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Business Observer Monday, May 29, 2006 14 years ago

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Scouring for tips: Fresh from its high-profile battle to boost the value of the struggling newspaper stocks in its portfolio, Naples-based Private Capital Management has added new companies to its investment holdings this year.Another I-75 hotel: Update: Michael Lepore's MPL Properties expects to be moving forward on the Radisson Hotels & Resorts planned for the Fruitville Road/Interstate 75 intersection in Sarasota (see the Review, Nov. 11, 2005).Five bankers resign: Joseph Catti resigned recently as president of Northern Trust in Fort Myers, taking four other bankers with him.Collier shares wealth: The Collier family is well known in Southwest Florida. Nearly 100 years ago, Barron Gift Collier, who made millions with streetcar advertising, bought 1.3 million acres in what later became known as Collier and Hendry counties.Miva insiders buy stock: It's always a good sign when management eats its own cooking.TAXATION: How Florida ranks
by: Adam Hughes Staff Writer

Coffee Talk

+ Scouring for tips

Fresh from its high-profile battle to boost the value of the struggling newspaper stocks in its portfolio, Naples-based Private Capital Management has added new companies to its investment holdings this year.

According to recent regulatory filings, the money manager added several financial-service firms in the first three months of this year, including Huntington Bancshares (HBAN, $24), Lehman Bros. Holdings (LEH, $67), Northern Trust (NTRS, $57) and Valley National Bancorp (VLY, $25). It also added one non-financial name: gambling-device maker Bally Technologies (BYI, $15).

Gambling-related stocks are a PCM favorite. In its most recent letter to shareholders, the firm says the gaming industry is largely immune to economic cycles.

PCM holds large positions in stocks such as Harrah's Entertainment (HET, $78) and MGM Mirage (MGM, $42).

Investors scour the holdings of successful portfolio managers such as PCM for investment ideas. PCM, which manages $31 billion in assets under the leadership of Bruce Sherman, has posted annualized returns of 20% over the last 10 years ending March 31. That compares with 9% annualized returns for the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index over the same time period.

Portfolio managers at PCM declined to comment on the new additions.

+ Another I-75 hotel

Update: Michael Lepore's MPL Properties expects to be moving forward on the Radisson Hotels & Resorts planned for the Fruitville Road/Interstate 75 intersection in Sarasota (see the Review, Nov. 11, 2005). One of the newest reasons for the delay: Lepore increased the size of the hotel from 110 rooms to between 155 and 165 rooms.

Increasing the project size also means that permitting is expected to drag out the construction start date until September. The new full-service Radisson is slated to open by late 2007.

+ Five bankers resign

Joseph Catti resigned recently as president of Northern Trust in Fort Myers, taking four other bankers with him.

Coffee Talk hears that the five executives plan to start their own financial service company in Fort Myers, though Catti could not be reached for comment by press time.

"We're saddened by the fact that it happened," John Fumagalli, Northern Trust regional president tells Coffee Talk. Fumagalli declined to name the four other executives who left with Catti, citing privacy concerns. However, Fumagalli says Northern Trust Florida Vice Chairman Tuck Tyler and senior regional Vice President Lloyd Liggett will head up the Fort Myers office on an interim basis.

Catti joined the Miami office of Northern Trust in 1989 and relocated to the Fort Myers office in 1992. He has been active in community service with organizations including the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation, the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

+ Collier shares wealth

The Collier family is well known in Southwest Florida. Nearly 100 years ago, Barron Gift Collier, who made millions with streetcar advertising, bought 1.3 million acres in what later became known as Collier and Hendry counties.

Now it looks as though grandson Miles C. Collier will be as well known at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Miles Collier, an Eckerd trustee since 1988, just donated $25 million to the liberal arts college.

In 1998, Forbes placed the value of the Collier family's real estate holdings at $1.6 billion and the family's private capital management firm at more than $2.5 billion.

