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Whispers.

Feathering Its Nest

Did you hear some top executives with iberiaBank Mortgage Co. in Little Rock recently left to join Eagle Bank & Trust of Little Rock?

Included in the move was Bill Edwards, who was the president and CEO of IberiaBank Mortgage, which originated $436.9 million worth of mortgages in 2016, the third busiest in the state. He is now CEO of Eagle's mortgage department.

Eagle also landed Chuck Quick, who was Iberia Mortgage's former president and CEO and had retired from that position in 2014. Quick is Eagle's mortgage operations consultant.

David Bryles was an executive vice president at Iberia Mortgage and now is Eagle's chief operations officer for its mortgage department.

James Quick had been vice president of secondary marketing at Iberia Mortgage and is now Eagle's senior vice president and mortgage secondary marketing manager.

"We already have a very successful secondary mortgage operation," said Cathy Owen, chairman at Eagle Bank. "We saw an opportunity and were fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of it."

Eagle Bank had originated $102.8 million worth of mortgages in 2016, which put it at No. 12 on Arkansas Business' list of largest mortgage lenders ranked by total value. Owen didn't have a projection for what the total would be this year.

Eagle's mortgage department, though, only started about three years ago and is led by Lee Welfel, who remains its president of mortgage lending.

Owen said the mortgage department expects to keep growing.

"We are looking a multiple opportunites right now, but we aren't ready to make any announcements," she said.

Temporary Injunction

Washington County Circuit Judge Beth Storey Bryan has issued a temporary restraining order to prevent a bank from putting Rick Schaeffer's home up for sale on the courthouse steps Tuesday.

Bryan scheduled a hearing in her court for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Schaeffer, a former University of Arkansas sports information director and basketball analyst, and his wife, Adelaide, filed for the order on Halloween to prevent First Tennessee Bank of Memphis from selling the couple's residence on Dorchester Drive in Fayetteville. Rick Schaeffer is now the communications director for the Springdale School District.

First Tennessee alleged the Schaeffers were in default on the mortgage for more than $375,000. The Schaeffers disputed First Tennessee's calculation of the amount in default and said the bank violated their due process rights by failing to give proper notice of its intent to foreclose.

Bryan will determine at the hearing whether First Tennessee Bank's foreclosure can proceed. Until the court makes a ruling, the bank can't sell the property.

Million-Dollar Deals

* Real estate investment trust affiliates of New York's Northstar Securities sold four medical office projects in Saline County.

The biggest checked in at $12 million for the 34,670-SF 3 Medical Park Drive and 64,030-SF 5 Medical Park Drive projects in Benton.

The other two sales involved the 20,820-SF project at 23157 Interstate 30 in Bryant, $4.5 million; and the 11,350-SF project at 1200 N. Main St. in Benton, nearly $1.2 million.

Buyer: Affiliates of Little Rock's Summit Properties, led by Richard A. Williams.

* An affiliate of Cole Capital, a real estate investment trust in Phoenix, bought a 57,000-SF grocery store in Conway for $2.6 million. Seller: Harp's Food Stores Inc. of Springdale.

* Back in Benton, a 9,628-SF manor in the Hurricane Lake Estates neighborhood sold for nearly $1.5 million.

James and Kristy George purchased the property from the Hill Family Revocable Trust, led by Ronnie Hill Jr. and his wife, Candice.

* Over in Lonoke County, 336 acres along Crooked Creek and Coburn Brake changed hands in a $1 million transaction.

Greg and Becky Crawford acquired the mix of cropland and woods from the Gartie Vandiver Coburn Family Revocable Trust. Most of the property is less than 2 miles south of the Humnoke suburb of Allport.

Molten Metal Disaster

BlueOak Arkansas, the electronics recycling plant in Osceola, developed a leak in its furnace in November 2015 that resulted in molten metal escaping and causing more than $10.5 million in damage.

BlueOak's insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of Boston, paid BlueOak's claim but now is suing the companies that designed and manufactured the refractory lining materials for BlueOak's furnace, RHI US Ltd. of Cincinnati and RHI AG of Vienna, Austria. Liberty wants to recoup from the RHI companies the money it paid BlueOak, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Jonesboro.

Liberty alleges that the companies were negligent and breached their contract.

The problem started at the $35 million recycling plant in November 2015 when the leak developed in BlueOak's electric plasma furnace.

