by Arkansas Business Staff on Monday, Dec. 27, 2010 12:00 am
"Like 2009 without the fear." - J. French Hill, CEO and chairman of Delta Trust & Bank of Little Rock, predicting in April how 2010 would shape up economically.
"Maybe me." - Collins Haynes of Rogers in March when asked who would be the next financial casualty in the real estate meltdown in northwest Arkansas. Haynes, an architect and developer, declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy four months later.
"This Court is convinced that during the year prior to the date [Brandon] Barber filed his bankruptcy petition, Barber was actively engaged in transferring and concealing his available money with the intent to delay, hinder and defraud his creditors." - U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ben Barry in a Nov. 9 order denying the former northwest Arkansas developer's bankruptcy discharge.
"Dealers can't just assume Alice Walton is going to buy anything. ... She's exercised restraint all along the way. And I don't mean simply only buying bargains but just being absolutely ruthless on realistic market values. ... She'd be the last person who'd want to be taken to the cleaners on a purchase or sticking her head out at auction. And I think that's something that's very important for people to know." - John Wilmerding, art expert and adviser to Walton, who is spearheading the creation of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.
"Dillard's was in a freefall. I think we can say they're no longer in freefall." - Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a national retail consulting and investment banking firm in New York, speaking after Dillard's stock price rebounded to $31 in late April. It was trading at $37 a share last week.
"An average garment - a blouse or a pair of pants or something like that - has in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 different components: zipper, fabric, thread. A typical bra has 40, 50 [components]. It's about like building a rocket ship. It's almost like an engineering marvel." - Bill Dillard III, vice president of merchandising at Dillard's Inc., discussing the store's innovative 3-D Curves Wire Bra.
"When you go from dealing with someone that you know in Little Rock to talking to someone in Charlotte or Birmingham, they don't care about your story, they don't care about your history, they don't even know about your industry. All they know is you lost money last year and they want to be paid." - Steve Anthony, president of Anthony Timberlands Inc. of Bearden, on the changing financial landscape.
"We're like everyone else. We're just trying to figure out what the hell is going on." - David Estes, president of First State Bank of Lonoke, regarding the mayhem caused by attorney Kevin Lewis of Little Rock and his millions of dollars in bogus improvement district bonds.
"First Community Bank has been unable to locate or communicate with Kevin Lewis." - President Boris Dover in a lawsuit that his Batesville filed against Lewis, who used improvement district bonds as collateral for loans.
"We are not quite as optimistic as some of our institutions, and we did begin to see the signs about three years before the institutions did. And we did voice concerns about over-exuberance." - State Bank Commissioner Candace Franks in March. Nine months later, she shut down First Southern Bank of Batesville after discovering that it had invested $22 million in Lewis' bonds. It was the first state-chartered bank to fail in Arkansas since 1986.
"If Aaron Jones set that fire himself, why would he pee in his pants?" - Tim Dudley, lead defense attorney for Jones, while holding up a pair of urine-stained shorts before the jury during closing arguments.
"I'm going to get caught. That would be a good reason to pee in your pants, I would submit." - Daniel Stripling, assistant U.S. attorney, countering before jurors convicted Jones of torching his Chenal Valley home.
"Paying attention to the little details, I think, has helped. Along with some hard praying." - Tim Morton, executive chef and general manager of 1620 Restaurant in Little Rock, on how his restaurant has managed to survive in a tough economy.
"Once you breathe life into a business they take care of themselves." - Little Rock developer Steve Clary, explaining to the trustee in his $168.6 million bankruptcy how he kept track of his far-flung business dealings.
"Hello. We have closed Kiefer Retirement Services. You will need to find another adviser to help you with your investment needs. Alice and I have greatly enjoyed serving you the past years. Thank you. Goodbye." - The voice of Steve Kiefer on his Little Rock investment advisory firm's answering machine in April, four months after he was initially fined $50,000 by the Arkansas Securities Department for fraudulent mutual fund sales practices.
"It will be the kind of money that comes riding in, often from out of state, by people who don't know a local area in an attempt to influence elections to satisfy someone's national agenda. I think it has the potential for being disruptive." - Retiring U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., on the Citizens United decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions are free to spend unlimited sums on political advertisements advocating for or against a candidate.
