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Tommy Shaw Interview: Styx Blasts Off to Mars on “The Mission”

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Singer, songwriter and guitarist Tommy Shaw was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on September 11, 1953. He is best known for his work with the rock band Styx (since December 1975), but has played with other groups including Damn Yankees, Shaw Blades, MS Funk and Montgomery-based band Harvest. Styx has had 16 top 40 singles in the US and 4 consecutive albums were certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Hits include “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” and “Show Me the Way.” Rounding out the Styx lineup are James “JY” Young (vocalist and guitarist), Lawrence Gowan (vocals and keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass) along with the occasional appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo.

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Planned RMV site faces foreclosure

DANVERS — The proposed site of a Registry of Motor Vehicles office is scheduled to be sold in a foreclosure auction, casting doubt on when, or if, the registry will actually end up there.

Danvers Crossing, a 24-acre shopping plaza on Route 1 south in Danvers, is set to be auctioned off Thursday morning. The plaza includes a stand-alone former restaurant building that the state had selected as the future site of an RMV office.

It is unclear what the foreclosure means for those plans. Registry officials couldn’t provide more details Wednesday.

Danvers state Rep. Ted Speliotis said he and other local officials have asked for a meeting with Registrar Erin Deveney, but at this point he doesn’t know how a sale would affect the state’s plans.

“We deserve an explanation,” Speliotis said.

Cape Ann and the North Shore has not had a local RMV site since the state closed the registry at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers in June 2016. The closing forced vehicle owners and auto dealerships to use registries in Haverhill, Revere and Wilmington. Register customers on Cape Ann have had the option to receive aid with online transactions only from trained personnel at the Rose Baker Senior Center in Gloucester.

The state selected Danvers Crossing in March as the preferred new registry site from among six bidders and was in the middle of lease negotiations when the property was foreclosed upon.

Danvers Crossing is owned by WP Realty, a commercial real estate company in Pennsylvania that owns nine shopping plazas in seven states in the Northeast. According to a legal notice, the company, through its affiliate DanCross Associates Limited Partnership, is in breach of its mortgage. A public auction is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. at the shopping plaza, at 8 Newbury St.

WP Realty CEO Bryan Weingarten could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at the company’s office said the company does not comment on news stories.

Weingarten, the company founder, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2014 for filing false tax returns and paid $2.4 million in restitution to the IRS, according to news stories.

Businesses at Danvers Crossing are Chili’s, Ann Hope Curtain Bath Outlet, Big Lots, Planet Fitness, David’s Bridal, Monkey Joe’s, Dollar Tree, Leslie’s Pool Supplies, and After Hours Formalwear.

It is uncertain how a foreclosure sale would affect the businesses that call the Crossing home. Employees at several of the businesses contacted by the Times’ sister paper, The Salem News, said they will remain open; others were unaware of the auction.

The plaza property consists of four buildings and 926 parking spaces, according to Paul Saperstein Co., the company that will handle the auction.

The property is valued at $17.6 million, according to town of Danvers records, and generates about $385,000 in property taxes for the town.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or

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Foreclosure auction features historic property

By Jeffery Smith

BATH – The first nightclub to open in Steuben County, Club Valentine, is just one of about 125 properties expected to be up for sale at this summer’s Steuben County property tax foreclosure auction.

Pat Donnelly, Steuben County finance commissioner, said the auction will be held 10 a.m. July 14, at the Campbell-Savona High School, at 8455 County Route 125, Campbell.

“It’s larger than usual. I don’t attribute that to anything in particular,” Donnelly said. “It tends to go up and down, it ebb and flows, due to the complexity of the properties.”

Pirrung Auctioneers Inc. and Thomas Wamp, licensed real estate agent, will again run the auction.

Donnelly said the foreclosure auction consists primarily of residential homes, vacant lots, a few trailers and one commercial property, Club Valentine, which first opened for business in November of 1945.

Properties being sold by Steuben County are behind on property taxes for two or more years, or had reached a payment plan with the county and then defaulted on it.

Donnelly said property tax foreclosure auction sites can be found at or a book can be purchased for $10 at the Steuben County Office Building.

Last year’s property tax foreclosure auction raised just over $752,000 million to help pay taxes owed by the about 75 properties, Donnelly said.

Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler said the funds raised at the property tax foreclosure auction will to help pay taxes owed by the about 125 properties.

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A Nigerian Oil Investor Owns New York’s Biggest-Ever Foreclosure

The owner of a $50.9 million Manhattan condo that is scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction next month is Kolawole “Kola” Aluko, a Nigerian businessman accused in court filings of defrauding that country’s government.

