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Bank of America ordered to pay Florida couple $1M for harassing them with 700 …

A federal judge ordered Bank of America to pay a Florida couple just over $1 million after a company subsidiary harassed them with hundreds of collection calls over a four-year period, ABC News reported.

The judge awarded Nelson and Joyce Coniglio $1,051,000 — roughly $1,500 for each of the 700 automated “robocalls” the Coniglios received after they fell behind on the mortgage for their second home in suburban Tampa. The pre-recorded calls began not long after the bank took over the mortgage in 2009.

“We would be out at dinner and they would ring my mother’s cellphone,” the couple’s son, Jason Coniglio, told the Tampa Bay Times. “Then they would call my dad’s cellphone and then when we got back to the house, there would be another message on the answering machine.”

The Coniglios sued the bank in July, arguing that on top of the hundreds of calls, they also received “threatening collection letters asserting false and misleading information.” The suit also said that the calls continued even after the couple asked for them to stop, a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

“If I did what Bank of America did, I’d probably be behind bars,” Joyce Coniglio told WTSP-TV.

The bank defended its actions in a statement to ABC News, saying it was trying to help the couple avoid foreclosure.

“Because our calls were not answered and our efforts to help the Coniglios avoid foreclosure were urgent, these calls continued,” Senior Vice President Dan Frahm said. “We are committed to help homeowners in need of assistance avoid foreclosure.”

ABC reported that Bank of America was ordered to pay $32 million last September in another settlement involving a class action suit filed by 7.7 million customers over “robocalls.” And the bank was forced to fire a collection company based out of Texas in 2010 after ABC reported that it used profanities and racial slurs while contacting lenders.

Watch ABC’s report on the Coniglios’ court victory, as aired on Thursday, below.

More ABC US news | ABC World News

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Jessica Manning, owner and lead stylist at Re•Hab Hair, answers The Pitch’s …

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  • Sabrina Staires
  • Jessica Manning, owner/lead stylist at Re•Hab Hair

Name: Jessica Manning

Occupation: Owner/lead stylist at Re•Hab Hair in Westport

Hometown: Blue Springs

Current neighborhood: Westport

What I do: Make people feel beautiful. In addition, I lead a team of very talented stylists, and hopefully in doing that, I provide a strong female role model for my daughter(s).

What’s your addiction? Physical activity — running, boxing, biking. I’ve got to keep moving to stay sane.

What’s your game? College basketball. Only college. Only KU. Rock Chalk! (Also, whatever sport any one of the four small children I adore is playing.)

What’s your drink? Bloody maria. It’s like a salad with tequila.

Where’s dinner? Cucina della Ragazza. They welcomed me into the neighborhood with open arms. You have to try the artichoke–and–sausage soup. I could live on it.

What’s on your KC postcard? The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. My daughter got into theater at age 6, and I know I’m going to see her on one of those stages someday.

Finish this sentence: “Kansas City got it right when …” It started revitalizing downtown and kept up the momentum. I wouldn’t have stepped foot downtown 15 years ago. I practically live there now. Keep it up, KC.

“In five years, I’ll be …” Hopefully opening a second Re•Hab Hair location and, gulp … the mother and stepmother of four teenagers.

“I always laugh at …” AutoCorrect fails until I snort, cry or stop breathing.

“I’ve been known to binge-watch …” Anything on Netflix that everyone else finished two years ago. I just finished Dexter.

“I can’t stop listening to …” Hozier on shuffle while I run. Great album.

“I just read …” Wild.

The best advice I ever got: Enjoy the hectic, crazy, appointment-filled, no-sleep, need-more-coffee, did-I-forget-a-kid(?) days. They are what you’ll have to look back on when you’ve got nothing to do. — Grandma Dot Dot

Worst advice: “Make a list of everything you want in a man. Don’t settle until you find one that fits everything on it.” (Trust me, you don’t know what you want in a man until you find it.)

My sidekick: Passed away two months ago. She was my first baby, a beautiful shepherd mix named Lion. Not ready to name a replacement.

