May 1, 2007 in Business

PFD’s bond rating raised to ‘A-plus’

The Spokesman-Review

Standard & Poor’s has raised the Spokane Public Facility District’s bond rating from an “A” to an “A-plus.” The rating service provides independent credit analyses, risk evaluations and investment research on entities around the globe.

In 2002, a total of $77 million in 30-year-bonds were issued on behalf of the PFD. They enabled expansion and remodeling of the Spokane Convention Center.

The PFD’s marks rose, according to the rating service, because:

•Pledged revenues, which represent about 56 percent of annual revenues, have annually grown an average 8.2 percent since 2003 to reach $12.3 million in 2006.

•Local sales and use taxes, the lion’s share of pledged revenues, account for 63 percent of funds in 2006, followed by 21 percent state sales tax rebate and a 16 percent hotel/motel tax.

•The region boasts a large and diverse economic base.

•There are no immediate plans to issue additional debt.

“At the end of 2005, the district’s ending unrestricted net assets stood at an adequate $2.9 million, or 24.8 percent of expenses,” according to Standard & Poor’s written analysis.

“Based on current trends, we expect pledged revenues … to continue to grow with limited volatility,” said a statement issued by the international ratings service.

The PFD also manages the Spokane Arena and the INB Performing Arts Center.


SEC charges men in stocks scheme

Two Florida men who already have been sentenced to prison for a scheme to use spam e-mails to inflate the stock prices of public companies now face related Securities and Exchange Commission charges.

The SEC said on Monday that Stephen Luscko, 39, and Gregory Neu, 30, formed three public companies and another now-defunct company and recruited friends and officers to act as company directors. The two men then arranged for the transfer of millions of shares in those companies to their own or their friends’ brokerage accounts, the SEC said.

Justin Medlin, 24, then embarked on a weekend spam e-mail campaign that resulted in rapid increases in the stock prices of the companies, the SEC said. After the price of the stock had been pumped up, Luscko and Neu, directly or through friends, dumped their shares onto the markets, the SEC said. The scheme allegedly generated $6.5 million in profits.

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