Nigerian officials have attempted to freeze Aluko’s assets, including a full-floor penthouse at Midtown’s One57 skyscraper, as part of a wider investigation. Aluko and others are accused of pocketing $1.8 billion meant for government coffers and spending it on luxury goods around the globe, court filings in that country show.

Foreclosure proceedings were started in January on Aluko’s apartment on the 79th story of One57, which would be the costliest ever residential seizure in New York City. The 6,240-square-foot (580-square-meter) condo was bought in 2014 by a shell company listed in New York City public records as One57 79 Inc., whose sole shareholder is Earnshaw Associates Ltd. Earnshaw was set up by Aluko in the British Virgin Islands, according to the Panama Papers, a trove of documents leaked in 2016 to expose offshore tax evasion, which cite him as a shareholder and beneficiary.

In September 2015, Earnshaw took out a $35.3 million mortgage from lender Banque Havilland SA, based in Luxembourg, according to New York City public records. The full payment of the loan was due one year later, foreclosure filings in New York State Supreme Court show. The borrower failed to repay, and now Banque Havilland is forcing a sale to recoup the funds, plus interest.

Michael Lubben, a New York attorney who, according to court records, represents the mortgage borrower, didn’t return a call seeking comment. Andrew Messite, a lawyer representing Banque Havilland, also didn’t return a call. An email to Tokunbo Jaiye-Agoro, who has represented Aluko in the Nigerian court case, and calls and emails to his law firm, Jaiye Agoro Co., weren’t returned. The New York Post on Monday night identified Aluko as the condo’s owner.

Billionaires’ Row

An auction is scheduled for July 19. It’s the second time in about a month that a lender filed to seize property at One57 after a mortgage default. The tower, on a Midtown strip known as Billionaires’ Row for its sky-high condo prices, still holds the record for the most-expensive residential sale in New York, at $100.5 million.

Nigeria’s Federal High Court last year issued a worldwide freeze on assets tied to Aluko, including luxury homes in New York, Los Angeles and London, three private jets, 58 cars and a yacht named the Galactica Star, the court filings show. Aluko received oil-extraction contracts from the Nigerian government, and failed to share a portion of the oil-sale proceeds, as he was required to do, according to the filings.

For Banque Havilland, the money it lent Aluko for his One57 apartment accounted for the equivalent of more than 6 percent of its loan portfolio at the end of 2015. In its annual report that year, the bank said its loans totaled 388.9 million euros. The mortgage on the One57 unit was for as much as 25 million euros, according to New York City public records.

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Maxine Strane stopped a bulldozer to save Rains House

Relatives of Maxine Strane gather for pictures and food during Saturday’s memorial on the lawn of Rains House in Rancho Cucamonga. (Photo by James Carbone for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The story of Rains House, built more than 150 years ago, might be a microcosm of Rancho Cucamonga history: winemaking, grand living, tragedy and foreclosure.

Its equal in drama might have been the day nearly 50 years ago when a woman stopped a bulldozer from demolishing the house, the city’s oldest. The end result was that Rains House was saved, restored and turned into a museum.

A memorial took place Saturday for that woman, Maxine Strane, who died last Christmas Day at age 88. Fittingly, the gathering was at Rains House.

“She said if we had a memorial event for her, she wanted it at the Rains House,” a daughter, Lisa Marlow, told me. In fact, Strane herself had phoned the San Bernardino County Museum, which owns the home, to ask permission for her own memorial “15 or 20 years ago,” Marlow said.

When she phoned herself after her mother’s death to confirm the permission, “they said yes, they still had a note on it” in the file, Marlow said.

The long-range planning is charming, and also at odds with Strane’s impetuous action one day in 1970.

Strane, a lover of history, would walk her Cucamonga Junior High students a few blocks to the derelict Rains House as a field trip to show them where it all began. On the day in question, a bulldozer was knocking down a wall. The house was to be leveled and the property turned into a mobile home park.

That would have been an ignominious fate for the home, built in 1860 by John Rains.

Rains had bought the 13,000-acre Rancho Cucamonga, back when that was the name of the former Spanish land-grant holding rather than a city. He and his young bride, Maria Merced, built an elaborate home of fired brick made from clay dug from Red Hill. Five brick makers in Los Angeles were brought to the rancho, where they made close to 300,000 bricks by hand.

“The finished house was a marvel. It was U-shaped, with a round brick fountain in the patio. … The rooms had 12-foot-high ceilings, wide plank floors, fireplaces and large windows to let in the light,” Frances Dinkelspiel wrote in her 2015 history of California winemaking, “Tangled Vines.”

