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ABC commissioner resigns after audit

Michael Herring, one of the three members of North Carolina’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, resigned a week after a scathing state audit of the agency. Herring denied allegations of mismanagement and calls the LB&B warehousing firm contract that allegedly cost the state $11.3 million a good deal for the state, according to the Triangle Business Journal. He says that no one asked him to resign from his position.

RDU to expand Terminal 1 by 2020

Raleigh-Durham International Airport is accelerating its Terminal 1 expansion plans and will open the new gates in 2020. The expansion will include six new-self service kiosks and a full-service gate for ticketing agencies. The airport is growing its passenger count faster than predicted. Chief Operating Officer Bill Sandifer says the RDU is nearly 11 years head of its projections.

Charlotte eye doctor files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, says practice owes millions

Charlotte-based Christenbury Eye Center filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, claiming the business has up to $10 million in debts and no more than $50,000 in assets, according to The Charlotte Observer. Doctor Jonathan Christenbury, who is credited with introducing Lasik eye surgery to the Charlotte area, has been the subject of multiple sexual-harassment complaints and was forced to give up his medical license last year after he tested positive for cocaine.

Owners of Pine Needles golf club reach settlement

A family dispute among owners of Pine Needles Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines has been settled. W. Kirk Bell, youngest son of the late golfing legend Peggy Kirk Bell, filed a lawsuit last fall alleging his siblings and their families, who jointly own the business, made decisions without his input. The owners have reached an agreement to buy out Bell’s interest in the business. Pine Needles will host the U.S. Women’s Open in 2022; it’s the fourth time the club has hosted the tournament.

Buncombe County terminates more than half million dollars in contracts over kickback scheme

Buncombe County Board of Commissioners terminated more than $500,000 dollars worth of contracts held by two companies associated with Joseph Wiseman Jr., an engineer implicated in an alleged kickback scheme involving three former county officials, according to The Mountain Xpress. The board also plans to file a civil lawsuit against former officials Wanda Greene, Mandy Stone and Jon Creighton, in addition to Wiseman and the companies affiliated with Wiseman.

Duke group receives $15M in funding for quantum-computing development

A Duke University group led by professors Jungsang Kim and Ken Brown that is developing quantum computer technology received a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The “trapped-ion” design the group is using could hold qubits steady in its internal memory for much longer than other superconducting designs, according to The News & Observer. The group also received awards from  IARPA in 2010 and 2016 that totaled about $54.5 million.

Boone Marketplace project revamped as hotel

The Boone Marketplace project, originally proposed as a mixed-use apartment and commercial space, is now being revamped as a 75,000-square-foot hotel project with a restaurant and a parking deck. The new project is estimated to cost $10 million; the previous project approved in June 2016 was estimated to cost $30 million. The demolition permit has been issued, but a zoning application is pending approval.

Audit reveals NC liquor-store officials wasted millions of tax dollars

A recent audit found that the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission lost the state $11.3 million over 13 years due to poor handling of contracts and wasted $2.1 million by renting warehouse space that went unused for seven years. Chief Administrator Bob Hamilton left abruptly on July 26. It’s unclear whether he quit or was fired. N.C. is one of 17 states in which the state has control over the liquor market.

Piedmont Lithium considers Gaston County for mining operation

Piedmont Lithium, a mine-exploration company, could spend upward of $500 million over the next five years to bring battery-grade lithium mining back to western Gaston and Cleveland counties, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. The company expects to make a decision during the fourth quarter of 2019. If Piedmont Lithium decides to forge ahead, construction of the mine and a chemical-processing plant could start in late 2019.

Former Southern Season execs cleared in fraud case

Former Chapel Hill-based Southern Season CEO W. Clay Hamner and former CFO Brian Fauver were found not guilty of defrauding GGC Associates, the Virginia landlord that lost $150,000 at the company’s struggling Richmond store before it was closed in 2016, according to The News & Observer. Southern Season sought bankruptcy protection after its expansion into Richmond and South Carolina, and was acquired for $3.5 million by Calvert Retail in 2016.

Charlotte, Triangle data technology firms complete merger

Charlotte-based business-to-business marketing company Technekes LLC and XSInc., a Morrisville data-collection firm, completed a merger July 31 to create TKXS Inc. The 50-50 merger will maintain two headquarters in Charlotte and Morrisville. Steve Amedio, former chief executive officer of Technekes, is now CEO of the combined company. Thad Armbruster, former CEO of XS, is president and chief operating officer.

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