by Arkansas Business Staff on Monday, Dec. 22, 2008 12:00 am
– Scott Ford, CEO of Alltel Corp., to anyone who had hoped Alltel's sale to Verizon Communications Inc. wouldn't go through.
"Why would I want to do that? What possible reason? I'm gonna have a good life out here in the private sector. Why would I go back to telling everybody in the world how much money I make and being limited to what I can make and living in a very expensive city and barely surviving to have some obscure Cabinet post and have some 20-year-old from the White House telling me what I'm gonna do? Thanks but no thanks. I have better things to do with my life."
– Mike Huckabee, on being asked by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette whether he would consider a spot in Sen. John McCain's administration had McCain won the presidential election.
"Mike Huckabee knows how to take care of Mike Huckabee."
– Dennis Milligan, ex-chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party.
Crystal Bridges Museum will be "the greatest catalyst for growth that this area has ever, ever experienced."
– Bob McCaslin, mayor of Bentonville, where previous growth was catalyzed by a little company called Wal-Mart.
"Enough is enough. The time has come for new leadership. ... To allow the current management team to continue in office is simply indefensible. Do your duty. Change the management team and bring in new leadership with a proven merchandising track record."
– Geoffrey Rosenberger in a Nov. 26 letter to Dillard's Inc. director Robert C. Connor and other board members.
"This is certainly serious and something that I've given a great deal of reflection to. To say this has been a learning experience on how quickly I do business is an understatement."
– Lu Hardin, then-president of the University of Central Arkansas at Conway, quoted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and referring to a memo supporting bonuses for Hardin that contained the names of three UCA administrators who said they had never seen the document.
"The worse the binge, the worse the hangover, and this was a pretty bad binge. The lending crap that had been going on the past four years was just insanity, and we're paying for it."
– Alex Lieblong, president of the Little Rock money management firm of Lieblong & Associates, on the overextended, overleveraged credit markets.
"If you were retired and living in your house and you needed income for spending money for food, you can't eat the house."
– Karron Wages, president of Financial Decisions Institute Inc., on why a house shouldn't be considered an investment asset.
"It's bleak. And anybody who tries to deny that has got rose-colored glasses on."
– Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Arkansas' Sam M. Walton College of Business, discussing the state's economic prospects for 2009.
"My guess is your grandma, or certainly your great-grandma, would think you're nuts."
– Micah Brown, a certified financial planner with Ifrah Financial Services Inc., on a generation of Americans living well beyond their means.
"Peter Drucker was right: No matter how many women you assign to the task, it still takes nine months to have a baby."
– Randy Dennis, bank consultant with DD&F Consulting of Little Rock, on the temporary problem of overbuilding in northwest Arkansas.
"Under Sarbanes-Oxley, they have to puke it all out this year or someone's going to jail."
– John Allison, CEO of Home BancShares Inc. of Conway, on the problem loans that publicly traded banks would have to own up to in 2008.
"Every time I go and make a speech, I always tell the crowd they're going to need a box of tissues before I'm through."
– Roger Rorie, mayor of Clinton, which in 2008 has endured the closing of the Pilgrim's Pride plant, the largest employer at 325 jobs, two tornadoes, three major flash floods, two regular floods, a thunderstorm that produced golf ball-sized hail and the remains of Hurricane Gustav.
"We walked outside afterward and saw a crowd that we thought was fired up about USA Truck. Our company name was on the marquee overlooking the street and everything. We later found out the crowd was gathered because the Jonas Brothers were down the street at MTV Total Request Live."
– Clifton Beckham, president and CEO of the truckload carrier based in Van Buren, after ringing the closing bell in recognition of the company's 15th anniversary of trading on the Nasdaq exchange.
"Banking used to be fun. You could help people and help them build things, and everyone made money. Now, you're just wanting to see if you can get out of some of these traps you're in."
– Johnny Chambers, CEO of Chambers Bancshares Inc., on the changing climate for lenders.
"We're the party of the people, and we're not going to wall ourselves off. That's in keeping with the memory of Chairman Gwatney. That's not what he would've wanted us to do us."
