New TSFG campus may be hard sell


The South Financial Group’s efforts to sell its new corporate headquarters appear to progressing, albeit slowly.

According to The Greenville News, “Everyone from state Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor to Greenville Mayor Knox White has signed on to a push to fill the corporate headquarters complex along Interstate 85 that The South Financial Group built then decided not to occupy.”

South Financial does not have a buyer yet but has “gotten a bunch of interest, inquiries and questions and things like that,” the paper reported.

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Civil War soldier headed home

Civil War Bones

An unknown Union soldier who died nearly 150 years ago at the Battle of Antietam is headed to his home state, nearly a year after his remains were discovered in a cornfield.

During a 15-minute ceremony Tuesday at the battlefield cemetery, park superintendent John W. Howard placed a small wooden box containing about 400 bone fragments, 13 uniform buttons, a US belt buckle and some scraps of fabric and leather inside a period-appropriate pine coffin donated by an Albany-area funeral home, according to The Associated Press.

A half dozen National Park Service rangers flanked by two re-enactors in Union blue placed the coffin, draped with a 34-star US flag, in a black SUV for the two-day, 330-mile trip to the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery near Schuylerville, NY. Two uniformed New York Army National Guardsmen and a volunteer motorcycle escort accompanied the remains.

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Mason assumes more duties at FNSC


Barry Mason is the new president and chief executive officer of First National Bancshares, the Spartanburg, SC-based holding company that’s struggling to keep its head above water, the company announced Tuesday.

Before the move could be made, First National’s board had to receive approval from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond because of an agreement entered into with the regulator in June following massive losses over the past year.

Late last month Mason was named president and CEO of subsidiary First National Bank of the South. That appointment had to be approved by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the result of a consent order entered into with the OCC in April.

First National Bancshares lost $20 million during the second quarter. Last year, the company lost $44.8 million and another $1.36 million during the first three months of 2009.

Mason, who replaced founder Jerry Calvert, received an enticing compensation package to come to First National from Arthur State Bank. He signed a three-year employment agreement with First National that pays him an initial annual salary of $275,000 a year.

The agreement also includes a signing bonus of $550,000 and Mason is eligible to receive a lump sum bonus of $200,000 upon successful completion of First National’s capital restoration plan, according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

In lieu of an additional cash bonus, Mason will be issued 250,000 shares of First National common stock, subject to vesting restrictions. He will also be eligible to receive an annual cash bonus of up to 50 percent of his base salary based performance goals.

Mason, the filing adds, will also receive an option to purchase 1 million shares of the company’s common stock.

Stock in First National rose 5 cents Tuesday, to $1.80 a share.