Business

Business briefs: April 28

Kentucky

Churchill Downs settles dispute with horsemen's group

Churchill Downs Inc. has settled a dispute with the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group, Robert A. Reeves, Frank Petramalo Jr., and Wilson Shirley.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II approved a consent judgment on Monday that limits the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group's ability to advise horsemen involved in negotiations over simulcasting signals.

In 2008, Churchill accused the defendants of conspiring to fix prices and orchestrate a boycott to leverage a bigger share of advance deposit wagering revenue for horse trainers and owners.

The defendants have denied that. Under the consent judgment, the defendants can still represent their individual states but can't be involved in other groups' negotiations without facing $250,000 in damages.

Jobless rates rise in 61 counties

Frankfort: Unemployment rates rose in 61 of Kentucky's 120 counties from March 2009 to March 2010, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.

Fayette County had the lowest rate in the state, with 8 percent unemployment. The counties with the next-lowest rates were Woodford, 8.3 percent; Boyd and Calloway, 8.7 percent each; Madison, 8.8 percent; Oldham, 9 percent; Franklin and Rowan, 9.1 percent each; and Jessamine, McCracken and Warren, 9.2 percent each.

The counties with the highest rates were Magoffin, 20.8 percent; Jackson, 19 percent; Menifee, 18.7 percent; Bath, 17.4 percent; Powell, 16.9 percent; Grayson, 15.9 percent; Edmonson and Wolfe, 15.8 percent each; Lewis, 15.7 percent; and Morgan, 15.6 percent.

Law firm, energy analysts named best places to work

Lexington: The winners were named last week in the Sixth Annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky contest sponsored by the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management state council and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC, which operates in multiple cities including Lexington, was named the best large company, defined as companies with more than 250 employees. Genscape, a Louisville-based energy analyst firm, was named the best small or medium company, defined as a business with 25 to 249 employees. The rankings are based on assessments of the company's employee policies and procedures, as well as the results of an internal employee survey. To view the full list, visit www.kychamber.com.

Kirklevington apartments sold, to be renovated

Lexington: An apartment complex on Kirklevington Drive off Tates Creek Road has been sold and is expected to undergo extensive renovations.

The Creeks on Kirklevington, which has 116 units, has been sold to the Williams Land Corp., whose leader is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky, said Realtor Ken Silvestri of Silvestri-Craig Realtors. Silvestri said the property had begun to fall into disrepair before the sale.

"They just didn't keep up with the required investment in the property," he said of the previous management group.

Silvestri said the buyer, Bill Williams, has moved into the complex himself, though he maintains a home in West Virginia. The purchase price was $2.375 million.

"He wants to make the property into a real premier property," Silvestri said.

Williams has already begun replacing the heating and air conditioning throughout the complex and is also planning on renovating the clubhouse and pool area, as well as the interiors of the apartments.

National

Feds to review crash involving Toyota

Concord, N.H.: Federal officials plan to review a New Hampshire collision last fall that killed four people, three of them in a Toyota Highlander. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was sending investigators to Peterborough, N.H., to conduct a field examination on the vehicle and would work with local officials probing the crash. The October accident killed Stephen Lagakos, 63, a Harvard University professor driving the SUV; his wife, Regina, 61; and his mother, Helen, 94. Also killed was Stephen Krause, 56, of Keene. Police said the SUV sped into the breakdown lane then swerved across Route 202 into oncoming traffic. Toyota recently received a $16.4 million fine for its slow response to sticking gas pedals. It also faces numerous lawsuits.

Home price index shows first annual gain in three years

Miami: Home prices in February posted their first annual increase since the end of 2006, lifted by temporary tax credits for homebuyers. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday squeezed out a 0.6 percent gain. But that was half the increase analysts had expected. On a more cautionary note, 11 of the 20 cities tracked by the index showed declines from February last year. The data underscored the fragile nature of the housing recovery. Nationally, home prices are up more than 3 percent from the bottom in May 2009, but still are 30 percent below the May 2006 peak.

April consumer confidence rises

Washington: The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose in April to 57.9, the highest level since September 2008 when the financial crisis escalated. The reading is still a long way from the 90 that's considered healthy, and confidence could remain weak for at least another year because companies haven't begun to dramatically ramp up hiring. Consumer spending, including major items such as health care, accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and is crucial to a strong economic resurgence.

staff, wire reports

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