It's nice to know that, even with the war in the gulf dominating the news, those of us who must continue to cover the more prosaic issues of the day are not being ignored. That's the upside of the calls and letters I received this week on the heels of an article in last Sunday's Homestyle section on Emerson International Real Estate Services Co.The downside is that they were to inform me that I had made an error in that story -- a rather egregious one. In the story, I said that Salt Lake-based Emerson had won a $151 million contract from the Costa Mesa, Calif., office of the Resolution Trust Corp. to handle management and disposition of 109 foreclosed properties on the West Coats. So far, so good. I then went on to say that Emerson is "the first and so far only" Utah company to win a contract from the RTC, the federal agency set up to dispose of the assets of the nation's failed savings and loans. Not so good. Emerson is neither the first nor the only Salt Lake firm to win an RTc contract, corrected J&S Associated Inc., the Ralph Edgar Group and Wallace Associated Consulting Gropu, all of whom are based in Salt Lake City and all of whom have won a Standard Asset Management Agreement (SAMDA) contract with the RTC. Billie Nielsen, president of J&A Associates Inc., an asset management firm formed in Salt Lake City in May 1989, specifically to bid for RTC contracts, said her company, whose only client is the RTC, was awarded a contract last month from the Denver RTC office for the foreclosed real estate assets of failed Utah S&Ls American Savings, MountainWest Savings, Deseret Federal and Williamsburg Savings. The contract was for assets valued at $14 million. Also last month, J&S Associates, in a joint venture with Chicago-based Altschuler, Melvoin & Glasser, won two contracts to manage about $1.1 billion in bad loans of Phoenix-based Western Savings & Loan Association. Unlike the Salt Lake thrifts, which are properties currently available for sale, the Western Savings loans -- non-performing commercial mortgages secured by realestate -- are properties that will be managed by J&S and are still in various stages of litigation. They include land, undeveloped subdivisions, commercial and office buildings, apartment complexes and shopping centers. Although the "book" value of the loans is placed at $1.2 billion, Nielsen said their appraised value is more on the order of $600 million to $750 million. The contracts are for three years. Kyle L. McMullin, president of Wallace Associates Consulting Group, reports that his company received a $200 million RTC contract last year from the Dallas office and closed another on Dec. 31 with the Dallas office and closed another on Dec. 31 with the San Antonio office for $69 million. As for "who was first," McMullin believes the Ralph Edgar Group, in affiliation with Prowswood Inc., received the first RTC contract, followed by J&S Associates, Wallace Associates and then Emerson. The Ralph Edgar Group is a firm based in Lake Geneva, Wis., with office in 15 cities. In Salt Lake City, the veteran real estate firm Prowswood management Inc. is the regional office. Dan Lofgren, president of Prowswood Management Inc. and senior asset manager and supervising officer of the Ralph Edgar Group, said the company does fee management work in the state for the RTC and for financial institutions. That includes an RTC contract with assets in Utah. He said the company had previously fulfilled an RTC contract and is currently engaged in an RTC asset management contract of less than $10 million in value for assets of a failed S&L in the Midwest. Saying he is "guarded about what we say about our contracts," Lofgren declined to discuss it further but noted that, on a nation-wide basis, the company is currently managing 11 contracts with a book value in excess of $1.2 billion. He stressed that Prowswood is not a subsidiary of the Ralph Edgar Group. "Prowswood continues to thrive in the spirit of the 35 years heritage we have in this market. We do, however, have a very strong affiliation with the Ralph Edgar Group as the regional office for R.E.G., with responsibilities covering seven western states." According to an RTC "Asset Management Scorecard" dated Dec. 31, 1990, 44 firms across the nation have been awarded a total of 67 contracts. It shows the Ralph Edgar Group with 10 (total for its offices nation-wide), Wallace Associates with one, J&S Associates with one and emerson International with one. If there are others out there who are not on the list...don't call me, I'll call you.