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2841 posts categorized "Follow-up"

December 18, 2014

Mayo, former exec settle lawsuit

Mayo Clinic has withdrawn its trade secret lawsuit against Dr. Franklin R. Cockerill III, the former CEO of Mayo Medical Labs, as part of a settlement agreement.

The settlement was reached Wednesday, and Mayo Clinic withdrew "with prejudice," meaning it cannot pursue the matter again.

5480ab685c6ed.imageCockerill denied any wrongdoing in the settlement, as he has since the case began in October.

“Although preserving his integrity and professional reputation is of great importance to Dr. Cockerill,” said Nancy Vollertsen, one of Cockerill’s attorneys at Lindquist and Vennum, "the distraction and expense of further litigation became too burdensome for Dr. Cockerill and his family.”

Bryan Anderson of Mayo Clinic also issued a statement about the settlement this morning.

"Mayo Clinic did not take this action lightly. However, we firmly believe that legal action was necessary to protect our confidential and trade secret information against improper disclosure," the statement says.

As part of the settlement, Cockerill agreed not to work or consult for Mayo’s largest competitors for two years. He also agreed to return all information he took from Mayo Clinic and pay a portion of Mayo Clinic's legal expenses.

In October, Mayo Clinic filed suit against Cockerill, of Rochester, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract. The suit alleged Cockerill covertly accepted a job in June with Quest Diagnostics, a major competitor of Mayo Medical Labs. He had told Mayo Clinic he was retiring at the end of September to help his 85-year-old mother run her fertilizer business in Nebraska. On Oct. 1, he took the position of vice president and chief laboratory officer at Quest.

Mayo Clinic soon filed the lawsuit, alleging Cockerill had misrepresented his departure and had left with clinic-owned memory sticks with data downloaded from his work station. A restraining order was granted that prevented him from working at Quest. The order claimed he could cause "irreparable harm" to Mayo Clinic by working there.

Earlier this month, Cockerill officially resigned from Quest. He had worked for the New Jersey-based multibillion dollar company only from Oct. 1 to Oct. 14.

In a statement from his lawyers following the settlement, Cockerill said he "maintains that he was a loyal Mayo employee throughout his employment and had no intention of harming Mayo, where he had worked for over 30 years and which employs several members of his family. He was dismayed that Mayo did not offer him the opportunity to explain his actions but instead summarily sued him for presumptive misuse of confidential information, forcing him to expend considerable resources to defend his integrity and professional reputation.”

Mayo Clinic defended taking the unusual step of filing a very public lawsuit.

"We understand that our staff members move to other organizations, and, when they do so in a transparent manner, we can cooperatively manage any conflicts-of-interest during their transition, and we can protect our confidential and trade secret information,” it said in a statement.

December 16, 2014

Mannino leaving Home Federal

After 14 years as the face of Rochester's Home Federal Savings Bank, Al Mannino is leaving to try something new.

Mannino, the well-known vice president of communications for the bank, is stepping down at the end of December to try his hand at business consulting.
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"I've decided to leave the bank while I've still got enough energy to do something else," he said. "The bank and I are on great terms. I'm just looking for something more fun and challenging for the next segment of my career."

The 65-year-old Mannino joined Home Federal in 2000. He originally moved to the area to help with the launch of Stewartville-based Rochester Medical, which makes catheters. Prior to that, he had been working with a medical company in the Twin Cities.

"I was an executive in the health-care industry for many years with companies that made implantable medical devices and medical supplies," said Mannino. "Now it's time to try something new."

December 15, 2014

Beltz leaves Titan for Waters on Mayowood

In case you didn't see this in print over the weekend, here's a column about an interesting pesonnel change.

Plus it sounds like another well-known Rochester leader is also making a switch. Should have more on that soon.

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A well-known leader in Rochester's hospitality industry was recently hired by a large, new senior living complex.

John Beltz started on Dec. 1 as the manager of community relations for The Waters on Mayowood, a new 175-unit senior living community under construction at Mayowood Road Southwest and 16th Street Southwest. It's expected to be ready to open for residents in March.

