The EDC, the plaintiff that's since changed its name to the R.I. Commerce Corp., on Wednesday filed a response to an objection made by First Southwest Co., a financial planning company and one of the defendants in the ongoing civil suit. First Southwest was the financial adviser to the state in 2010 when it issued $75 million in taxpayer-backed bonds for the now defunct video game company founded and owned by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.
The company went bankrupt two years after the bonds were issued, leaving Rhode Island taxpayers to pick up the tab. The EDC later filed a lawsuit against company principals, underwriters and economic development officials alleging it was misled by them when it was making the decision to issue the bonds.
First Southwest earlier this month filed an objection to a proposed $25.6 million settlement between the EDC and two other defendants in the case: Wells Fargo LLC and Barclays Capital Inc.
But the EDC shot back with its own filing, saying First Southwest's objection was "clearly intended for the media rather than for the court."
"First Southwest raises various constitutionality arguments as if entirely for the first time," according to the filing. "These arguments, which simply reiterate the arguments previously considered and rejected in the court's prior rulings, are apparently in order to preserve these constitutionality issues for appeal."
The financial planning company accused the state of trying to "strong-arm private parties to pay for its mistakes," saying the settlement violates the company's process rights and is unconstitutional. The company argues Rhode Island lawmakers have changed legislation to benefit the EDC and the state in this particular lawsuit.
"After electing to pay the 38 Studios bondholders, the state enacted settlement statute to help its putative collections agency, the [EDC], recover the bond payments made by the state and then return those payments to the state," according to a court filing released Monday. "The fundamental unfairness of this rigged game is amplified by the governor's role in this failed loan."
The proposed $25.6 million settlement, if approved by the court, would bring the state's totaled recovered funds to about $42 million, excluding however much the state has spent on legal fees.
Retired Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr., who mediated settlement meetings between the state and Wells Fargo and Barclays, earlier this month said the state was exposed to about $88 million, although some estimates put the number closer to $100 million.
The court is expected to rule on the proposed settlement on Sept. 6.]]>
Approximately 143,000 students, an average of 375 per school, rated everything from their financial aid to on-campus food, resulting in 62 lists based on their survey responses. Eighty questions were asked.
"We ask students to tell us about themselves, their school's academics/administration, campus life and their fellow students' attitudes and opinions," the Princeton Review said.
Rhode Island colleges that appeared on multiple lists were Bryant University in Smithfield, Providence College, the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown and Brown University in Providence. Southeastern Massachusetts schools also made the Best 381 Colleges list - Stonehill College in Easton and Wheaton College in Norton.
Bryant landed on multiple lists, including colleges with questionable food, coming in sixth. It placed 18th on three lists - best career services, everyone plays intramural sports and most conservative students.
Brown also appeared on various lists, ranking 18th on where students study the most, 20th for most liberal students, 20th for best quality of life, third for best college newspaper and 15th for tree-hugging vegetarians.
PC again made the lots of hard liquor list, placing 13th, and was sixth for everyone plays intramural sports.
URI made the top party school list, ranking 13th (the top spot went to University of Wisconsin-Madison). It placed 16th for schools where students study the least and ninth for reefer madness.
Wheaton College in Norton ranked 14th for having the least happy students, fourth for college city gets low marks, but was 16th for best science lab facilities.
Stonehill was profiled in the rankings, but did not make any of the top 20 lists.
Top schools in other categories include: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., best financial aid; University of Massachusetts-Amherst, best campus food; Washington University in St. Louis, best dorms; and Penn State University, best athletic facilities.]]>
Construction jobs grew to 23,700 in July in the Providence metro. In July 2015, construction jobs in the metro numbered 23,300, the Associated General Contractors of America said Wednesday.
The association ranked construction job growth in 358 metro areas based on federal employment data.
Construction employment declined in 60 metro areas in the past year, held steady in 59 areas, and rose in 239 areas, including the Providence metro and Norwich-New London-Westerly metropolitan area, which ranked 159th for its 3 percent job gain year over year in July, to 4,100 from 4,000.