"This bankruptcy is a sham and was only filed to hinder, delay or defraud Deltic [Timber Corp.] from taking possession of its own property. This bankruptcy is like the projects of [Sam] Anderson and [Stephen] Walker ... all doing business as Phoenix Renewable Energy, and a myriad of other entities where they take good folks' money and it magically disappears, with nothing to show for it." - Attorney Judy Simmons Henry of Little Rock in a bankruptcy court motion to evict Walker from a nearly $600,000 Hot Springs home owned by Deltic Timber.
"He destroyed lives and life savings and he knew what he was doing and he didn't care." - Dale T. Pike in a letter asking U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes to throw the book at John Mills, the former CEO of defunct Affiliated Foods Southwest of Little Rock. Mills was sentenced to 41 months in prison in connection with a check-kiting scheme.
"As I have said many times, this agency is much bigger than anyone [sic] person and will continue on regardless of whether I have a personal agency license or not." - Steve Standridge in a March e-mail to employees of Steve Standridge Insurance Inc. of Mount Ida after the Arkansas Insurance Department stripped him of his insurance license. By November, the last of what had been 18 offices had been sold.
"Put all of your eggs in one basket and then very carefully tend your basket." - Martha Murphy, testifying in a lawsuit against the IRS about the investment philosophy of her father, Charles Murphy Jr., the architect of Murphy Oil Corp. and Deltic Timber Corp., both of El Dorado.
"My husband is 80 years old. .... He's on the back nine of his life. Don is unable to do talks and signings like he used to." - Mary Anne Shula, tearfully explaining why she and her husband, NFL Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula, couldn't afford an additional $3,400 in annual taxes on their 12,000-SF Florida home. Mary Anne Shula was also in a dispute with her former stepson, Warren A. Stephens of Little Rock, over a trust fund that was created to provide her $1 million a year in alimony for the rest of her life.
"If the Medical Board would have pulled his license the first time, instead of making a deal with him, that would have saved some lives." - Fort Smith attorney Phillip Milligan, who represents the family of one of 10 patients who died while in the care of Dr. Randeep Mann of Russellville. Mann was convicted in August of the bombing that almost killed the chairman of the Arkansas Medical Board, Trent Pierce.
"Through today, certain former Timberland Bank board members have waged a whisper campaign of denial and blame-shifting to Mark Turner. He was the convenient fall-guy for the bank's failure as 'senior loan officer.'" - Attorney Robert Trammell of Little Rock, defending a client who would later plead guilty to two counts of bank fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 24.
"We ain't doing that." - Warren Stephens, president and CEO of Stephens Inc., in a public response to a question about his future philanthropic endeavors and the possibility of his signing the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge.
"We don't have a lawsuit against him. We don't intend to. I think one of the reasons his clients haven't pursued suing him is because he doesn't have anything." - A former client of former Stanford Group investment adviser Chris Collier of Little Rock, who declared bankruptcy in July and listed 28 clients who had invested in Stanford's Antiguan certificates of deposit as potential creditors.
"This right here will probably be what puts the fork in me." - Mark Hughes, owner of Ship 'n Shore Liquor Mart on Highway 7 just inside the Garland County line, on the Nov. 2 vote to legalize liquor sales in Clark County, the source of about 65 percent of his business.
"Wid University of Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett @15ryanmallet baccstag" -Rapper Snoop Dogg captioning a backstage photo of himself with the Razorbacks quarterback that he sent out via Twitter.
"We're definitely a more fun group than people think we are." - Bobby Thurman, owner and president of Nelson Funeral Service in Berryville, speaking of funeral directors.
"The sky is the limit for this guy when he comes out. The NFL is drooling over Mallett." - Former NFL quarterback Warren Moon on 103.7 The Buzz's "Sports Talk."
"I had no idea how long it was. I just lined up to kick it like any other field goal." - Arkansas kicker Zach Hocker on his 51-yard field goal against South Carolina. Hocker became the first UA kicker since 1992 to hit from 50 yards or more.
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