The Best and Worst of 2010

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 27, 2010 12:00 am  

Best Compliment for an Undergarment
Women are saying of Dillard's new 3-D Curves Wire bra that "I could sleep in this thing," according to Bill Dillard III, VP of merchandising at Dillard's.

Best Effort to Maintain One's Lifestyle
Mary Anne Shula
, who is married to NFL Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula, carried out a legal battle with her former stepson, Warren A. Stephens, the CEO of Stephens Inc., over a $1 million annual alimony payment from the estate of her former husband, Jackson T. "Jack" Stephens. Mary Anne Shula sued the estate in an attempt to have it post a bond to ensure the lifetime annual alimony payments don't stop. A Pulaski County Circuit Court judge ruled that the estate didn't have to post the bond.

Best Vote of Confidence
In February, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich., announced that it would send $11 million to Southern Bancorp of Arkadelphia to further its mission of revitalizing the Mississippi Delta. But the money didn't come in the form of a traditional grant. Instead, the foundation made a $5 million equity investment in the rural development bank company itself and deposited an additional $6 million.

Best Way Not to Rewin Clients
John Turbeville
counted it a privilege to have worked with the city of Jacksonville Policemen's Pension & Relief Fund since 1989. But when the Little Rock financial adviser lost the $5.8 million-asset pension fund as a client despite his lobbying efforts, Turbeville decided if you can't woo 'em, sue 'em. Turbeville claimed pension fund officials weren't responsive to his request for public information and didn't provide all the public information requested. The pension fund voted against Turbeville, in part, because he wasn't responsive to questions about his forced exodus from Merrill Lynch or consent orders signed by his former and current employer linked to him and investigations by the Arkansas Securities Department and Arkansas Insurance Department.

Worst Company Promise
In November, Phoenix Renewable Energy of Hot Springs promised it would soon unveil plans for a wood fuel plant in Camden. But the announcement hasn't appeared. We shouldn't have been surprised. The groundbreaking for a $110 million plant Phoenix held in August 2009 never got off the ground either. Raising money became more difficult after the company was hit with a cease-and-desist order from the Arkansas Securities Department in May. And the company's top officers, CEO Sam Anderson and COO Stephen Walker, both have criminal records too.

Best New Place for Care
In July, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences opened a $130 million 12-floor expansion of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. The stunning glass building adds 330,000-SF to the Cancer Institute and connects to the existing 11-story 200,000-SF Cancer Institute building.

Worst Sisterly Affection
In April, a jury awarded Debra M. Evans of Little Rock and M. Gail Graves of Conway a $1.9 million verdict against their sister, Vicki A. Stephens of North Little Rock, whom they accused of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and theft as trustee of a family trust. Stephens subsequently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization listing $2.9 million in debt, including the judgment owed to her sisters, and $2.6 million in assets.

Worst Delay in Justice
Houston resident Jeffrey Scott Rand, formerly of North Little Rock and Hot Springs, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Hot Springs on March 10, almost exactly two years after a federal grand jury charged him with five counts of securities fraud and 20 counts of mail fraud. The charges are related to the same misrepresentations to investors and misappropriation of their dollars that were alleged by the Arkansas Securities Department in a cease-and-desist order issued against Rand and his Wave Energy Inc. in December 2006. After Texas legal legend Dick DeGuerin withdrew as his lawyer, a public defender was appointed for Rand in November and his trial was scheduled for July 2011.

Best Second Chance
Investors in Clean Technology International Corp. held their first real shareholders meeting earlier this month after state securities regulators succeeded in forcing Darrell Lainhart of Sherwood to turn over real estate, personal property and more than 300 million shares of CTIC stock. Investors whose money supported a lavish lifestyle for Lainhart and his wife can now try to market CTIC's technology: a machine that apparently can produce large quantities of carbon nanospheres.

Best Lease
More than eight years after it was completed in an exercise of irrational optimism by the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, the Victory Building at 1401 W. Capitol Ave. in Little Rock is finally nearing capacity. The Arkansas State Medical Board recently signed a lease for more than 18,000 SF that brings the occupancy rate of the 282,000-SF building to 98 percent. Irwin Partners represented ATRS as leasing agent, and the Arkansas Building Authority represented the ASMB.

Best Place to Be Hungry
Shackleford Crossings
is home two three of the 10 top restaurants in Little Rock during the first nine months of 2010. Those eateries would be Copeland's of New Orleans, which sold more than more than $2.9 million worth of food to rank fifth in the city; Texas Roadhouse, $2.5 million at No. 8; and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, $2.4 million at No. 9. Oh, and an Arby's will be joining the menu.

Worst Restitution Prediction
When former Little Rock lawyer Gene Cauley admitted stealing $9.3 million from a client trust fund, he thought he'd be able to come up with the restitution before he was sentenced in November 2009. By the time he was sentenced, however, he had only been able to repay $500,000 and thought it would take at least a year to pay the remaining $8.8 million. A year after his sentencing he had made five more installments totaling $63,400.



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