The largest job loss from July 2015 to July 2016 was in Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind., at 1,900 jobs, while Bloomington, Ill., had the largest percentage decline for the past year at 16 percent.
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., added the most construction jobs during the past year with 11,700 jobs. The largest percentage gain occurred in Boise City, Idaho, which had a 22 percent increase.]]>
While Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Donuts is bringing back its popular "Pats Win, You Win" promotion for its DD Perks-enrolled customers, this year the coffee won't be free every time the Patriots win.
Instead, the company will charge 87 cents - in tribute to Patriots tight end and Dunkin' pitchman Rob Gronkowski - for a medium hot or iced coffee if the Patriots win, starting with Sunday's season opener.
That's significantly less than the usual price of a medium hot coffee at $1.95, and medium iced coffee at $2.49.
"We're excited to keep our loyal Dunkin' Donuts guests and Gronk fans cheering loudly throughout the regular season with 87 cent Medium Hot or Iced coffee the day after a Patriots win in honor of Gronk's jersey number," Patty Healy, field marketing director for the New England region at Dunkin' Brands, said in a statement.
The offer will be valid at participating Dunkin' Donuts locations in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Essex and Clinton counties in New York.
Boston.com reported that Dunkin' Donuts gave away more than 2.25 million coffees to New Englanders during the Patriots' 12-4 season last year.]]>
The awards, which will be announced during a ceremony and gala Nov. 3 in Hawaii, recognize and celebrate the finest historic hotels and hoteliers across the nation and around the world.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk has been nominated in the best small historic inn/hotel category, which includes five other hotels around the country, including Concord's Colonial Inn in Concord, Mass.
The Spiced Pear was nominated in the category of best historic restaurant in conjunction with a historic hotel. In addition, Linda Shoe, at The Hotel Viking was nominated in the ambassador of the year (quarter century service) category.
Nominees were announced in 17 categories. More than 200 nominations were submitted.
"The nominee finalists exemplify the finest historic hotels and their hoteliers in the United States of America and from around the world," Lawrence Horwitz, executive director, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide, said in a statement.
Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide are programs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that recognize and celebrate historic hotels.]]>
An annual Willis Towers Watson survey of almost 1,000 organizations found that 98 percent of companies intend to give raises this year. But despite some signs of a tightening labor market, employees shouldn't expect a generous annual bump. Multiple surveys have found that companies will stick with the trusty 3 percent raise figure this year, as in years past.
That's not to say that some workers won't see wage growth; it just might not come in the form of the predictable, minuscule, yearly raise.
Employers have started to rethink the annual raise because it simply doesn't work. "Three percent for a given employee doesn't have that much impact," said Laury Sejen, a researcher at Willis Towers Watson. An amount that small doesn't reward high performers. Even subpar workers know they're getting a small pay bump. Nobody has a financial incentive to do better.
The ritual has turned into an expensive way for companies to meet employees' expectations. "The year-over-year increase can be hundreds of millions of dollars. To what end?" added Sejen. "We spend a lot of time on the process. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to divvy up that 3 percent. And there's really not much of a return on investment."
A few companies, such as GE, have started to consider other ways to compensate employees in more meaningful ways. (And alternatively, to send a message to those who don't perform.) "We're at a point where I think we're going to see a lot of change," said Sejen.
It's not clear what that change will be. It's unlikely that companies will do away with regular pay increases. Employees would revolt and then quit. Performance bonuses already have become an increasingly large part of worker compensation, making up 12.7 percent of payroll as of 2014, up from 3.9 percent in 1988. Pay adjustments might also come on a different time scale. BetterWorks, a management software company, reviews employee performance every month and adjusts salaries accordingly. Other companies might go in the other direction and consider a longer pay cycle.