0e7496bThe massive 282,070-square-foot complex will feature a variety types of apartments in two four-story buildings. That will include 71 independent living apartments, 70 senior living with services, 20 memory care and 14 enhanced care apartments.

Beltz has been a high-profile local hospitality executive for many years. Since 2013, he has worked as vice-president of brand management and revenue development for the Chafoulias family's Titan Development and Investments. Prior to that, he worked for Broadway Residence and Suites for six years. From 2002 to 2007, he worked at Rochester's Kahler hotels as a regional vice president for then-owner Sunstone Hotels.

"This is just an another application for my hospitality skills for a new demographic," he said of the new position. "I'm excited to be working with an organization that's really poised for growth."

The Waters on Mayowood is the creation of Rochester developer Jeff C. Brown partnered with The Waters Senior Living of Minnetonka as the operator. The Waters is in charge of seven senior living centers in Minnesota.

“John’s extensive background in high-end hotel management is a perfect fit for The Waters on Mayowood’s upscale community and discerning residents,” stated Waters CEO Kyle Didler in his hiring announcement.

The Waters also hired another well-known Rochester at the start of 2014, when it added Bruce Rohde as the director of community operations for The Waters on Mayowood. Rhode had previously worked for Mayo Clinic for 25 years, most recently serving as the high-profile chair of the facilities division.

December 09, 2014

Work on 2nd Aldi store really rolling along

Workers braved the chilly weather today to start putting up the big sign for the new Aldi grocery in northwest Rochester.

09122014aldistoreThe 17,000-square-foot store has went up quickly by McDonalds and Costco.

Aldi officials from their Faribault division have previously said they expect to open by April. That estimate was calculated on breaking ground by the end of 2014.

I'd say work is running quite a bit ahead of that schedule.

Aldi is also renovating its exisiting Rochester store at the Crossroads Shopping Center.

December 08, 2014

Ex-Hardee's/Indian eatery flattened

The former Hardee's/Indian restaurant at 7 12 St. S 08122014exhardees2.E., that's at Rochester's corner of U.S. 14 and South U.S. 63, is being scraped away today.

No sure yet what the plans, if any, are for the site.

That 31-year-old business was where one of Rochester's Hardee's fast food places operated. In Dec. 2001, that restaurant and two more in Rochester plus one in Stewartville abruptly closed their doors.

The franchise owner went bankrupt in 2000 and DORO InHardeesc. of Eau Claire, Wis. was named as reciever. Eventually, they had to close the doors.

It was later used as Natraj's India Kitchen/ C08122014exhardees1uisine of India for a few years.

It has sat empty and moldered for quite a while since the Indian eatery moved out.

Now the site is cleared for a new future, whatever that may be.

Hopefully, that will include better access.

December 04, 2014

Ex-Mayo exec resigns from Quest, but lawsuit continues

The doctor being sued by Mayo Clinic for allegedly stealing trade secrets has resigned from his job at Mayo competitor, Quest Diagnostics.

CockerillDr. Franklin R. Cockerill III, the former CEO of the for-profit Mayo Medical Labs, resigned from his position as vice president and chief laboratory officer with Quest on Wednesday, according to Nancy Brostrom Vollertsen, a Minneapolis attorney representing him.

His acceptance of that job on Oct. 1 spurred Mayo Clinic to file a lawsuit against Cockerill alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract. Cockerill officially worked at Quest only from Oct. 1 to Oct. 14. On Oct. 14, Olmsted County Judge Robert Birnbaum granted a temporary restraining order preventing him from working, because he could cause "irreparable harm" to Mayo Clinic.

Quest filed a motion to withdraw from the case on Tuesday, since it "…No longer has a 'substantial interest' in this litigation that justifies or requires its continued participation." Mayo Clinic issued a statement Thursday saying it had settled with Quest in the wake of Cockerill's resignation.

