Flyer InteractiveCity Reporter

Former Brooks Director Carmean Finds New Calling

E.A. Carmean
Former Memphis Brooks Museum of Art director E.A. Carmean, described by The New York Times last week as “one of the most respected museum men in America,” has announced that he’s changing careers: Carmean is now in training for the clergy.

Carmean says that he had always intended to enter the clergy, though he assumed he would do it when he was 65 or so. As an undergraduate he studied both art history and theology. He has recently been studying at Memphis Theological Seminary and the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

His decision, he says, was a long time in the making, though he would not explain why he abruptly resigned his post at Brooks last December.

Interim director Chuck Beegle says an agreement between the board of directors and Carmean prohibits any discussion of why he resigned. At the time, Carmean did not offer any hint as to his future plans; a short press release said only that he would “pursue other opportunities.”

Beegle says Carmean had announced his decision to enter the clergy at least six months before his resignation. At the time, Carmean assured the board of directors that his studies would not interfere with his work at the museum.

He hasn’t forsaken the museum business altogether, though. “If the right museum comes along,” Carmean says, “I may resume that part of my career.” – Lauren Mutter

Memphian Is Best-Paid Public Exec in TN

NASHVILLE (AP) – The best-paid executive of a public company in Tennessee last year was a Memphian, according to an annual compensation survey.

T. Kevin Dunnigan retired in May 1997 as head of Thomas & Betts Corp., a Memphis electrical-component maker. He was paid $14.1 million in total compensation during the year, according to The Tennessean’s annual compensation survey.

The newspaper’s survey is based on salary, bonus, incentives, and stock awards of public companies based in Tennessee. The information is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington.

Privately held companies do not have the same reporting requirements, and salary figures for their executives are not available to the public.

Dunnigan’s salary was just $275,972 in 1997. But he received a $9.5 million lump-sum payment from his company’s retirement plan along with a special stock award of $1.5 million, also part of his retirement agreement.

Cal Turner Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Nashville-based Dollar General Corp., was second-highest paid. Turner drew $8.67 million, mostly from stock options.

Third on the list was Dennis C. Bottorff, chief executive officer of First American Corp. He was paid $6.86 million in 1997. About 60 percent of the income came from stock options.

Richard M. Kelleher, president and chief operating officer of Memphis-based Promus Hotel Corp., was the fourth-highest paid public company executive. Kelleher was paid $6.6 million in 1997.

Number five was J. Harold Chandler, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Provident Cos. Inc. of Chattanooga. Chandler received $6.3 million.

The lowest pay in the top 100 list was $758,444 paid to Edward A. Traurig, executive vice president of Memphis-based Sofamor Danek Group Inc.

No women executives made the list.

No More WSFZ

WSFZ-AM “Supersport 1030” ceased broadcasting late Sunday after its owner, Mid-South Sports Broadcasting Co., lost a legal battle for the station’s license. The company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late last year in a gambit designed, according to MSSB president John Rainey, to keep the owner of the license, Virginia-based Willis Broadcasting, from ending its lease agreement with the station.

It didn’t work. Last Tuesday, Chapter 11 turned to Chapter 7, calling for the return of the station license to Willis.

Some WSFZ programming, however, will survive. Arrangements have been made to move three of the station’s shows – Memphis Primetime, Full Court Press, and GoodTimes – to competitor WHBQ-AM 560 through leased-time agreements with Flinn Broadcasting. The programs changed stations effective Monday. – Jim Hanas

MLK Golf Course Under Debate

E.A. Carmean
The Memphis Park Commission raised eyebrows last month when it voted to lease 14 acres of Martin Luther King-Riverside Park to nearby Mapco Petroleum, which plans to build new offices on the site. The refining company will pay the city $150,000 initially, $125,000 each year after, and has offered to replace the golf clubhouse that burned down several years ago.

