Last week's headlines

Charges in U.S. probe of Md. tax-sale auctions

June 08, 2008

Best Buy tests recycling

Best Buy Co. announced that Maryland is one of eight states where it is testing a pilot program that allows consumers to get rid of old computers, televisions, cell phones and other outdated electronic gadgets for free. Consumers will be able to bring two items per day to a Best Buy store for recycling under the program, which began June 1.

Cordish seeks N.J. casino

The chairman of Baltimore-based Cordish Co., which is expanding into gaming management, confirmed that it is among a number of bidders vying to acquire Atlantic City's Tropicana Casino and Resort. The casino hotel complex lost its gambling license in December and was turned over to a New Jersey-appointed conservator, who is trying to sell the still-operating property.

Conspiracy admitted

In the first charges to stem from a broad federal investigation into Maryland's tax-sale auctions, a veteran real estate investor has admitted conspiring to rig bids over several years at auctions in Baltimore and five Maryland counties. Steven L. Berman, 50, of New Freedom, Pa., will pay a $750,000 fine and faces a possible prison term, federal prosecutors said.

BGE faces fine over trees

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., criticized by some lawmakers earlier this year for being too aggressive in trimming trees around power lines, faces a $180,000 federal fine for failing to keep tree limbs a safe distance from high-voltage transmission lines, regulators said. BGE was among the first utilities in the nation to face financial penalties under the new regulations.

Homeowners falling behind

The number of Maryland homeowners behind on their mortgage payments continues to increase at a record pace, according to industry numbers released Friday. More than 70,000 loans were at least 30 days past due in the first three months of the year, including those in imminent danger of foreclosure, the Mortgage Bankers Association estimated.

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