Regional Report Western June 2012
Arrested development leads to federal cases
Buddy Greenwood, the former president and CEO of Bank of Asheville, pleaded guilty in May to federal charges of money laundering and wire fraud. A month earlier, a federal grand jury indicted developer Keith Vinson and four others, accusing them of defrauding banks to keep afloat Vinson’s Seven Falls Golf and River Club in Henderson County. The court documents didn’t tie Greenwood’s case to the others, but together they allege a loan- kiting scheme involving top executives of two Asheville banks.
— The Western North Carolina Economic Index’s change in March, the fourth-straight month it hasn’t moved after increasing for five straight. The index is a summary measure of economic conditions in 25 western counties and is created through a partnership between Appalachian State University’s Walker School of Business and its Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis.
SPRUCE PINE — Canada-based BRP, which makes recreational vehicles, will expand its plant, investing $1.1 million and increasing its local workforce by 70 to more than 230 within three years. The plant makes aluminum castings and provides foam models for the trucking, railroad and alternative-energy industries. Average annual salary will be $37,660, higher than Mitchell County’s average of $30,160.
FLETCHER — Oak Hill Capital Partners acquired an 80% stake in Earth Fare in a deal that values the natural-foods grocer at $300 million. The Stamford, Conn.-based private-equity firm purchased it from Cambridge, Mass.-based Monitor Clipping Partners, which will retain a minority interest.
BREVARD — Oskar Blues Brewery, the maker of Dale’s Pale Ale, will invest $5 million in a brewery and restaurant here, hiring 75 to 100 workers. The Longmont, Colo.-based company expects the brewery to open by the end of the year and produce 40,000 barrels of beer in 2013.
HIGHLANDS — A federal jury convicted Mario Clotinho Gomes, former CEO and general manager of Old Edwards Inn and Spa, of two counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for approving inflated invoices from a contractor in a kickback scheme. Gomes also billed the resort for improvements to his home.