Missouri Minute: Hostess moving to Kansas; senator calls out Centene

Good morning, MBA readers,

Clayton’s Centene has drawn fire from a prominent senator this week over its business practices. Also in the St. Louis area, a local Christian rapper has won a multimillion-dollar decision in a copyright lawsuit against pop star Katy Perry. Meanwhile, Hostess has decided to ditch Missouri for a new headquarters on the Kansas side of the Kansas City area. Scroll down for these and the day’s other top business stories.

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From our newsroom

After blaze, historic tavern in tiny town reopens
After months of restoration following an electrical fire, the J. Huston Tavern is open again for business. In Arrow Rock, where tourism is an important economic driver, that’s welcome news.

As supermarket self-checkout spreads, a check on jobs and the minimum wage
Hy-Vee has installed self-checkout counters at six of its 28 stores in Missouri this year and plans to bring the technology to more locations in the coming months. But just how much does this shift in supermarkets impact low-wage workers? And does Missouri’s rising minimum wage have anything to do with it?

Stay alert

St. Louis Fed: Midwest farm income down again in Q2
U.S. farm income in Midwest and Mid-Southern states fell again in the second quarter due to record floods and storms in the region. Nearly two-thirds of bankers surveyed said most of their farm customers were significantly impacted by this year’s adverse weather. (Reuters)

Twinkies maker to ditch Missouri for Kansas
Kansas City-based snack manufacturer Hostess Brands revealed it will move its headquarters just across the state line to Kansas. In May, Hostess announced it will move a distribution plant in Illinois to Edgerton, Kansas. (Kansas City Business Journal)

RiverVest’s investment gains $390 million
Clayton-based RiverVest Venture’s 6.9 million shares in a California drug company nearly tripled in value to over $600 million this week, marking a $390 million gain in three days. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

U.S. senator calls Centene ‘callous’ after firm denied care to children
Sen. Bob Casey, the ranking member of the Senate health care committee, called Clayton-based managed care provider Centene “callous” after a meeting last week with CEO Michael Neidorff. Casey drew attention to a Centene subsidiary in Texas that denied life-saving care to sick and disabled children. (ProPublica)

St. Louis developer plans controversial KC project
St. Louis-based JPL Development has secured initial approval to build a 160-unit apartment complex in Kansas City. The 6.5-acre lot has not been developed for over a decade due to strong opposition from nearby residents. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC firm wins $158 million Air Force contract
JE Dunn Construction has been awarded a $158 million contract to renovate the Air Force chapel in Colorado Springs. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Hospital paid hackers to unlock computers
Kansas City’s Truman Medical Centers worked with a third-party negotiator this week and agreed to pay ransomware attackers an undisclosed sum of money to regain access to its computer system. The hospital said personal and financial data on patients were kept on another system. (KCUR)

Jury awards nearly $2.8 million in St. Louis artist’s Katy Perry lawsuit
St. Louis attorney Michael Kahn has won a lawsuit that alleged singer Katy Perry infringed on the copyrighted lyrics of Marcus Gray, a local Christian rapper better known as Flame. The federal jury ordered Perry and Capitol Records to pay $2.78 million in damages to Gray. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Go figure

$2 million
That’s how much the Urban League needs to begin work on its $5 million plan to redevelop Ferguson and surrounding areas, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. First Bank has agreed to loan some of the required funds while Ferguson’s own Emerson has pledged $500,000. The Urban League is one of several organizations trying to make changes in the area where intense protests took place after the police killing of Michael Brown five years ago today, on August 9, 2014. Last week, Mercy announced plans to build a new health care clinic along the West Florissant area where the protests took place.

Hello, my name is

Raymond J. Sedey

McCarthy Holding Companies, the $3.9 billion construction firm in St. Louis, has tapped this company veteran as its new CEO, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Sedey, who joined McCarthy in 2000 as a project engineer, took over the firm’s Texas office in 2015. He will split time between the St. Louis headquarters and McCarthy’s Dallas office. McCarthy has worked on some of the largest builds in St. Louis, including a $280 million expansion at Washington University. This year, the firm and its joint venture were selected to work on the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency campus in north St. Louis.

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


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