My dating triumph/tragedy: Agreeing to go on a date with a man who had nothing on my “list.” We’ve been together three years now, and I’ve never been happier.

My brush with fame: I was in a small horror movie about four years ago directed by a friend of mine, American Foreclosure. I’ve never gotten up the nerve to watch it.

My recent triumph: Opening Re•Hab. I’ve been in the industry 15 years. I was at the point where I needed to shit or get off the pot. So I jumped. It was decision, execution and completion in just over a month. Two months later, I have five talented stylists and could not be happier.

Re•Hab Hair is located at 315 Westport Road. Call 816-405-6178 for appointments.

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From dirt tracks to Brickyard

He peered into the garage area and took photos of NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

“I was thinking, ‘How cool would this be?’ ” Eliason said. “All I had was glass between me and what I really wanted to do.”

Little did Eliason know at the time that just 18 months later he’d be working on the other side of that glass as an intern for Hendrick Motorsports, and this morning, Christmas Day, he will drive to Charlotte, N.C., to begin working full time for the most successful team in NASCAR.

“I still can’t believe it, either,” Eliason said. “It’s crazy to me. Even when I interned out there, being in victory lane, being part of champagne celebrations, getting those victory rings, it just seems so surreal to me.”

Eliason, 24, graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan Tech on Saturday. He starts work with Hendrick Motorsports on Jan. 5. He will be the third engineer on Johnson’s team, working as a “right-hand man” to renowned crew chief Chad Knaus.

On race day, Eliason will keep track of a racing data base. If Knaus makes a change on the car during a pit stop, Eliason will input the information into a computer. The engineers keep track of adjustments and communicate directly via radio with Knaus, who in turn communicates with Johnson and the rest of the pit crew.

“The engineers are constantly going back and forth with Chad, and then he tells the mechanics and the crew what he wants to do,” Eliason said. “Sometimes it is seconds before the car comes in. It’ll be ‘four tires, four tires,’ and then the car will come in, ‘No, two, two, two! Go, go, go!’ He’ll call an audible based on what everybody else is taking because you want to get out first. It’s high tension. There are a million things going on, but I love it. I’m so excited to get back there.”

A HEAD START From about the time he could lug a lug nut, Eliason was spending time at the family business, Lakehead Clutch and Brake in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Eliason would clean and sweep. Years later, he was rebuilding clutches and taking apart brake shoes.

Grandfather Harry Eliason, who turned 74 on Tuesday, is retired but still visits the shop.

“I got to watch my grandpa, and that has inspired me more than anything else,” Eliason said. “He is the hardest worker in the world, and has the kindest heart. He is very strong in his faith.”

It was a racing family.

Harry Eliason, and his brother, John, used to build engines for their brothers, Jim and Gordy, to race on the local dirt-track scene in the 1950s and 1960s. Chais Eliason’s uncles, Troy Eliason and the late Todd Eliason, raced in the 1980s and early 1990s. Chais’ father, Tim Eliason, served as a crew chief.

Chais Eliason grew up going to the races and loved NASCAR, with his room adorned in Gordon’s signature No. 24. Eliason began pitting for local stalwart Darrell Nelson in 2002, when he was just 12 years old.

Eliason mostly cleaned the race cars, scraping mud off after races, but he wanted to do more.

Nelson recalled a big fight he had with Eliason at Chippewa Falls, Wis., when Eliason wanted to grind the race tires but Nelson wouldn’t let him.

“He was too little; he was tiny,” Nelson said. “He had little bird arms back then, and that could have ripped his arms off. I didn’t want him to get hurt. But when someone has his heart and mind set on it, you weren’t going to change it.”

Another time Eliason was camping in Hinckley, Minn., with his parents but wanted to go racing. Tim and Ann Eliason finally relented, and Nelson picked him up, letting him sit on the console of his Chevy truck half ton en route to the next race. Nelson could tell Eliason had had a bad day. Chais’ face was pink and puffy.

“You could tell that he had been crying for hours, because he wanted to go racing,” Nelson said. “He finally got what he wanted. I’ll never forget it.”


Eliason wound up pitting for Nelson for nearly 10 years. He later raced a Midwest Modified for two years but knew his future wasn’t behind the wheel.

