Tickers: May 5
Equitable LP has been ordered to pay a $500,000 environmental civil penalty for conducting extensive renovations of the historic Equitable Building in downtown Des Moines without taking required precautions for the presence of asbestos-containing material, according to a release from the state attorney general’s office today. The civil penalty is the largest in Iowa for an asbestos violation, said Attorney General Tom Miller. “We alleged Equitable L.P. completely ignored asbestos-handling requirements during renovations from 2005 to 2007, until the Iowa DNR (Department of Natural Resources) became involved,” he added. The attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit today alleging numerous violations from 2005 to 2008 at the same time Polk County District Judge D.J. Stovall entered a consent order, judgment and decree that resolved the suit and prohibited further violations. Last week, Vantus Bank filed a lawsuit seeking to foreclose on the Equitable Building, which stated that developer Bob Knapp owes more than $8 million in principal and interest on loans for the restoration of the building.
The Science Center of Iowa (SCI) has named Paul Jennings as its new president and CEO. Jennings most recently served as CEO of the Dundee Sensation Science Center in Scotland, where he led a significant organizational transition that led to growth and sustainability for the organization. “I have visited many science centers in both the U.S. and Europe, and SCI is amongst the most attractive I have experienced and has the potential to build a strong national and international identity for its public engagement activities,” Jennings said in a release. He replaces Mary Sellers, who resigned from the organization last April after nine years.
Grinnell College President Russell Osgood announced yesterday that he will step down from his leadership position on July 31, 2010, giving the college time to find a new president. Under Osgood’s leadership, Grinnell has enhanced its financial aid policies to ensure that it meets the full needs of domestic students; established the Expanding Knowledge Initiative, a program that facilitates interdisciplinary study; went through a master facilities planning process, which led to $260 million in construction on campus; and initiated a proactive recruiting effort that has broadened diversity within the faculty and student body. Oswald plans to continue to serve in other educational capacities.
In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York yesterday, ING Clarion Capital Loan Services LLC, which services loans on behalf of lenders, asked the court to dismiss the Chapter 11 filings of nine special-purpose entity borrowers that General Growth Properties Inc. submitted, Bloomberg reported. The group of lenders claims that General Growth included in its reorganization shopping malls that have positive cash flow that can cover payments and don’t face imminent financial problems. General Growth, the owner of Jordan Creek Town Center, filed for bankruptcy protection on April 16, citing $27 billion in debt.
Aviva plc announced today that it has opened an office in Hubei, a Central province in China, as part of its final phase to establish branches in 10 target provinces in the country and achieve 10 percent total market share in new business premiums by 2010. The company said in a release that China is an attractive growth market given its large population, high domestic savings rate and increasing middle class. The Chinese life insurance market grew by 48 percent in 2008.
Siemens AG announced today that it will build a wind turbine production plant in Hutchinson, Kan., bringing 400 new jobs to the state. The factory will make nacelles, a part that houses a wind turbine’s major components for electric power generation, and will serve North and South America. Construction of the 300,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin in August, with the first product shipped in December 2010. This production will complement its rotor blade manufacturing plant in Fort Madison.
Des Moines native and nine-time Emmy Award winner Cloris Leachman will perform at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines on Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets are $250, which includes a reception with Leachman, or $60 and $45 for the show, which will benefit Roosevelt High School’s renovation project. For more information, go to www.trhsfoundation.org.
Mercer LLC will host a Web briefing today at 8 p.m. Iowa time to outline implications of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, for businesses. For more information, go to www.mercer.com/swineflu. The newly created Web site also contains resources and tips to help companies prepare for a possible pandemic.
Sauer-Danfoss Inc. will release its first-quarter earnings after U.S. markets close today. A conference call to discuss the results will take place tomorrow at 10 a.m. For more information, go to ir.sauer-danfoss.com. Sauer-Danfoss has major operations in Ames.