Table of Contents August 2012

August 2012

Cover story

Money for nothing

Keith Simmons stacked the deck against his investors in a Ponzi scheme that may be the largest in state history.
By Edward Martin

Standing at the door of the chartered Cessna Citation II, a beaming Keith Simmons greets his guests. “This is the way we roll!” After bounding up the steps, Scott Mabe, who mows lawns and does repairs for Simmons, sinks into a soft leather seat. Ninety minutes after clearing nearly deserted Wilkes County Airport, the jet touches down in Florida. Mabe, with the others, checks into his $188-a-night hotel room, changes into shorts and relaxes. That evening, he’ll watch wide-eyed as Cage Dolls cheerleaders dance while opponents pummel each other in contests staged by Tampa-based Xtreme Fighting Championships Inc., one of Simmons’ investments


Party time

The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte might not deliver the dollars promised, but publicity will be priceless.
By Erin Dunn
With about 35,000 people expected to visit Charlotte next month for the Democratic National Convention, city leaders hope to leverage the benefits of the political spectacle past the four days it’s in town. Measuring the economic impact of political conventions is a tricky equation, with different inputs and outputs depending on who’s doing the calculating.

Slow ride

The tepid growth of the Top 75's market value reflects the recovery's current sluggish pace.
By Erin Dunn
North Carolina’s largest public companies are growing — but at a much slower pace than recent years, data from Business North Carolina’s annual Top 75 ranking show. The median change in market value for the companies rose just 5%, a sharp contrast to the 20.2% increase in 2011 and a reflection of an economy that has been slow to add jobs or make steady steps to a full recovery.

Photo Feature

Needle work

Bill Claydon's customers believe beauty is skin deep.
By Spencer Campbell, Photography by Chris Keane

n the late 1940s, Bill Claydon’s father opened a tattoo parlor in Oceanside, Calif. A 6- by 12-foot room inside an arcade, it was the only one between San Diego and Los Angeles, catering almost ex- clusively to Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton. When Claydon bought this one in Fayetteville in 1986 — he thinks it opened in the ’70s, making it one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in the state still in business — it was a lot like his dad’s, with mostly military clientele and little competition. Now rivals surround Bill Claydon’s Tattoo World Inc.



Up Front
We're No. 1.

NC Trend
How the economy turns.

Free & Clear
John Hood's introductory column.

Capital Goods
State needs restrictions on licensing.

Regional Report
Eastern Triangle Triad Charlotte Western

Special Advertising Sections and Publications

Energy Round Table

Piedmont Triad special section

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