No matter the change, companies risk alienating employees. While the best workers could potentially see big changes on their pay stubs, few workers will stand for no raise at all. "Practically speaking, it would be very difficult for a company to say zero raises," said Sejen. "There's a need to remain competitive."]]>
There are some bright spots for the Providence metro, however: The metro has few foreclosures and home prices are relatively affordable.
Bankate, a consumer financial services company, released its list of the 50 best and worst metro areas for homeowners, saying that Portland, Ore; Phoenix; Atlanta; Las Vegas; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; are the best metropolitan areas for homeowners.
Portland topped the list due to inexpensive homeowners' insurance, few foreclosures and low energy costs. Strong home-price appreciation catapulted Phoenix, Atlanta and Las Vegas into the top five, while the Twin Cities' strong home-price appreciation and dearth of foreclosures landed that metro the fifth spot.
The worst metro area for homeowners is Hartford, due to above-average property taxes, and high energy costs, homeowners' insurance and maintenance fees. The New York City metro area is second-worst due to high property taxes, minimal home-price appreciation and expensive maintenance costs. Los Angeles was fourth worst, and Buffalo, N.Y., fifth worst.
"Major cities in the middle of the country did really well in this ranking," Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell, said in a statement. "Out of the top 15 metro areas, only one is within 250 miles of an ocean. Homeowners in America's largest coastal cities face a number of challenges, ranging from sky-high mortgage payments gobbling up an outsized portion of homeowners' incomes to high property insurance rates, especially in hurricane-prone areas, and our ranking reflects that."
Bankrate.com said it looked at factors including property taxes, affordability, property insurance costs, foreclosure rates, maintenance costs, average monthly home energy costs, rent hedging and appreciation rate to come up with the list.]]>
JOHNSTON - Citizens Bank on Wednesday broke ground at the development site for its new corporate campus slated to open in 2018.
"We are excited about this new campus, which will be a state-of-the-art facility designed to foster collaboration among colleagues and to deliver an efficient and productive workplace," said Bruce Van Saun, chairman and CEO of Citizens, in a statement.
The Providence-based bank plans to consolidate several offices and relocate more than 3,000 employees to the intended 420,000-square-foot campus to be built on Greenville Avenue here. Some work has already begun, as Citizens spent the summer excavating a landfill on the property that was capped approximately 50 years ago.
Van Saun estimates the construction costs will likely exceed $200 million. The bank has contracted with Providence-based Dimeo Construction Co., Cranston-based DiPrete Engineering Associates Inc. and Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects Ltd. on the project.
The bank, wholly owned by its parent Citizens Financial Group Inc., received a tax-stabilization agreement from the town, and will pay property taxes at a growing rate of $250,000 per year for 20 years before leveling off at $5 million. The majority of the jobs will be relocated from Citizens offices in Cranston, where 3,000 people are currently employed. Company headquarters will remain in Providence.
The development project has been met with some opposition, as a group of Johnston residents are upset about the commercial property being allowed in a prominently residential area of town. The group is concerned about what effect the augmented amount of daily traffic will have on roadways and quality of life. The state has agreed to pay $3 million toward the construction of new on- and off-ramps connecting Greenville Avenue to Interstate 295, and Citizens is widening the roadway between the interstate and the entrance to the campus.
The project has been lauded by local, state and congressional leaders, many of whom were scheduled to join Citizens executives to celebrate the ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday. New schematics were unveiled, depicting both interior and exterior shots of the planned campus. The company told Providence Business News earlier this month that the outside grounds will host a variety of sports amenities along with walking trails that will be open to the public.
"Citizens remarkable corporate campus here in Johnston will contribute significant short- and long-term economic activity that will add to Rhode Island's comeback, as well as provide key infrastructure improvements that will directly benefit state and local residents," said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo.]]>
The board of directors approved the restructuring, intended to "improve overall operating efficiency across Textron," according to an Aug. 30 federal filing.
Textron spokesman David Sylvestre wrote in an email that the filing relates to segments outside of Rhode Island. Textron Systems and Industrial are the segments that will be primarily affected.