"The molten metal breakout destroyed the furnace and resulted in fire, heat, and smoke damage to the concrete slab foundation supporting the furnace," the lawsuit said. It also ruined the electrical and filtration equipment.

RHI US didn't immediately return a call for comment.

When the project broke ground in June 2014, BlueOak was touted as being the first U.S. urban mining refinery to recover high-value metals from electronic waste, such as computers and cellphones.

BlueOak Resources of Burlingame, California, said in June 2014 that it partnered with the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System and others to pay for the project, according to an Arkansas Economic Development Commission news release at the time. ATRS said it would invest up to $18 million in the project.

ATRS Director George Hopkins wasn't immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon for a status update on the investment.

Editor Steps Into Lineup

If the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports department were a football team, you might say it lost its quarterback last month when Deputy Sports Editor Jeff Krupsaw went down to staff cutbacks.

But Little Rock's daily newspaper has found a skilled signal-caller to step in: Jason Yates.

Yates, who took over a key sports editing spot when veteran Steve Goff moved over to be state editor, is now filling Krupsaw's old post running the department. Longtime Sports Editor Wally Hall concentrates primarily on writing his column and leaves administrative tasks to others.

"He's the right man for the job as they go forward," Krupsaw said of his former colleague. "He is an excellent editor. He also possesses strong administrative skills... I would have kept him over me, to be honest."

Krupsaw, one of seven Little Rock newsroom employees laid off last month, is featured in Outtakes on Page 20.

Will Update

It seems Donna Herring is running out of money to pay her defense attorneys.

Herring is the Camden real estate agent who has been accused of several felonies in the case of a fake will for a survivor of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion who later died in a car crash.

Herring is represented by the Little Rock law firm Lassiter & Cassinelli, which asked U.S. District Court Judge Susan 0. Hickey if Herring could file paperwork for the appointment of an attorney.

"The motion is based on her financial inability to pay retained counsel," the filing said.

Herring wanted the details of the request to be under seal because it dealt with personal information concerning her husband, the filing said.

Judge Hickey agreed to Herring's request, so that's all we can say about that.

A trial is set to start Feb. 5 in U.S. District Court in El Dorado for Herring and her co-defendants in the case: Herring's 22-year-old daughter, Jordan Alexandra "Alex" Peterson, and Herring's sister and brother-in-law, Marion "Diane" Kinley and John Wayne Kinley Jr.

Dairy Queen Northwest

Folks in northwest Arkansas jealous of Little Rock's new Dairy Queen, at 6100 W. 12th St., won't need to feel ice cream envy too long. An Alabama couple, Terry and Aimee Sims, have signed a franchise agreement to open seven in the region.

And after those seven--two in Fort Smith and one each in Rogers, Siloam Springs, Springdale, Tontitown and Van Buren--they hope for eight more.

Aimee Sims says they'll open at least two in 2018, though the locations hadn't yet been determined, with two each year after that. Sims said each Dairy Queen will mean 50 to 60 new jobs.

The Simses have a combined 55 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Aimee said, having worked as multiunit area supervisors with Taco Bell and Arby's. And they have two Dairy Queens--more properly, DQ Grill & Chill restaurants--in Alabama.

They liked the DQ franchise because it's a brand that has staying power but "it's reinvented itself to stay current."

Northwest Arkansas is an underpenetrated market, Sims said, and "was our first choice outside of Alabama."

They plan to open their first location by the end of March or first of April, she said, and the first seven will comprise an investment of about $12 million, depending on property prices
Seven-Digit Construction

Phelan Orthodontics                            $3,500,000
1801 Rahling Road, Little Rock
Contractor: Dave Grundfest Co., Little Rock

Eighth-Floor Renovation                        $2,201,588
Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield
601 Gaines St., Little Rock
Contractor: Baldwin & Shell Construction Co.,
Little Rock

Exterior Renovation                            $1,270,000
Pleasant Hill Apartments
800 Napa Valley Drive, Little Rock
Contractor: Central GC Construction Inc.,
Springhill, Kansas


Caption: Cathy Owen, chairman of Eagle Bank & Trust, expects the mortgage department to keep growing. [PHOTO BY KAREN E. SEGRAVE]

Caption: Chuck Quick

Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
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Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Nov 13, 2017
Words:1562
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