Dassault Falcon Jet will expand its Little Rock jet completion center over the next three years by $60 million. The French-based company said it will add an additional 250,000 sq. ft. to its campus near the Little Rock airport and refurbish a portion of its existing facilities.

Dassault Falcon makes high-end corporate and personal jets worth up to $60 million per plane in some models. Site preparation will begin in early 2014 and construction will take place through the early part of 2016.

Gov. Beebe names Charles Robinson to Treasurer’s post

Gov. Mike Beebe (D) named Charles Robinson, the former director of the Division of Legislative Audit, to serve out the remainder of State Treasurer Martha Shoffner’s term. Robinson, a former CPA, worked for Legislative Audit for 34 years, serving 24 years as its director. He holds an accounting degree from Arkansas Tech University and an MBA from the University of Arkansas. Shoffner, a Democrat, resigned from her position last week after being arrested by federal authorities on charges of extortion.

Lawsuit against Exxon claims company concealed pipeline defects

A lawsuit has been filed against Exxon Mobil Corporation, Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company, and the planners and developers of the Mayflower subdivision where a pipeline ruptured and spilled almost 150,000 gallons of oil into a neighborhood on March 29, 2013. The lawsuit was filed by a group of Mayflower residents affected by the oil spill. Claims made in the lawsuit included that Exxon was aware of problems with the pipeline before the oil spill and knowingly concealed pipeline defects.

Arkansas home sales, prices up in April

The number of homes sold in Arkansas last month increased by 13.7 percent from April 2012, and the average price of homes sold increased by 4.3 percent, the Arkansas Realtors Association said.

The association said 2,209 homes were sold in the 43-county area it surveyed in April, up from 1,944 a year earlier. The average price of a home last month was $159,503, up from $152,922 in April 2012.

Pulaski County had the most homes sold last month with 375, followed by Benton County with 363, Washington County with 220, Saline County with 121 and Garland County with 119. In Sebastian County, 94 homes were sold. Twenty-eight were sold in Jefferson County.

First quarter Arkansas bank income up

Arkansas bank income was up more than 30 percent during the first quarter of 2013 as a reduction in real estate holdings and the monetary value of problem loans improved profits. The 126 financial institutions operating in Arkansas during the first quarter posted cumulative net income of $197 million, according to a May 29 report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). The first quarter income was up 30.6 percent compared to 2012 first quarter income of $147 million, and well ahead of the $137 million tally for the first quarter of 2011.

Northwest Arkansas sees strongest metro job improvements

Seven of the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas had jobless rate decreases in April compared to March, but they had jobless rate increases compared to April 2012. Only the Northwest Arkansas area saw jobless rate improvements compared to March 2013 and the April 2012 periods.

During April, the lowest metro jobless rate in the state was in Northwest Arkansas at 5.1 percent and the highest rate was 9.2 percent in the Pine Bluff area, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wal-Mart fined for hazardous waste

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has pleaded guilty to dumping hazardous waste across California between 2003 and 2005 incurring $81 million in fines. As part of the plea, the company will also clean up dump sites in Missouri. The plea agreements announced Tuesday put an end to an investigation involving more than 20 prosecutors and 32 environmental groups over the past eight years. The plea also involved misdemeanor counts of negligently dumping pollutants from its stores into sanitation drains across the state.


Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His e-mail address is roby@talkbusiness.net; his website address is www.talkbusiness.net