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Behind the News columnist

A native of Kentucky, Andrews has worked at Hoosier newspapers since graduating from Indiana University in 1987. He covered education at the Journal and Courier in Lafayette before joining IBJ in 1991. He later was a business reporter and the business editor of The Indianapolis Star. He’s been writing his Behind the News column for IBJ since rejoining the newspaper in 2000. Andrews and his wife, Kathleen, have a son in college and another living in Colorado. They live in the Nora area with their two dogs.

Articles

BEHIND THE NEWS: Zyprexa staggers, spurring worries over Eli Lilly’s future

Sure, Eli Lilly and Co. has a promising portfolio of new drugs and other potential blockbusters in the pipeline. But every time the Indianapolis drugmaker reports profits, Wall Street analysts spend much of their time slicing and dicing one number: Zyprexa sales. Their greatest fear: The schizophrenia medication will stop pulling its weight before other drugs pick up the slack, sapping sales and profits and further depressing the company’s already deflated stock. Indeed, the stakes are huge. Zyprexa sales in…

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Guidant stock sales may fuel shareholder lawsuits: 4 insiders have cashed in more than $91M in shares

Top Guidant Corp. insiders have unloaded more than $100 million in company stock in recent months, a move that will blunt the financial impact they’ll feel if the Indianapolis company and Johnson & Johnson renegotiate the terms of their $25.4 billion merger. The sales also will serve as grist for class-action attorneys, who filed several lawsuits this summer charging insiders concealed from investors defects in the company’s heart devices. By not promptly disclosing defects publicly, one classaction suit filed in…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Ex-exec cuts guilty plea; Brightpoint says it’s not a target

One of two former Brightpoint Inc. employees charged this month in an accounting scandal has agreed to plead guilty in return for receiving a prison sentence of no more than 18 months. John Delaney, 40, former chief accounting officer of the wireless phone wholesaler, could end up spending far less time behind bars. In his nine-page plea agreement filed in federal court in Indianapolis, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says it will argue for a lesser sentence. Delaney on Oct. 13…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Another Smulyan surprise? Exec could take Emmis private

Emmis Communications Corp. CEO Jeff Smulyan has struggled to keep Wall Street happy the last few years. He might not have to worry about that much longer. At least three Wall Street analysts have said in recent reports that Smulyan, Emmis’ controlling shareholder, might take the radio-station company private. Asked about that scenario during an interview with IBJ, Smulyan said nothing to quiet the chatter. “Everything is under consideration,” he said. “There is nothing that’s not under consideration.” Key reasons…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Exec tries to rewrite baseball legacy, but boo-birds abound

Emmis Communications Corp. CEO Jeff Smulyan ended up black and blue the last time he owned a baseball team. This time around, he’s taking blows even before he finds out whether he gets the team. Smulyan wants both Emmis shareholders and residents of the Washington, D.C., region to be excited about his group’s bid to buy the Washington Nationals from Major League Baseball for at least $450 million. But already leading an anti-Smulyan charge is Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell,…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Is exec a fraud or just bad at business? A jury will decide

Forget Disneyworld. The real excitement in Orlando, Fla., this fall likely will be in a federal courtroom, where Carmel native James T. O’Neal Jr. is scheduled to stand trial on charges he swindled millions of dollars from the rich and famous, including high-profile Indianapolis businesspeople. A federal grand jury indicted O’Neal a year ago on 82 felony counts of money laundering, mail fraud and filing false tax returns. If the 12-person jury finds the 60-year-old Orlando resident guilty, he could…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Investors face long odds in latest Conseco class action

Class-action attorneys hit the jackpot three years ago when Conseco Inc. agreed to settle securitiesfraud litigation for $120 million. At the time, it was the 10thbiggest settlement for a case of its kind. This time around, attorneys, and the investors they represent, appear likely to go home empty-handed. Indianapolis federal Judge David Hamilton in July quietly dismissed a securitiesfraud case filed three years ago on behalf of investors who held Conseco stock between April 2001 and August 2002, a span…

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Attorney: Heiress opposed big gifts: Deposition says Lilly upset when arts groups got $185M

Ruth Lilly garnered headlines around the globe in 2002 after an Indianapolis judge approved a new estate plan for the heiress that earmarked an estimated $185 million for two tiny arts organizations, the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation and Washington, D.C.-based Americans for the Arts. Now, in a newly public deposition, Lilly’s personal attorney, Tom Ewbank, charges his client was opposed to the large bequests and instead had wanted to funnel more of her billion-dollar estate into her own foundation, for the…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Beneficiaries of Lilly largesse lose bid to spank bank

Round one goes to National City Bank of Indiana. An Indianapolis judge last week signaled he plans to dismiss litigation filed by two big beneficiaries of Ruth Lilly’s estate, Washington, D.C.-based Americans for the Arts and the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation. The groups charged the bank bungled management of her assets, costing them tens of millions of dollars. Judge Charles Deiter on Sept. 12 canceled a 10-day trial that was to start Sept. 26 and asked the bank to submit a…

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CEO Dunn not afraid to shake it up: Changes help Steak n Shake capture Enterprise Award

