Business briefs: Marketing workshops set for LWR

May 3, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association and The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce will host a half day marketing workshop and luncheon May 14 at the Polo Grill.

Doug Van Dyke of Leadership Simplified will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon. Attendees will have the choice of two breakout sessions in the morning.

The workshop will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Megan Greenberg, Anand Pallegar and Danny Watts from atLarge, Inc. will offer the opening keynote. Other sessions will include information on partnerships between non-profits and for-profits; content marketing; and using Google to maximize your web presence.

The workshop and luncheon are $55 for members of any of the sponsoring groups or $65 for non-members. The luncheon only is $25 for members and $35 for non-members.

Wynn wins $7.5M against 'Girls Gone Wild' founder

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld Steve Wynn's $7.5 million judgment in a civil defamation case against "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis.

A three-justice panel in an order dated Thursday rejected arguments by Francis that a default judgment granted by a Clark County judge in 2012 should be set aside because his attorneys had withdrawn and he was unable to defend himself.

Justices said the soft-porn video empire founder's last-minute attempts to challenge the default were an attempt to stall proceedings.

Wynn sued Francis in 2008 amid a legal tussle over a $2 million gambling debt Francis incurred the year before at the Wynn Las Vegas resort.

In 2012, Wynn was awarded $21 million against Francis after a separate slander trial in Los Angeles.

Neal Communities' sales hit a milestone in April

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Neal Communities sold 88 new houses in April. That's up 22-percent from April 2013, which at the time was the most sales the Lakewood Ranch-based builder had ever reported in that month.

Sales took place in 16 communities from Manatee to Lee Counties. Grand Palm, Neal's master planned community in Venice, had the most at 18 sales. Other notable communities included Central Park in Lakewood Ranch -- expected to sell out this year -- with nine sales, Fairfield in Bradenton with eight sales, and Forest Creek and River's Reach with seven sales each.

Former Microsoft CEO now its largest shareholder

NEW YORK -- Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive officer of Microsoft, became the company's biggest individual shareholder Friday after Bill Gates sold 4.6 million shares of the world's largest software maker.

Ballmer, who retired Feb. 4 after 33 years at the Redmond, Wa.-based company, owns 333.2 million shares of Microsoft, 3.1 million more than Gates. Ballmer has collected about $3.4 billion from selling shares since the company's 1986 initial public offering, and has a net worth of $18.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Ballmer joined Microsoft as employee No. 30 in 1980 after Gates persuaded him to drop out of Stanford University's business school. He rose to the rank of president and then took over for Gates as CEO in 2000.

Microsoft fell 31 cents to close at $39.69 on Friday.

-- Herald staff and wire reports,

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