"It is expected to have no impact on our R.I. employment numbers," he said.
Sylvestre said it is not yet known how many Textron employees companywide will lose positions. Worldwide, Textron employs 35,000.
The filing states that the restructuring will allow Textron Systems to end production of its sensor-fuzed weapon product due to reduced orders. That will result in "headcount reductions, facility consolidations and asset impairments within its Weapons and Sensors operating unit and also includes additional headcount reductions and asset impairments in the Textron Systems segment," the filing said.
The Textron Systems Weapons and Sensors unit that produces the sensor-fuzed weapons is based in Willmington, Mass., Sylvestre said.
The filing said that sensor-fuzed weapon sales have relied on foreign military and direct commercial international customers for which both executive branch and congressional approval is required, adding the "current political environment" has made it difficult to obtain approvals.
Within Textron's Industrial segment, the Jacobsen business in Charlotte, N.C., will be combined with the Textron Specialized Vehicles business in Augusta, Ga., resulting in consolidation of certain facilities as well as general and administrative functions and employee reductions.
The plan is expected to be substantially completed by March.
The manufacturer said that it expects total pre-tax charges between $110 million to $140 million through the plan, primarily in the 2016 third quarter.
Severance and related costs are estimated between $40 million to $55 million.
Contract termination and other facility closure charges are estimated between $25 million to $30 million, and asset impairment charges are estimated between $45 million to $55 million. Expected cash outlays in connection with this plan are estimated between $65 million to $85 million, to be incurred principally this year.]]>
The team, led by equity strategist Sarbjit Nahal, published a report this morning with a list of names poised to benefit from millennials, and the generation that comes after them --; dubbed the centennials --; which the firm says could live more than 100 years.
"There are 2 billion Millennials worldwide and they have overtaken Boomers to become the largest living generation in U.S. history," the team writes. "But we need to prepare for the rise of the 2.4 billion Centennials --; born at the turn of the century and set to live to over 100 years. They are embracing diversity, sustainability, globalization, disruptive technology, peak stuff,' new business models, and entrepreneurialism like no generation before them --; and they are economically optimistic to boot."
Not only is the team betting on them living longer, they are also predicting their incomes will nearly triple in the next 15 years, going from $21 trillion in 2015 to $62 trillion by 2030. Based on this, here are the five key themes they believe are in play:
Tech and entertainment
These generations have grown up with smartphones and social media at their fingertips, so they view technology different than their parents and grandparents. Firms like Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. Match Group Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. are all poised to benefit.
The emerging consumer
These generations have a different take on buying things than others have in the past. They research and buy more things online, they have more of a focus on health and wellness, and they like to travel. Some of the names that could benefit are American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Expedia Inc., Target Corp., Starbucks Corp., Fitbit Inc. and Under Armour Inc.
Buying homes (eventually)
While this dream may have been delayed by the financial crisis and the rise in student debt, Bank of America says that these generation will eventually buy homes. Names that are in play here include The Home Depot Inc., Lowe's Companies Inc., Masco Corp. and Toll Brothers Inc.
More education than other generations
They are more educated and will likely value education highly in the future when it comes time to send their kids to school, so there are a number of stocks that could see a boost here. Some of the ones mentioned in the report are Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc., Adobe Systems Inc., Alphabet Inc., HP Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
A different take on finance
Lastly, these generations are the ones getting the most attention from financial technology, or "fintech" startups, and for good reason. They are more likely to go to an alternative source for a loan or put retirement funds into an account with a robo-advisor. Some of the publicly traded names listed in this group include First Data Corp. and On Deck Capital Inc.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. put out a similar report just over a year ago that focused on millennial parents, and the results have been a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the names mentioned in that report, such as Amazon.com Inc., Hasbro Inc., Netflix Inc., Starbucks Corp., and Wayfair Inc. have outperformed the S&P 500 since then. However, others like Target Corp., Walt Disney Corp., Whole Foods Market Inc., GrubHub Inc. and Carter's Inc. have underperformed.]]>