“It is hard to make a living as a driver,” Eliason said. “You see some racers, their house is in foreclosure, they’re going bankrupt, but they’ve got a new race car every year. You think, ‘Man, those people are crazy,’ but I probably did some of the same things, spending money going to the pits every single night, whether I had it or not, but (driving’s) not what I want.”

Eliason already got the sense that if he wanted to pursue NASCAR, he’d have to bolster his resume.

“I couldn’t be an average Joe,” he said.

Eliason’s first taste of professional racing came as a senior at Proctor High School when he worked for Archer Racing Accessories in Duluth, traveling across the U.S. with the Dodge Viper race team. He later worked for Solon Springs driver Brady Smith on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Tim Eliason recalled a Proctor Journal article where Chais was “senior of the week” and that “he wanted to work in NASCAR.”

“Yeah you, and everybody else,” Tim Eliason said. “People at school probably gave him raspberries about that, but guess what? He is.”

Chais Eliason graduated with honors from Proctor in 2009 before attending Michigan Tech. It was a rude awakening. Eliason went from a 3.9 grade-point average to a 2.5 his first semester at Tech. For the first time he started second-guessing himself, wondering if he should move back home and questioning if engineering was the right career path.

“In high school I never had to study, and most of my homework was done in class,” he said. “I got to college thinking I could do the same thing. That was a wakeup call. At the end of the day, that was the best thing that ever happened to me, because if you can persevere, you can push forward.”

Eliason didn’t earn anything less than a B again and had a 4.0 his final semester. In the meantime, he landed internships with General Motors and Toyota, setting him up for a dream 15-month internship with Hendrick Motorsports that started in May 2012. He is the first Tech student to intern at Hendrick, with NASCAR usually relying on students from schools such as Virginia Tech and North Carolina-Charlotte.

“I was finally living my dream,” Eliason said. “I often had to pinch myself walking into the entrance at Hendrick Motorsports.”

Eliason received rings with the rest of the Hendrick team when Johnson won the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, as well as one for Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th Sprint Cup win. Johnson won the 2013 championship, and Hendrick flew Eliason to Las Vegas to celebrate with the team.

“I don’t know if Chais realizes just how big this is,” Nelson said. “It’s crazy. That is a lifetime dream for a lot of people.”

The Eliasons purchased a motor home so they can travel to as many NASCAR races as possible.

Tim Eliason remembers a conversation with his wife many years ago, when Chais’ NASCAR dream was taking hold. They didn’t want him to be heartbroken. Chais never heard it, or if he had, he wasn’t listening.

“Chais always had that goal in front of him, so this doesn’t surprise me,” Tim Eliason said. “He always reached for the stars. Now he is being rewarded for it. I love my job, I like what I do, but how many people can say they’re living their passion? I’d never discourage his pursuit of that.”

Eliason didn’t want to say what he is making now, only that it is a good living. He could make more money with other teams but Hendrick was his first love. He hopes his story of perseverance and determination, of dreaming big and following through with it, serves as an inspiration to others.

“You can’t put a price tag on this,” Eliason said. “At the end of the day, that’s not really what my dream was about.”

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Foreclosure Attorney To Grant Christmas Wish And Give Away Free House

christmas present housechristmas present house[Y]ou have to realize, we can only choose one, and I’m sure the winner is going to be an incredible tear-jerker. I’m thinking cancer, significant hardship, something of that ilk. If you’re not in that boat, please spare yourself the disappointment and me and my kids the read.

– Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa, in a blog post laying out the instructions for his free home giveaway, a contest that was inspired by his son. Stopa will give away a home, free and clear, to a current Florida resident between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, his current clients are ineligible for the contest due to state ethics rules.

(You may recognize Mark Stopa’s name because he’s frequently on the receiving end of benchslaps documented in these pages. When we last checked in with Stopa, he was busy whining to a judge about a firm holiday party he’d be unable to attend due to a court appearance. Prior to that, Stopa accused a judge of “physically assaulting” him.)

