Bayer sign | Photo from Conanil via Flickr

Missouri Minute: Stenger sentenced; Bayer settlement report dismissed

Good morning, MBA readers,

We start this week with major developments in multiple legal proceedings. A federal judge ruled in General Motors’ favor in litigation that involves vehicle owners in Missouri. Plus, Bayer has denied reports that it agreed to an $8 billion settlement in the case over Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller. Meanwhile, former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has been sentenced. Read on for these and other top business stories of the day.

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Judge dismisses GM lawsuit involving Missouri
A federal judge said that car owners in three “bellwether” states, including Missouri, could not seek damages in their lawsuit against General Motors. The plaintiffs said their vehicles lost value due to an ignition defect that has been linked to 124 deaths. (Reuters)

Bayer denies $8 billion Roundup settlement
A mediator for Bayer has denied reports that the chemical and pharmaceutical giant agreed to pay $8 billion to settle the health claims related to Roundup, the Monsanto weedkiller. The company’s next U.S. glyphosate hearing in St. Louis has been postponed until January 2020. (Reuters)

Galloway files for 2020 gubernatorial campaign
State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who has not yet made a formal announcement, has filed paperwork with the Missouri Ethics Commission to run for governor in 2020. She is Missouri’s lone Democrat in statewide elected office. (Missourinet)

KC-area firm sells to Reuters
HighQ, a London-based cloud software firm that has a North American headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas, has sold to Thomson Reuters for an undisclosed amount. HighQ officials hope to spur growth through Thomson Reuters’ “scale and resources.” (Kansas City Business Journal)

Platform Ventures launches new fund offering
Platform Ventures, a real estate investment firm based in the Kansas City area, is offering a new investment opportunity for accredited investors that includes nine dialysis facilities in six states. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Stenger gets nearly 4 years in corruption case
Ex-St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine — both the maximum punishment under federal guidelines. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Say that again

“If our economic development strategy in Kansas City, Missouri, is to just try and get companies from Johnson, Wyandotte and Miami counties, then we’ll be forever limited. And the same is true in Kansas.”

That’s Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who expressed concern over companies cashing in on state incentives before Missouri and Kansas eliminate those incentives for companies that relocate across that state line, The Kansas City Star reports. Firms like Waddell & Reed Financial and Hostess Brands are both looking to cross the Missouri-Kansas border to take advantage of state incentives that will end Aug. 28. Eventually, Lucas said, state lawmakers will need to agree to equalize local incentives in border counties to better enforce the truce between Missouri and Kansas.

Go figure

That’s the portion of black men in Missouri who were out of a job in 2018, compared to 3.2% of white men, according to St. Louis Community College’s annual local workforce report. Nationally, about 3.5% of white men and 7.0% of black men were steadily unemployed last year. While the racial gap in employment rates is a national trend, the gap runs deeper in Missouri, which had the fourth-highest unemployment rate among black men out of the 29 states that report this data.

Hello, my name is

The St. Louis startup has scored the first grant under BioSTL’s new federally funded program to help “de-risk” early-stage firms, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. MediBeacon, known for its optical diagnostic device, was born out of a 2011 corporate reorganization at Covidien. Since its founding, MediBeacon has raised over $30 million and secured a partnership with a Chinese drug company last month.

Word to the wise

Fusion center
A term for surveillance operations, often run by law enforcement agencies. It’s what Monsanto called its own efforts to monitor and discredit high-profile critics of its Roundup weedkiller, The Guardian reports. In particular, Monsanto adopted a multi-pronged effort to discredit Reuters journalist Carey Gillam, who investigated Roundup’s link to cancer. As part of this strategy, Monsanto paid to elevate Google search results that criticized Gillam and her book on Roundup.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning. Enjoy your weekend.

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