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December 2011 Archives

Medford Property Tax Rates Hiked

The City Council made its decision and Medford's residential property tax rates went up for single family homeowners, reports the Boston Globe.

What may frustrate residential property tax payers even more is that as their rates went up, the commercial tax went down. As a result, single-family homeowners in Medford will pay an average $155 more in taxes this year. This is the 25th year in a row that taxes have gone up, according to Councilor Robert M. Penta.

Generally speaking, a local taxing authority (e.g. the county or municipal government) uses one of two methods to calculate the property tax rate:

Bank of America Discrimination Against Blacks and Hispanics

Bank of America's alleged discrimination against blacks and Hispanics in the area of home loans will lead its Countrywide unit to pay a fine of $335 million, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Countrywide settlement with the Department of Justice is the largest settlement in history over residential fair lending, reports the AJC.

The settlement covers conduct between 2004 and 2008 and involves allegations of charging blacks and Hispanics higher interest rates and directing them towards more expensive mortgages, reports MSNBC. The alleged discrimination extended to around 200,000 people.

Tom Brady's House in Brentwood About Ready

Tom Brady, the long-time Patriots quarterback, and his wife Gisele Bundchen, will likely be moving to California to live in a new house in the Brentwood area, reports the Boston Globe. The paper characterizes Tom Brady’s house as a mansion, and rightly so: the property is reported to cover 3.75 acres and the eight bedroom house will cost $11 million.

That includes the lagoon-shaped swimming pool.

Metlife Reverse Mortgage: Some Companies Still Doing It

Even though the housing market contracted sharply over the past few years and put a sizeable stake through reverse mortgage loans, some companies like MetLife are actively going into the area, reports the Boston Globe.

MetLife's reverse mortgage push is especially perplexing given that other lenders like Wells Fargo and Bank of America have left the market. In fact, Wells Fargo was the largest U.S. lender, but it left the scene due to the unpredictable nature of it all.

Will Mohegan Sun Palmer Casino Be Good For Mass?

A Mohegan Sun casino in Palmer might be in the making, as executives from the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority spoke to a forum at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, reports WWLP.

The aim of the talk by the executives was to convince people that Mohegan Sun in Palmer would be beneficial to local businesses. The executives did this by telling the gathering that between Mohegan Sun and Pocono Downs, they had helped to buy $500 million from local businesses.

Survivor: Richard Hatch Out of Jail for Tax Evasion

The first winner of the reality show Survivor, Richard Hatch, who is from Rhode Island, is out of jail after nine months, reports the Washington Post. He has spent, in total, more than three years in prison for not paying taxes on his $1 million “Survivor” winnings.

The resident of Newport, who may be considered the first big reality star, was convicted of two counts of attempted tax evasion and one count of signing a false tax return, reports the Associated Press.

House Burns: Car Crashes Into Peabody Home

Sometimes it’s good to be out really late at night.

The residents of an area home were lucky that they had done just that because a car crashed into their Peabody home late at night and caused a fire in their absence, reports the Boston Globe.

Controversial Boston Univ Bio Lab Going Forward

Boston University may be able to open a controversial biocontainment lab by the end of the month after years of waiting and delay, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The history of the Boston University Bio Lab is long and complicated. The university won a grant in 2003 to build what would be called the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory, which was supposed to contain facilities that would possess the government's highest security rating, Biosafety Level 4. The lab would study dangerous germs and pathogens.

Copley Place Expansion Approved

The controversial and oft-troublesome Copley Place's expansion was approved despite protests, reports South End Patch.

The expansion, costing $500 million approximately, will include 70,000 square feet of new retail space. There will also be a 47-story residential tower containing 318 units. The project will create 1,700 jobs in construction and 270 permanent jobs. It will also generate approximately $7.2 million in annual property tax revenue, reports Patch. Critics pointed out that the housing will only contain 10 affordable housing units.

Retaliation? GMAC Will Stop Some Mortgage Loans in Massachusetts

GMAC Mortgage, a national provider of mortgages and home refinancing, will cease buying new mortgage loans in Massachusetts that were made by other lenders and brokers, reports Reuters. GMAC will continue to make those loans that come through its direct lending practice.

“GMAC Mortgage has taken this action because recent developments have led mortgage lending in Massachusetts to no longer be viable,” the company said in a statement.

Don't Let Your Christmas Decorations Lead to a Lawsuit

You should be careful what you do with your property, because the law is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. While holiday time is a fun time of year to put up decorations, ornaments, and even conduct light shows, you should be aware that if you make your home an attraction for neighbors and their kids, you could be setting yourself up for a Christmas lawsuit.

You or your neighbor may go way over the top with Christmas decorations. Some people time their lights to go along with music and others have a lit-up Christmas menagerie of reindeers and religious figures.