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Bremerton’s Ryan building avoids foreclosure sale

BREMERTON — A prominent building at Sixth Street and Pacific Avenue again appears to have narrowly avoided a foreclosure sale.

The four-story building, owned by Tim Ryan Properties LP of Poulsbo, was set to be sold in a sheriff’s sale Friday morning, according to a notice posted at the main entrance. That sale has been canceled, according to the law office representing Union Bank, which was foreclosing on the property. The reason for the cancellation was not given.

Union Bank is trying to recover money owed on a $9 million loan made by Frontier Bank to Tim Ryan Properties in 2007. The loan was passed on to Union Bank after regulators shut down Frontier in 2010.

The Sixth and Pacific building was nearly sold at a foreclosure sale in late 2012 before Union Bank pulled it off the auction block. Negotiations between Tim Ryan Properties and the bank were said to be ongoing at the time.

An agreement apparently wasn’t reached as Union Bank filed a lawsuit against the company in March 2013, still seeking satisfaction of the loan. A $10.77 million judgment was entered against Tim Ryan Properties in February, along with a decree of foreclosure on the Pacific Avenue property, according to court documents.

A sheriff’s sale was initially scheduled for Nov. 21, but later postponed to Dec. 26. An employee of the law firm Schwabe, Williamson Wyatt, representing Union Bank, confirmed Tuesday that the sale was canceled. Other parties in the case did not immediately return calls for comment.

Once considered an example of redevelopment in downtown Bremerton, the graceful, brick-fronted building struggled to attract tenants. Group Health, Edward Jones and a small tech firm were among the few to sign on.

There have been some positive developments for the building in the past year. Navy Federal Credit Union is in the process of building a branch in a street-level space. The city also completed a $4 million streetscape project on Pacific Avenue.

The building is listed for sale on the Commercial Brokers Association website for $8.75 million. The assessed value for 2015 is about $7.84 million.

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Northland Center to stay open despite foreclosure, losses

Northland Center mall in Southfield will stay open after the holidays despite its pending foreclosure, the mall’s new management said Tuesday.

The long-suffering mall has lost more than half its tenants and went into receivership this fall after after defaulting on a $31-million loan.

The 1.4-million-square-foot shopping center is now under the management of Syracuse, N.Y.-based Spinoso Real Estate Group, which took over in late September, said Pam Lightbody, a marketing manager for the firm.

In an interview Tuesday, Lightbody said there are currently no plans to close Northland and that the mall is expected to remain open in 2015.

Northland was one of the nation’s first suburban shopping centers when it opened in 1954.

The mall’s ownership could soon fall to a Bethesda, Md.-based firm called CW Capital Asset Management, which was assigned to service the now-defaulted loan and proceed with a foreclosure. CW Capital could then attempt to sell the mall at a later date.

“They would hold onto it for a couple of years, get it into good shape, and once it becomes a good property again, they would be looking to sell it,” Lightbody said, adding that Spinoso recently upgraded the mall’s lighting and Christmas decorations.

The property has been owned since late 2008 by Ashkenazy Acquisition, a New York-based company that also owns Eastland mall.

Neither Ashkenazy nor CW Capital have responded to repeated messages for comment.

The mall lurched into default this fall with a balance of $26.9 million on its $31-million securitized loan that dates to 2005 and was to mature next June, according to the Trepp commercial real estate data firm.

Ron Goldstone, senior vice president for the NAI Farbman real estate firm, said it would likely take a considerable financial investment to transform Northland into a competitive shopping destination.

“It’s tough to go to the next step when you’re carrying that amount of debt because it takes capital to go to that next step,” Goldstone said Tuesday.

All the same, Goldstone said that Northland possesses a good location just off the Lodge Freeway and could be a spot for certain national retailers such as Big Lots, Burlington Coat Factory and Simply Fashion.

“It’s existed for years as a local retailer enclosed mall where you have a mix of some national (tenants), but the lion’s share of the tenants are local retailers,” Goldstone said. “The key will be trying to get some national retailer interest.”

Contact JC Reindl: 313-222-6631 or Follow him on Twitter @JCReindl.