Mapco has stipulated that its payments be reinvested in the park, and the commission has taken this opportunity to propose expanding MLK’s golf course from nine to 18 holes. “We’ve talked about it for several years,” says board chairman John Malmo, “but we haven’t moved forward on it because we haven’t had the money.”

Expanding the course would take out most of the park’s forest, acknowledges Park Commission director Wayne Boyer. “Because this is wetlands, some mitigation would have to take place,” he says. “And because of the rough topography, this would be expensive.”

Boyer adds that a market analysis would have to be done; he’s skeptical that local demographics will support the high fees that a championship-level golf course must charge. Mapco would be the main beneficiary, with a recreational amenity to offer its employees.

“It’ll probably be three or four years down the road before anything is finalized,” says Boyer. “We’ll go through the drill because several board members have requested it.” – Debbie Gilbert

Flyer Contest: What’s the Next Wonders Show?

Wondering about Wonders?

Do you fret and fume and puzzle and ponder as much as we do about these thought-provoking, knuckle-chewing mysteries of Memphis: Where did all the Merrymobiles go? Whatever happened to that Inclinator ride proposed for The Pyramid? And more to the point here: What will the next Wonders exhibition be ?

We’ll wager that you do wonder about those things, and in fact, we’ll give away Flyer T-shirts to readers who can come up with the best answer. (To that last mystery, we mean. We really don’t care about the others.)

The current exhibition, “Ancestors of the Incas,” closes at The Pyramid on September 16th after a less-than-stellar engagement. The Wonders staff hasn’t yet announced what shows are scheduled for the years ahead, though we hear things – rumors, voices, a high-pitched ringing sometimes. But in the past, they’ve certainly introduced us to a wondrous assortment of shows: Ramesses the Great (technically pre-Wonders, but it’s all part of the package, we say), Catherine the Great, the Etruscans, the Ottoman Sultans, Napoleon, the Imperial Tombs of China, and, of course, Titanic.

So what’s next? What do you think the Wonders series should bring to Memphis? “The Treasures of Texarkana”? “Real Neat Relics from Ripley”? Uh, maybe not.

Put your thinking caps on, and give us your best suggestions by September 1st – not just an exhibition name, either, but an explanation. We’ll pick the most imaginative suggestions and publish them in the Flyer. Plus winners will receive a gleaming white T-shirt bearing the official Flyer logo – works of art in their own right.

So dig out an envelope or postcard, and send your entries to:

What’s Next for Wonders?

The Memphis Flyer
P.O. Box 687

Memphis, TN 38101

Be sure and tell us what size T-shirt you want – just in case you win. – Michael Finger

The Memphis Literacy Council
Literacy Council Finds New Home in Cooper-Young

The Memphis Literacy Council, once housed in the former Messick Junior High, has moved into the Cooper-Young district, more than tripling the council’s space.

“It’s a wonderful new facility,” says Gay Johnston, executive director of the council. She says they had been searching for more space for about five years. When they worked at Messick, they had use of three rooms. One was the office, leaving just two classrooms for training volunteers and tutoring clients. Johnston says their enrollment was outgrowing the tight quarters.

The move to 902 S. Cooper came a month and a half ago, and with it, the decision to post a subtle (“not a big, flashing, commercial-type”) sign announcing their presence. Johnston says she wanted the space to be “a comfortable, non-threatening, warm environment.” She hopes to eliminate any shame or embarrassment clients may feel who arrive for tutoring.

Johnston says the response has been positive. Volunteers are more comfortable using the new space to tutor clients individually, and clients feel more at home. “‘I feel very important when I come here,’” one student told Johnston. – Lauren Mutter

A Broken Marriage at Promus

Michael Rose
by John Branston

This is how the letter to shareholders in the 1997 Promus annual report begins:

“The merger of Doubletree Corporation with Promus Hotel Corporation in 1997 is proving to be one of the most important corporate consolidations in the history of the lodging industry. It has also been a remarkably smooth transition.”