Barron Collier's heirs, including Miles C. Collier, disagreed on an investment strategy in 1980 so they split the empire with a coin toss, according to the magazine. Naples-based Collier Enterprises is led by Miles C. Collier and Barron Collier Co. is run by three principal heirs.

Miles C. Collier and his wife, Parker, are known for their generosity. He previously gave $1 million to endow a chair at Eckerd where he has been chairman since 2000.

Collier's donation is Eckerd's largest ever, and it presents a challenge: Eckerd must match it in increments of $25,000 or more.

In announcing his multimillion-dollar gift to the college's trustees at a May meeting, Collier said he and his wife "offer this gift to advance Eckerd College, strengthening and deepening the character of this place, this place that transforms lives, that transformed your lives and, indeed even at our hardened and advanced age, touches and transforms the lives of we who do not call her alma mater."

+ Miva insiders buy stock

It's always a good sign when management eats its own cooking.

Peter Corrao, newly appointed chief executive officer of Fort Myers-based Internet marketer Miva, recently acquired 25,000 shares of the company at an average price of $3.87 per share, or nearly $100,000. News of the purchase on May 17 sent Miva's stock briefly over the $4 mark.

In addition, William Seippel, the company's chief financial officer, bought 6,200 shares at $4 a share, or $24,800 worth, according to a May 19 company filing.

Meanwhile, founder, former chairman and CEO Craig Pisaris-Henderson resigned from the board May 16 just weeks after resigning from his management post. In a securities filing, the company says Pisaris-Henderson resigned from the board "in light of his other personal and professional commitments and not due to any disagreement with the company."

TAXATION

How Florida ranks

Coffee Talk looks forward each year to the Taxpayers Network's annual "50 State Comparisons" booklet, which ranks the 50 states in 66 areas of measurement - including demographics, taxes, government expenditures, economic climate, education, natural resources, transportation, public safety and the courts and health and welfare.

The booklet is a great yardstick - especially if you're considering expanding your company to other states or just to see how Florida compares to the rest of the nation. The accompanying table gives you a sampling of how Florida ranks in the 2006 edition.

Conclusions? If you averaged Florida's rankings in the 22 categories in the chart, Florida is an average state - with a combined average ranking of 22nd. But as the table also shows, Florida is a leader and a loser in several categories. The Taxpayers Network says we have a great business climate (third-best economic freedom index); but we have an awful violent crime rate (third highest); and the worst high school graduation rate in the nation.

Demographics Number Rank

Estimated Population (2005) 17,789,864 4

Median Monthly Housing Costs (2004) $1,143 24

Median Housing Value (2004) $149,291 22

Per Capita Income (2004) 25

Taxes & Revenue

State/Local Tax Burden as % of Income (2005) 9.3% 45

Lottery Sales per Capita (2005) $197 16

State/Local Gov't Employment/10,000 Population (2004) 474 47

Avg. State/Local Gov't Pay / Employee (2004) $40,457 23

Federal Pork per Capita (2005) $21.84 42

Small Business

Gov't Burden on Small Business Index (2005)* 38.53 6

Economic Freedom Index (2003) 8.0 3

Insurance

Avg. Annual Auto Insurance Expenditures (2003) $1,015 5

Avg. Homeowners Insurance Premiums (2003) $810 4

Education

Public School Expenditures / Pupil (2004-05) $7,035 41

Avg. ACT Scores (2005) 20.4 36

High School Graduation Rate (2003-04) 53.0% 50

Avg. Public Teacher Salaries (2004-05) $41,587 32

Crime

Violent Crime Rate / 100,000 Population (2003) 730 3

Inmates / 100,000 Residents (2004) 486 12

Health / Welfare

Public Welfare Expenditures per Capita (2004) $887 43

% People Without Health Insurance (2003-04) 19% 5

% Births to Unmarried Mothers (2004) 41.2% 8

* The lower the index number, the lower the burden; South Dakota ranked first with an index of 24.28.

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