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Fresno’s Peach Avenue gets long-sought widening

Local News

Visalia police deliver toys to Valley Children’s Hospital

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Dish lists over 50 reasons why the Comcast-TWC merger is a terrible idea

The Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is that rare proposal that’s such a bad idea that it actually brings people of all different political beliefs together. If you look at the website for Stop Mega Comcast, for instance, you’ll see both liberal groups such as Common Cause and conservative outfits such as Glen Beck’s The Blaze are both lined up in mutual opposition to the proposed deal.

And it’s not just private citizens of different political stripes who are opposed to the deal either — Comcast rival Dish Networks is understandably against the deal as well and it’s sent a new filing to the Federal Communications Commission (PDF) in which it exhaustively lists all the ways a Comcast-TWC merger would be bad for the home broadband and pay TV markets as well as for American consumers.

There are too many grievances to list them all — Stop Mega Comcast, of which Dish is a member, has counted “at least” 53 different ones — but we’ll post some of the highlights below.

  • The merger will heighten Comcast-TWC’s ability to leverage its three choke points — the last mile, interconnection, and managed services—as well as its recently acquired online ad fulfillment service.”
  • The evidence shows Comcast-TWC has no basis for denying its heightened incentive to harm OVDs. To DISH’s showing that the merger will heighten Comcast-TWC’s anticompetitive incentive to harm OVDs, the Applicants counter principally that such conduct would make no sense because it would also hurt the Applicants themselves. […] Comcast-TWC will be able to destroy OVDs with impunity. And destroy them it will: DISH’s experience based on the business case for DISH World and DISH’s soon-to-be-launched domestic OTT service demonstrates that an OTT could still turn a profit if it were to suffer foreclosure at the hands of a standalone Comcast, but not if the effects of the foreclosure spread across both of the Applicants’ systems.”
  • The merger will eliminate both current and future competition. Although Comcast has rested its case on its emphatic and unequivocal statement that it and TWC ‘do not compete for customers, but rather offer services in separate local markets,’ and ‘do not overlap each other,’ it turns out that Comcast itself has doubts about the veracity of that statement. Comcast is apparently ‘still working with a vendor to analyze [the situation] . . . but in case it shows that there are any consumers in census blocks that may lose a broadband choice,’ the Applicants will need to ‘nuance’ their response to the Commission.”
  • The merger will facilitate collusion between cable operators. Fewer people can collude among themselves with greater ease than a larger group. The merger will thus facilitate collusion, as it will reduce by one the number of smoke-filled room participants or email correspondents that are needed to reach an agreement blanketing the entire country and harming national OVDs.”
  • The merger’s claimed benefits, if any, cannot outweigh the merger’s harms.”

You get the idea.

For good measure, Dish even trashes the way that Comcast has presented its arguments to both the FCC and the public, as it says that Comcast’s response to criticism has been “hectoring, high-handed, strident, shrill.” It also says Comcast has adopted an “arrogant tone” while displaying a “sense of entitlement” that Dish argues bodes ill for American consumers if Comcast is allowed to combine with TWC.

A PDF of the full Dish filing is available at the source link below.

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Lunches of Love program helps those in need

Sylvia Arthur found herself at a crossroads in May of 2009. With over 2.8 million homeowners hit with foreclosure nationwide that year, she was a struggling mortgage broker facing an uncertain professional future.

That’s when she made the life-changing decision to stop trying to put people in homes and start helping those without homes.

That began in Arthur’s kitchen that year when she started making daily lunches for the homeless.

“I mentioned it to a friend of mine, then a couple of other friends, so it actually started out with four of us,” Arthur said. “One would bring ham. One would bring bread and so on.

“We were on our way back from delivering one day and one lady said, ‘we should call this Lunches of Love.’ “

Nearly six years later, the Lunches of Love program has changed a bit but the mission remains the same – helping those in need.

Within a month after starting, Arthur heard from so many that wanted to help that the efforts moved from her home to Holland Park Church in Simpsonville six days a week.

The number of lunches grew from 20 a day to 40, then 50.

Monday through Friday, a different core group of four to five church members and non-members volunteer each day to help Arthur.