Not exactly. Last week Promus announced that chairman and CEO Raymond Schultz and president and chief operating officer Richard Kelleher will both resign, along with board members Richard Ferris and Mike Rose. Schultz and Rose are Memphians with deep roots in Holiday Inns. Kelleher and Ferris were with Doubletree.

The two-of-yours, two-of-ours departure was blamed on a clash of corporate cultures – a nice way of saying the chiefs found out they didn’t like each other. The marriage is less than eight months old.

Schultz had already announced he would be leaving in another year or so. The eye-opener is the departure of Rose, former chairman of Promus and president of its Memphis-born predecessor, Holiday Inns. Rose is the second largest individual shareholder in Promus (behind Ferris), with 1.2 million shares worth $40 million at last week’s price.

Raymond Shultz
Friends of Rose found it hard to believe he was pushed out. That someone of his stature would resign they took as an indication of how strained relations were at the top.

“Mike didn’t like the deal in the first place,” says Kevin Kane, head of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and a former Holiday Inns employee.

“You don’t fire Mike Rose,” says Gene Carlisle, head of Carlisle Corporation and owner of Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn franchises. “That may have been how they effectuated it, but I’ve known Mike for 20 years and he’s six-foot-seven and tough as he is tall.”

Rose could not be reached for comment.

Where four multimillionaires land is one thing. What happens to Promus is the more important issue for Memphis. After combining with Doubletree, the company has some 16,000 employees and is one of a handful of blue-chip companies with local headquarters. Schultz was given much of the credit for keeping Promus headquarters in Memphis after the merger with Phoenix-based Doubletree. “If they were to go ahead and bring in a new chief executive as they have said they plan to do, then I think they would stay in Memphis,” says Andrew Shipman, an analyst who follows Promus for Morgan Keegan. “It’s awfully expensive and time-consuming to move a corporate headquarters just for one individual. Certainly if there was a takeover I would expect them to leave and be merged with whatever company took them over.”

Fly on the Wall

Fly on the Wall

It’s About Suppression

C.A. Giless?

Back in July, when The Commercial Appeal began endorsing candidates for last week’s election, the first candidate to get the daily’s thumbs-up was incumbent Sheriff A.C. Gilless, who sought and won reelection to his third term last Thursday. It was a strong if mixed recommendation, expressing worries about Sheriff’s Department employees aiding in their boss’ campaign and Gilless’ excessive “trust” in former chief deputy A. Ray Mills, who went on trial Monday on job-selling charges.

For the details of the charges against Mills, however, one needed to wait for the front page of Sunday’s C.A., which detailed the charges and developments in the case since they were brought. There was also a long piece about the “laundry list of dirty dealings alleged” at the Sheriff’s Department, which sparked FBI investigations under Jack Owens, investigations that continued under Gilless. Unfortunately for voters, but fortunately for Gilless, those stories ran three days after the election.

Another quirk of the daily’s post-election coverage concerned the role of state Senator Steve Cohen’s eleventh-hour endorsement of Gilless’ challenger, Melvin Burgess, on the Tuesday before election day. It must have been news, since a front-page recap of the sheriff’s race on Friday reported on the last-minute support, and Susan Adler Thorp’s Sunday column devoted several inches to it. Cohen’s endorsement of Burgess, however, was never mentioned in the paper before the election.

C.A. Giless?

Perhaps endorsement has its privileges. And maybe A.C. Gilless should think about reversing his initials.

Tennessee by the Slice

“Prepare pizza dough according to package directions and preheat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly spray a large backing sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Diagonally pat out dough into the shape of Tennessee …” – from the recipe for the “Tennessee Pizza,” a publicity device cooked up by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “Try this Tennessee Pizza made with ingredients grown or processed in the state,” advises a spokesperson via press release. “Tennessee produces at least five major brands of sausage, and that’s not counting all the smaller, local labels.”

And you know you’ve got to support those, or the local sausage scene will like totally die.

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