Latest Reports

Arthur Blank says purchasing soccer team for Atlanta is ‘close to his heart’

By Maria Saporta

For Arthur Blank, buying a Major League Soccer franchise is as emotional a move as he’s ever made.

Blank, co-founder of the Home Depot and majority owner of the Atlanta Falcons, is first and foremost a smart businessman who has learned to connect with customers and fans while holding true to his core philanthropic values of making the community a better place.

And all of that will still be true with his new MLS franchise — the 22nd in the league.
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Leonardo McLarty to leave DeKalb Chamber after nearly 10 years

By Maria Saporta

Leonardo McLarty, president of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce for nearly 10 years, will leave the organization on May 23 to become director of economic and community development for the City of York, Pa beginning on June 2.

McLarty sent an email earlier today to DeKalb Chamber members and friends letting them know of his upcoming move.
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Aaron’s acquiring Progressive Finance Holdings for $700 million; urges shareholders to reject Vintage bid

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta-based Aaron’s Inc., a leading lease-to-own retailer, announced Tuesday morning that it has acquired Progressive Finance Holdings, LLC, a leading virtual lease-to-own company, from Summit Partners in an all-cash transaction valued at about $700 million.

Aaron’s will operate Progressive as a wholly-owned subsidiary. John Robinson, Progressive’s CEO, will join the Aaron’s executive leadership team as executive vice president and CEO of Progressive, reporting directly to Ronald W. Allen, Aaron’s CEO.

“This is a highly complementary and transformative acquisition for Aaron’s, and we are eager to capture the significant opportunities this combination will provide for our customers, franchisees, and shareholders,” Allen said in the release.
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After 30 years, Young Audiences to change its name to Arts for Learning

By Maria Saporta

At its 30th anniversary lunch celebration, Young Audiences did something a little different.

It announced to the world that it is changing its name — to Arts for Learning/ Woodruff Arts Center — on June 1.

Charisse Williams, president of Young Audiences, said the past year has been a great year to reflect on the organization’s past three decades, but also a time to look forward to its next 30 years. Young Audiences has been refining its strategy and working on how to best tell its story.
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Arthur Blank expected to announce pro Atlanta soccer team on Wednesday

By Maria Saporta

In one of the most anticipated sports announcements in recent Atlanta history, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is expected to announce on Wednesday that he has reached an agreement with Major League Soccer to become the newest owner of a franchise soccer team.

A media advisory was sent out Monday morning saying that there would be a major announcement on Wednesday with Blank, MLS Commissioner Don Garber along with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Frank Poe, the executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority about the future of soccer in Atlanta.
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Turner Entertainment’s Steve Koonin joining Atlanta Hawks as new CEO

By Maria Saporta

Becoming CEO of the Atlanta Hawks is “every boy’s dream,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks.

The Atlanta Hawks announced on Sunday that Koonin will be the new CEO of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena — a move aimed at strengthening the brand of the basketball team as well as focusing on more strategic plans for the organization.

“We just felt we needed a CEO who could step out of our day-to-day operations, both on the business side and the basketball side,” said Bruce Levenson, the majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks, in a telephone interview Sunday night.
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LBJ Library’s Civil Rights Summit shines light on Atlanta from Austin

By Maria Saporta

As the three-day Civil Rights Summit unfolded at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, one thing was abundantly clear.

Atlanta and its leaders were well represented during the event.

The summit began on Tuesday with Georgia’s own — former President Jimmy Carter, who spoke about his own evolution of growing up in a small rural town during the age of segregation. All his playmates were black, but they lived separate and unequal lives. Continue reading

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Compassionate Atlanta gaining steam as part of global movement

By Maria Saporta

For the last couple of months, an international movement has been getting a foothold in Atlanta — a global movement for compassion.

On Feb. 3, the City of Atlanta officially became a Compassionate City; and a few weeks later, the City of Clarkston also joined the movement.  On Monday night, Decatur became the Compassionate City in Georgia.

In recognition of the growing spirit of compassion in Atlanta, the founder of the United Nations sanctioned Charter for Compassion International, which was passed in 2009, and the organization’s executive director, were in town on April 3 and 4 to build new partnerships in town.
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Arthur Blank on the verge of announcing soccer team for Atlanta

By Maria Saporta

The website Philly.com reported Sunday that Atlanta will receive the next franchise of the of Major League Soccer.

It is no secret that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has been involved in detailed discussions with MLS to get an expansion team to Atlanta in time to play in the $1.2 billion stadium in 2017.

Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald quoted multiple sources saying that Atlanta would become the 22nd MLS franchise (not Miami which is still trying to put together a stadium deal).
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Judge disqualifies King Estate’s attorney; Bernice King wins ruling

By Maria Saporta

In a clear legal victory for Bernice King, the attorneys for the King Estate have been disqualified from the case involving the right of her two brothers being able to sell Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize  and his personal traveling Bible.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney issued a ruling late April 2 disqualifying the King Estate’s lead counsel, William B. Hill Jr., and his firm, Polsinelli PC, from representing the plaintiff in this case.

“I just think this was the best decision,” Bernice King said during a reception celebrating the opening of the Kinsey exhibit at the Atlanta History Center Thursday evening. “There was definitely a conflict of interest.”
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