When an executive recruiter contacted Peter Dunn a few years ago about a top post at The Steak n Shake Co., he wasn’t sure what to think. “I wondered what kind of steaks they served with milkshakes,” he recalled with a laugh. Today, Dunn, Steak n Shake’s president and CEO, probably knows more about the company than anyone in its 71-year history. The newcomer to the restaurant industry, a Harvard grad with an MBA from the University of Virginia, has…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Here’s a Blues performance that won’t get you down

Anthem Inc.’s $1.9 billion initial public offering in late 2001 set all kinds of records. It was the biggest IPO for a U.S. health care company ever, and the biggest IPO for a Hoosier company of any kind. But that company, now known as WellPoint Inc., was puny compared with its size today. Then, it had a market value of $3.9 billion; now, thanks to acquisitions and a surging stock price, it’s worth $45 billion. WellPoint shares were trading last…

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City’s mall gamble paid off: After 10 years, Circle Centre at core of rejuvenated downtown

In February, Goldsmith suspended construction while he and advisers analyzed options. Within months, he gave Circle Centre the green light, and construction resumed-but not because he was convinced the project would succeed. “In the end, we decided job creation in the urban core and the psychological survival of the city were dependent on some development occurring downtown,” recalled Goldsmith, now a professor at Harvard University. “We went forward with the mall with great anxiety.” Today, 10 years after the September…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: New Ritter’s CEO patches up frayed franchisee relations

If Ritter’s Frozen Custard goes on to prosper, the behindthe-scenes retooling the Carmel-based chain received over the past year will make a revealing case study for MBA students. IBJ in September 2004 reported the Ritter family had reacquired control of RFC Franchising LLC and installed Bob Ritter, son of retired founder John Ritter, to replace Saul Lemke as CEO. Franchisees in the chain, which has 62 stores in eight states, were glad to see Lemke go. Their view: During his…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Settlements bring anticlimactic close to SEC fraud case

When the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2003 announced fraud charges against three former executives of once-high-flying Analytical Surveys Inc., it filed court papers laced with explosive allegations. Anyone who read the 18-page civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Indianapolis might have figured a trial drenched with drama was in the offing. So much for the climax. Newly filed court papers show the SEC has quietly reached a $260,000 settlement with Sidney Corder, who was CEO of the computerized-map…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Obstacles facing Marsh cast questions over Atlas project

Marsh Supermarkets Inc. ended rampant speculation when it announced last September that it was buying the former Atlas grocery site at 54th Street and College Avenue and would build an Arthur’s Fresh Market there. Or did it? Nearly a year after Marsh officials unveiled their plans, the former Atlas building slated for demolition remains standing, surrounded by a chain-link security fence. “We were pretty sure construction would have started by now,” said James Garrettson, president of the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood…

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BEHIND THE NEWS IPALCO buyer wins key lawsuit but isn’t out of woods:

Score one big victory for former executives of AES Corp. and IPALCO Enterprises Inc., but they still face obstacles on other fronts. Last month, Judge Larry McKinney of U.S. District Court in Indianapolis dismissed the final claims in a shareholder lawsuit stemming from AES’ soured $3 billion purchase of the Indianapolis utility five years ago. McKinney didn’t buy plaintiffs’ charges that through omissions and misleading statements the companies had failed to disclose to IPALCO shareholders the risks of exchanging their…

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BEHIND THE NEWS Marsh shares stage rally, despite firm’s challenges:

Marsh Supermarkets Inc. might be a great place to shop, but it’s been a long time since the embattled Indianapolis grocer has been a great place for investors to park their money. That’s why the recent runup of Marsh shares is raising eyebrows in the investment community. Both the company’s Class A and Class B shares are up more than 25 percent since early June, and better than 20 percent for the year. What’s driving the increase? In part, probably…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Neither SEC, Dick in rush to bring fraud suit to trial

The Securities a n d E x c h a n g e Commission didn’t file its civil-fraud suit against former Conseco Inc. Chief Financial Officer Rollin Dick until 2004, four years after he resigned under pressure. Under a timetable approved by federal Magistrate Judge V. Sue Shields July 14, Dick won’t stand trial until May 2007 at the earliest. By then, he will have turned 75, and the transactions challenged by the SEC will be more than seven years…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Hat World helps propel parent’s stock out of slumber

When Indianapolis-based Hat World Corp. announced its $165 million sale to a Tennessee firm 17 months ago, it had posted increases in same-store sales for an impressive 27 months in a row. Now, make that 42 and counting. Such a streak is almost unheard of in the rough-and-tumble retail world, especially for a firm wrestling with the inevitable distractions that go along with the transition from independence to ownership by a publicly traded company. “We have maintained the same momentum…

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New public auto-loan firm in works: White River to buy failed Union Acceptance

A new public company is rising from the ashes of Union Acceptance Corp., the failed east-side car-financing company, and is preparing to raise $35 million through a stock offering. White River Capital Inc., which will operate from UAC’s former headquarters on North Shadeland Avenue, has agreed to buy out UAC’s shareholders for $3.1 million in stock and to buy Virginiabased auto lender Coastal Credit LLC for $50 million in cash. “It’s a tough industry, a hypercompetitive industry,” White River President…

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