For years, the meals were delivered to Miracle Hill Ministries for distribution to the homeless. That changed in October, when Miracle Hill decided to go in a different direction according to Arthur.

“Mentally it was difficult for me, because I know there are people out there who still need a meal,” Arthur said. “But we have no way of getting those meals to the people that we needed to serve.”

But her work hasn’t end.

Now those sandwiches that are made each day for lunch are cut in half to make 100 after-school snacks for children that attend the Frazee Dream Center. The Center is a free preschool, morning, after school and summer program serving under resourced children ages 3-16 in Greenville.

“It’s been such a blessing for us,” said Jenny Reeves, who directs the Frazee Center along with husband Matt. “It saves me and my staff so much time.”

Reeves said that she used to prepare the snacks the night before and that Frazee relies on donations from Loaves Fishes. Reeves says everything Frazee workers take off the Loaves Fishes truck on Mondays is used throughout the week and that led to some creative work at times for snacks.

Reeves says now having a prepared, healthy snack like a half-sandwich and piece of fruit delivered to Frazee each day has been wonderful.

“We do a lot of physical fitness activities in the afternoon and work on homework, and some of our little ones haven’t eaten since 10:45 a.m.,” Reeves said. “It’s just been a neat thing for us, and for them to be able to keep serving like they were.”

In addition to the after-school snacks, Lunches of Love has also supplied some suppers for those Frazee children who may have a single parent that works evenings.

“On Fridays, they also send about 8 to 10 bag lunches to give out to some of our children that we know typically kind of fend for themselves on the weekends,” Reeves said.

Bob Davis, who’s been a member of Holland Park Church since 1994, and his wife Leah are two of those core group members who assist Arthur during the week. He said Lunches of Love’s involvement with the Frazee Center has formed relationships that go beyond the food.

“We have one guy here at church who now goes to the Frazee Center once or twice a week and just reads to the kids,” Davis said.

The Lunches of Love program has survived over the years without being on the church’s budget.

“It’s been a real adventure in faith,” Davis said. “When the bank account got low, the Lord provided some money through someone and it’s continued.”

On Saturdays, different groups from the community come to assist. Those meals now go to women recovering from drug and/or physical abuse in the Miracle Hill Renewal program.

Mauldin High’s Service Learning students, under the guidance of teacher Kelly Keeler, have helped make lunches on the first Saturday of each month for the past few years.

While Keeler’s students are only required to make one visit to make the lunches, Anna Lollis has been to two of the three so far this school year. The junior signed up for the third, but it was already full.

“It’s just a great program,” Lollis said. “Having the chance to help out the community was one of the main reasons I joined Service Learning.”

The Action Club, made up adults with special needs, is another group that comes one Saturday a month. That group is near and dear to Arthur, as her two children have special needs.

“There’s a group of about 25 to 30 and they work so hard even with their limited abilities,” Arthur said. “They do a really good job.”

The other Saturdays each month are worked by various groups, including Holland Park’s Life Group as well as various Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops over the years.

Lunches of Love workers have become like a family. In fact, Arthur and her children celebrate Thanksgiving with the Davis family each year.

Looking back on her decision in 2009, Arthur knows she made the right choice.

“For almost six years (of sending lunches to Miracle Hill), we never missed a meal.” Arthur said. “It didn’t matter what was going on with the weather, the meals were done. We did them on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the 4th of July. The only day we didn’t was on Thanksgiving.

“This is my life’s work and I don’t get paid a dime, but with hindsight I would do it all over again.”


If interested in assisting the Lunches of Love program, contact Sylvia Arthur at

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Lynn banks on SJC foreclosure decision

Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 3:00 am

Lynn banks on SJC foreclosure decision

By Thor Jourgensen / The Daily Item


LYNN — City Councilor Peter Capano said he “is definitely disappointed” by a state high court ruling against a city of Springfield foreclosure ordinance closely paralleling the local ordinance Capano drafted for Lynn.

“With all of the pieces finally together, I would hate to see it fall apart,” Capano said.

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      Tuesday, December 23, 2014 3:00 am.

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