"Mayo is not pursuing any claims against Quest. We continue to pursue our remaining claims (against Cockerill) to protect our confidential trade secrets against improper disclosure," according to the statement released by Bryan Anderson.
08-18 Frank Cockerill 2 ols
While Quest is no longer a factor in the case, the Mayo Clinic's lawsuit again Cockerill continues to move forward. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 22 in Olmsted County Court.

The lawsuit alleges that Cockerill covertly accepted the job in June, but he told Mayo Clinic that he was retiring at the end of September to help his 85-year-old mother run her fertilizer business in Nebraska. From June to September, he continued to work at Mayo Medical Labs, attending confidential meetings and negotiating contracts. The complaint filed by Mayo Clinic also claims that Cockerill was in communication with Quest throughout his final months and he left with clinic-owned memory sticks with data downloaded from his work station.

On Oct. 1, he stepped into the position of vice president and chief laboratory officer with New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics Inc., a multibillion-dollar public company.

Cockerill released a statement through his attorney in response to Mayo allegations that said, "He opted for early retirement at the Mayo Clinic's invitation and is not subject to any non-compete or other agreement that would limit his activities after leaving Mayo."

He filed an affidavit in November, which was later withdrawn, that stated that Cockerill was "confused and disappointed" by Mayo Clinic's legal action against him. It also stated that he did not tell Mayo Clinic leaders about his plans, because he "feared retribution against himself and his family."

Mayo Clinic responded that Cockerill's case was different than other executives who have left to work for competitors.

"… We understand that our staff members move to other organizations, and, when they do so in a transparent manner, we can manage any conflicts-of-interest during their transition, and we can protect our confidential information and trade secrets," stated Mayo's Anderson by email. "Dr. Cockerill was not transparent and did not report his conflict of interest."

December 03, 2014

Paine Furniture building sold for $1.7 million

New local owners hope to breathe new life into a 129-year-old building in downtown Rochester.

Get_photoOn Nov. 20, local developers Grant Michelitz and Hal Henderson purchased the long-empty former Paine Furniture store site at 313 S. Broadway as well as the 309 S. Broadway building now occupied by Big Brad's on Broadway. The pair acquired the property from Cedric Paine under a Contract for Deed deal for $1.7 million. Michelitz said negotiations for the sale have been ongoing since the Paine Furniture store closed in 2006.

While they plan to upgrade and restore the property, Michelitz says no deals for new tenants have been signed yet.

"The word leaked out pretty quick. We have got several meetings with prospective tenants coming up here in the next week or so," he said. "We're already invested in that block. We like the direction that it is going in."

The business partners also own the nine-story 318 Commons complex used by the University of Minnesota for student housing and classes. It's behind the Paine site facing First Avenue. Henderson, the principal in the Rochester office of HGA Architects and Engineers, also owns the adjacent Press Coffee & Tea Lounge at 315 S. Broadway and the Canvas & Chardonnay building at 317 S. Broadway.

Michelitz owns the 220 and 222 buildings across Broadway from the Paine site. They both have been renovated in a classic style similar to what is expected to happen at the Paine building.

If the weather allows yet this year, they hope to soon replace the second-story windows with double hung ones that better match the original design of the building, said Michelitz. They also expect to add an elevator and stairway tower on the alley side of the building to make the second story accessible.

Built in 1885, the 313 building housed the Paine Furniture Co. for 104 years from 1902 to 2006. In 1927, the Paines expanded into the 309 building, which had been home to the Klee grocery store and the Stedman bakery prior to that.

This sale is the latest in a long string of business changes and real-estate sales in Rochester's downtown.

Michaels restaurant, Barnes & Noble bookstore and Sontes all have announced they will close at the end of this month, and Hanny's Men's Wear is closing its street-level store.

Michelitz declined to speculate on the future of the area, but seemed optimistic.

"It is really fluid right now. I think we all hope for smart growth," he said.

December 01, 2014

Ramada = Kahler Apache

A 37-year-old Rochester hotel is trading a national brand for a local one.

The Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, owned by Dan and Terri Penz, of Rochester, officially became the Kahler Apache on Friday. The 149-room hotel is at 1517 16th St. S.W.

