for $62 million.

In the transaction, Los Angeles-based Colony NorthStar Inc. sold the sprawling apartment community to Indianapolis-based Birge & Held.

Scott Freeman, managing director and global head of portfolio management for Colony NorthStar, signed the June 19 warranty deed.

In conjunction with the purchase, Andrew J. Held, president and COO of Birge & Held, signed a $48.1 million deed of trust on behalf of his company through the Merchants Bank of Indiana.

The Country Squire Apartment complex spans 57.6 acres near the corner of Walnut Grove and Germantown Parkway and was last appraised for a combined $34.9 million by the Shelby County Assessor.

– Patrick Lantrip

Memphis Fire Suspends Trial Program After Invoice Error

The Memphis Fire Department has suspended a pilot program for non-emergency medical calls after the city paid $50,000 to a healthcare provider when the physician services involved were supposed to be provided at no cost to the city.

Memphis Fire director Gina Sweat took the action after she discovered a fire department employee submitted four invoices for payment totaling $100,000 at $25,000 each. Sweat’s actions after discovering two of the invoices had been paid triggered an investigation by an internal auditor. The auditor has since recommended better internal controls for the fire department.

The pilot program known as RADAR – Rapid Assessment Decision and Redirection – is aimed at reducing costly non-emergency fire department ambulance calls that transport patients to emergency rooms.

RADAR instead channels non-emergency calls to a fire department paramedic and a physician from a healthcare provider to respond in an SUV instead of an ambulance. For the trial period, the physician services were to be provided at no cost to the city.

The fire department employee who submitted the invoices for payment has not been identified by the city and resigned in March.

“We believe that the contributing factor was the misuse of authority demonstrated by a high-ranking EMS employee with fiduciary capacity, that was placed in a position of authority,” city auditor Debbie Banks wrote in her report dated Friday, June 22.

Sweat indicated in a statement that she will hold the manager of the employee accountable for the mistake.

The manager questioned the employee after the first invoice was submitted.

“The EMS employee’s response implied that a decision had been made to remit payment to the physicians,” Banks wrote in her report. “The EMS manager presumed that the decision was made by the Fire Services Division command staff, so no further due diligence was performed to confirm the payment arrangements.”

The auditor’s report concludes there was no evidence of fraud.

“Innovative initiatives such as RADAR are important for providing the right response to the citizens of Memphis,” Sweat said in a written statement. “However, it is critical that they be conducted appropriately. We made a mistake, we learned from it and we are moving forward.”

The city attorney’s office will seek to recover the $50,000 the city paid out.

– Bill Dries

Gareth Munro Named Collierville High’s Soccer Coach

Collierville High School has named Gareth Munro as its new women’'s and men’s soccer head coach.

The head men’s coach at Briarcrest Christian for the last five years, Munro will begin duties immediately at CHS. He replaces Brittany Streger and Drew Hensarling.

Munro was born in Scotland, where he attended Cumbernauld High School. After graduating, he played soccer professionally for Stirling Albion FC and coached for the Scottish Football Association at its youth development centers.

In 2003, Munro moved to Jackson, Tennessee, attended Union University on a soccer scholarship and obtained a bachelor’s degree in physical education. Since his arrival to the Memphis area, he has been coaching with the Collierville Lobos Rush soccer club in addition to his duties at Briarcrest Christian.

– Don Wade

Memphis’ Cookston to Judge ‘Chopped Grill Masters’

Memphian Melissa Cookston, a seven-time world barbecue champion and restaurateur, is set to judge the new season of Food Network’s “Chopped Grill Masters,” which premieres July 31 at 8 p.m.

The series pits four grill masters from popular barbecue regions – Memphis; Kansas City, Missouri; North Carolina; and Texas – against each other for five episodes, with the winner taking home a cash prize and bragging rights.

Hosted by Ted Allen, each regional episode challenges the grill masters to showcase their skills over three rounds – appetizer, entrée and dessert – that use a mystery basket of ingredients. Each episode also will include a hometown specialty in one of the baskets.

The winner from each regional heat will go on to compete in the Aug. 28 finale for the $50,000 grand prize.

Cookston, who will be part of a rotating panel of guest judges across the nation, owns Steak by Melissa in Southaven, Mississippi; along with Memphis BBQ Co., which has locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Dunwoody, Georgia. She’s also the author of two cookbooks, “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South.”

– Don Wade

WIN Memphis Region Office Shifts to County in July

The federally funded Workforce Investment Network office for the Memphis region shifts from city government to Shelby County government with the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.

WIN gets federal funding for workforce training efforts in Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties.

The Tennessee Department of Labor directs the funds to the WIN regional office, and July 1 marks a transfer to those funding efforts to WIN offices in which county governments are the financial agent.

“With this new transition, we will do our best to ensure a seamless hand-off between the two administrations,” Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said in a written statement. “Helping those that are underemployed and unemployed connect to the employers who need them throughout the four-county region is crucial.”

“Having a trained workforce and ensuring that everyone who wants to connect to job opportunities has that chance are essential to our success as a community,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said in the same joint statement. “I’m confident that this administrative switch won’t impact what we do to reach those goals.”

– Bill Dries

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