– Darinda Sharp, director of communications for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, on the decision not to go overboard with security changes at party headquarters, where Bill Gwatney was gunned down.
"If that's their attitude, they may have trouble getting another library tax approved."
– Jimmy Moses, principal in Little Rock's Moses Tucker Real Estate, regarding a comment by Bobby Roberts, executive director of the Central Arkansas Library System, that the tax contributions of a proposed seven-story Aloft Hotel were inconsequential.
"I would like to think the public would support that."
– Bobby Roberts on the ever-increasing cost and open-ended nature of the $21 million Arkansas Studies Institute project budget.
"I've heard Mr. Whitbeck's explanation, and I just simply do not believe his explanation. ... Here's what I think was going on: that Mr. Whitbeck was looting Winrock Grass Farms, taking all the money out that he possibly could, either spending it on his personal expenses, paying these tax debts, these other personal obligations and then converting it over to [Butterfield Investments] and then when Winrock ran completely out of resources, it would be easy enough just to let the case get dismissed or die on the vine. The transactions when viewed in that light make sense."
– U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Mixon on Frank Whitbeck's financial management.
"We can only get so many prisoners. But one thing you can count on is they always make it to work on time."
– Tom Schueck, Lexicon president, on filling job openings by hiring inmates who are shuttled to work by jailers.
"We won all our lawsuits including the big momma. If you read the press coverage before the trial, I was [going to get] 150 years in the pen."
– Jay DeHaven, controversial Maumelle developer, looking back on surviving a 32-count indictment in 1993 only to emerge from Little Rock's U.S. District Court a free man on Aug. 24, 1994.
"Yeah, the same guy that inspects tanning beds inspects us."
– William Burgess, vice president of operations of Alexander's Power Technology Inc., on the odd federal bureaucracy that oversees his family's laser firm.
"Everything is bad in the department store sector. Now Dillard's was bad when other people were good. Now when things are bad, [Dillard's] is worse."
– Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates Inc. of New York, a national retail consulting and investment banking firm.
"There's absolutely nothing in the securities law that says you can't sell a risky investment, a chancy investment. You can do that; you just have to tell them that's what it is."
– Arkansas Securities Commissioner A. Heath Abshure. He also summed up Arkansas' securities fraud law thusly: "It's, you know what, don't lie."
"We are not going to have good journalism unless we find some way to do this on the Internet. We are all trying to answer that question, how are we going to pay for journalism in the future?"
– Jim Hopkins, former Arkansas Gazette business editor, about his attempts to earn a living from his blog that is all about his former employer, Gannett Co. Inc.
"Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you."
– Frank Fellone, deputy editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, on the state and national attention that followed State Editor Marilyn Mitchell's resignation. In a profanity-laced mass e-mail to the paper's staff, Mitchell claimed the newspaper's executive suite was a "good ole' boys club" that regularly degraded women and minorities.
"We're scared to talk about it."
– David Wroten, executive vice president of the Arkansas Medical Society, on serendipitous declines of 30 to 50 percent in medical malpractice insurance premiums during 2008.
"We have over $10 million and then we have some that's pledged beyond that."
– Jo Luck, CEO of Heifer International, on the mid-year status of fund-raising efforts for Heifer's Murphy-Keller Education Center. In September, when Heifer asked the city of Little Rock to facilitate a tax-free bond issue, spokesman Ray White said a gap of $5.7 million remained between the amount raised and the center's $13 million total cost.
"What makes it odd? All the odd stuff."
– George Stowe-Rains, a search and rescue specialist with the Arkansas Forestry Commission, on the fruitless search for Little Rock businessman John Glasgow on Petit Jean Mountain, where his car was found.
"For Freeman to come down here and say we are dishonest, and for you to sit there and not say anything, hurt us to the core. We have never been so offended in our lives."
– John Glasgow, in a letter he drafted for William Clark, CEO of CDI Contractors, to send to William Dillard II, CEO of Dillard's Inc., regarding a contentious meeting that included Glasgow, Clark, Dillard and James Freeman, chief financial officer of Dillard's Inc.