Neither of the Penzes were available for comment on Sunday.

01122014ramadakahlersignWhile the southwest hotel now shares a name with four downtown hotels, Kahler Hospitality Group Marketing Director Cherylanne Thomas said it is not financially linked to the other hotels, and KHG is not licensing the name. KHG, which is led locally by businessman Javon Bea, owns the Kahler Grand Hotel, the Kahler Inn & Suites, the Marriott Rochester, the Residence Inn and the Textile Care Services industrial laundry.

"We're just managing this for Dan Penz. We're just consultants," she said. "We just lent him our name to his property because he chose to de-flag it as a Ramada. We're saving him on the franchise fee, which is savings he can pass on to his guests."

KHG and the Penzes signed a contractlast summer that turned the management of the hotel over to the Kahler hotel team. In a similar relationship, KHG hired Colorado-based Richfield Hospitality to manage the Kahler hotels in 2013. Thomas said because KHG doesn't have ownership in the Kahler Apache, Richfield does not have any involvement that hotel.

This name change for the former Ramada will have no effect on the hotel's about 60 employees, said Thomas.

"They are still under an employment contract with Dan Penz. That has nothing to do with us," she said.

01122014kahlerapchesignA longtime Kahler employee, Chase Albrecht was recently named as general manager of the hotel.

"He (Albrecht) now is an employee of Dan Penz," Thomas said. "The previous GM had left on his own."

The Penzes originally purchased the hotel when it was under the Best Western brand in 2002. It became a Ramada franchise in 2004. The hotel originally was built by well-known developer George Baihly in 1977, and it opened as a Midway Motor Lodge. This is the first time the hotel will not have a national brand name over the entrance.

Driven by loyal return visitors coming for Mayo Clinic, Rochester has long been a stronghold for independent hotels without a national brand. While the Kahler name was franchised nationally in the past, Rochester has always been its primary base of operations. Other local independents include the Fiksdal Hotel and the adjacent Aspen Suites.


Local developer Ed Pompeian also has found success with his two Brentwood hotels.

Independent hotels struggled for many years nationally as the big chains established online reservations and rewards program. However, that is changing, said industry expert Smith Travel Research Inc. STR data shows occupancy and revenue at independent hotels growing quickly this year. Analysts point to local market knowledge and online review sites, such as Tripadvisor.com as keeping independents competitive with big chains like Marriott and Hilton.

Hotels, always important in Rochester, are growing quickly as part of the new Destination Medical Center economy. Almost 400 new rooms to be added in 2015 to the current 5,443 rooms.
Brad Jones, executive director of the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau, expects Rochester will pass the 6,000 room milestone in 2017.

November 24, 2014

Bandel Road Business Center sold for $1.6 million

A commercial center on Rochester's Bandel Road recently sold for almost $1.6 million as an investment for the future.

Vance Prigge, majority owner and president of Atlas Insurance Brokers, bought the Bandel Road Business Center at 5721 Bandel Road N.W. from local architect David Kane. Its current tenants are Kelly Services and Thrivent Financial. There's about 2,000 square feet still available for another tenant.

64585318ee614fa1aaade37b6bf6b76cPrigge describes the purchase as an investment with an eye to possibly use the building as a home for Atlas Insurance in the future. However, he has no immediate plans to make any moves or change anything about the building. He bought the property through his corporation, Centurion Blue Holding, LLC.

Commercial Realtor Scott Hoss handled the purchase for Rochester's Paramark Real Estate Services. Gary O’ Conner from Security State Bank of Wanamingo handled the financing.

The center was built by Rochester developer Jeff Brown in 2007.

November 20, 2014

Fairfield Inn on the rise

112014fairfieldinnIn looks like work is really rolling along on Rochester's new Fairfield Inn & Suites.

This is the 91-room, four-story hotel being built at 10 17th Ave. N.W., where th e Courtesy Inn was demolished this summer. That's near the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.

 

This project is being spearheaded by two second generation hoteliers, Nick Pompeian and Harshal Patel.

07042014courtesyinn

Here's an early demo pic from July.