"Every scenario you can imagine has a great big hole in it that you just can't bridge. It seems to me he had every reason to stay and no reason to run away."
– Little Rock attorney Roger Glasgow on his youngest brother's unexplained disappearance.
"Just don't take for granted that a Chinese interpreter knows American culture that well. What they learn about American culture is from the media, particularly these Hollywood films. They take 'Desperate Housewives' as real."
– Hui Wu, executive director of the Confucius Institute in Conway, on the cultural chasm that exists when conducting business internationally.
"A sour economy is a magnet for insurance fraud. ... Normally decent people who wouldn't steal a candy bar from a drugstore won't hesitate to steal from their insurance company."
– James Quiggle, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud of Washington, D.C.
"If Arkansas had a state ban on self-referrals, this would clearly be in violation of the law. These, to me, are just disguised kickbacks."
– Jean Mitchell, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University who has studied physician-owned imaging centers, referring to Fayetteville MRI LLC. Doctors became investors in the center by putting in $100, but earning returns on that investment depended on how many patients the doctors referred to the firm, which operates as Clearvue Medical Imaging in Lowell.
"That's what I face every day. It's wrong and I'm tired of it."
– Jimmy Ashley of Jonesboro, who sued four restaurants in U.S. District Court in Jonesboro for allegedly violating the American with Disabilities Act by not providing access to restrooms or other sections of the restaurants.
"It's the single hardest business there is, hands down."
– Paul Novicky, president of Culinary Consultants LLC, advising wannabe restaurateurs to think twice before diving into the business.
"We have a rapidly growing demand for physician services, but we've been training the same number of physicians for over 20 years. And that's starting to catch up with us."
– Phillip Miller, a spokesman for Merritt Hawkins & Associates, a physician-recruiting firm in Irving, Texas, on the projected doctor shortage.
"It didn't even involve his own tax returns. He got no money out of it."
– Attorney Sam Perroni after his client, Little Rock tax attorney Barry Jewell, was convicted of tax evasion in U.S. District Court.
"Jennings' [Osborne] preference is that this matter be resolved in a private and confidential way."
– Bud Whetstone, Osborne's attorney, in a 2007 letter to Little Rock financier Warren Stephens over the management of Osborne's former company, Arkansas Research Medical Testing LLC of Little Rock. In 2008, Whetstone filed a lawsuit – making the dispute public – and alleged the "gross mismanagement" of the company resulted in Osborne missing out on $6 million in deferred payment.
"I think more of these Arkansas community banks have money to lend. There's been a perception that, because the Wall Street banks are not lending, or at least not lending very well, that none of the banks are lending. But in fact, that's not the case."
– Tim Yeager, an associate professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville who specializes in the Arkansas banking industry.
"That's much more competitive up there. The Morning News [of Springdale] offers content for free, and it really hasn't hurt that much because it's a smaller market."
– Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, on why his properties in northwest Arkansas offer free content online, though he vehemently opposes offering content for free online.
"We've had several people in our market letting people go because of a lack of sufficient business. I don't think we're done seeing that. There's not enough pie to go around, and there's too many title companies in northwest Arkansas."
– Blake Hanby, president and CEO of Waco Title Co. of Lowell, on the real estate slowdown's effect on his market.
"I used to joke that we have been the mother sow for so many piglets out there. And there's no antagonism; most of them say they had great years at Cranford, and 'We got our own agency.' We say good luck and don't graze in our yard."
– Jim Johnson, co-founder of CJRW, on the many agencies former CJRW staffers have started in Little Rock.
"We'll fight this till hell freezes over and we get a definitive answer on this."
– Joe Whisenhunt on his legal fight to have utilities, not developers, pay to relocate lines and pipes in public rights of way.
"We think we're on track to achieve record quarterly earnings. But our stock price doesn't reflect that. There sometimes is a disconnect between the stock performance and earnings performance."
– George Gleason, CEO of the Little Rock's Bank of the Ozarks Inc., on the vagaries of the stock market.
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