Rains was murdered in an ambush in 1862 while on his way to L.A. No killer was ever identified or brought to justice. Merced was persuaded that she was too young to manage the rancho. Her brother-in-law ran up so much debt that even when Merced regained control, she lost the property to foreclosure.

By 1970, Rains House was abandoned and in disrepair, with windows broken, half the roof gone, graffiti on the walls and empty bottles littering the weedy yard. “It was a place for the bad kids to hang out,” a son, Rion Strane, recalled wryly.

Maxine Strane “charged over in hopes of stopping the demolition,” my colleague Joe Blackstock wrote in a 2011 column about the incident. The driver was sympathetic. Accounts differ in spots, but apparently Strane left the students in the care of a second teacher who was part of the field trip while she raced back to school to phone the developer to halt the demolition.

Remarkably, he too agreed. That was only a reprieve, but students wrote letters to influential people, getting the county’s interest, and then spent three Saturdays cleaning the house for a visit by the county museum commission, during which 250 students respectfully held placards calling for the house to be saved.

“It was amazing to feel you had some power in junior high,” recalled Deena Capparelli, who took part in that protest and who was at the memorial. “She was able to invest all of us in her passion.”

The county bought the property in 1971, the Casa de Rancho Cucamonga Historical Society was formed in 1972 to restore, maintain and furnish it and in 1973 Rains House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Strane was among the core of volunteers who spent years raising money for repairs, cleaning the house, making the interior presentable and finding period furnishings.

As we toured the kitchen, Marlow remarked that a shelf of jars came from her mother’s personal collection, and said of two chairs: “I watched her refinish them.”

Saturday’s event was informal, with no program. Out on the expansive lawn, friends, three generations of Strane family and former students ate and talked. A councilman, Bill Alexander, presented a proclamation.

The event had been on my calendar for weeks. Although I met Strane and her late husband, Ralph, only briefly, her stand on behalf of Rancho Cucamonga’s most important home deserves our obeisance.

Maxine and Ralph, a drama and speech teacher at Chaffey College, traveled the world. They lived in a 1908 kit house on Archibald Avenue across from the library until moving in with Marlow in Paso Robles nine years ago. Ralph died in 2013 at 88. The Stranes had five children, all of whom were present Saturday.

What gave Maxine — whom Marlow said “never raised her voice, never said an unkind word” — the grit to intercede on behalf of Rains House?

Her sense that history is important, her daughter said.

“She could be strong,” Marlow said, then added with a chuckle, “But in a very ladylike way.” Her mother’s sweet manner, she said, probably disarmed people into helping her.

Eleanor Miller said she remains impressed by Strane, who taught her son, Clint, and by the house’s continued existence and upkeep.

“I’m so glad she saved Rains House,” Miller, who moved here in 1963, told me out on the lawn. “One woman against society, you might say. To say, ‘Stop this bulldozer!’ If it hadn’t been for her …”

Thanks to Maxine Strane, the thought did not need to be completed.

David Allen writes Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, incompletely. Contact or 909-483-9339, visit, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.

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The pros and cons of buying a house in foreclosure | The Seattle …

When a homeowner can’t make mortgage-loan payments and the lender repossesses the property, the home becomes foreclosed and is typically available for sale soon after.

Many benefits can come with buying a foreclosed property, but if you’re not knowledgeable about the process, there are pitfalls you need to consider. Before you purchase a foreclosed home, review the pros and cons to avoid ugly surprises.

Before you buy a foreclosed property, consider hiring a real-estate agent. Having someone who’s looking out for your best interests might save you a big headache.

Don’t confuse a foreclosed home with a real estate owned (REO) property. An REO describes a class of property that a lender — typically a bank, government agency or government loan insurer — owns after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction.

First steps

There are four first steps to take if you’re thinking about buying a foreclosed home, according to Zillow:

• Determine what foreclosure properties are available in the areas you want to live in by reviewing listings in your local newspaper or on bank websites, accessing public records, or conducting an online search.

• Check out the properties you’re considering in person so you can see their condition and neighborhood.

• Verify that the house is still in foreclosure. Contact the trustee who filed the paperwork to initiate the foreclosure or a local foreclosure specialist for this information.

• Order a title search to see if there are any liens on the property. If there are, it could raise the price.

The pros

Aspects of buying a bank-owned property are similar to buying from a homeowner, but there are opportunities to negotiate a better deal on a foreclosed property than you might otherwise get. Pros of buying a foreclosed home include:

• You can use traditional financing like VA and FHA loans.

• A home in the pre-foreclosure stage could lead to a short sale.

• If you have the required funds available to pay the outstanding balance on a foreclosed property’s mortgage to the lender, you’ll likely reduce competition.

• The bank will be motivated to sell the property, which means you might be able to negotiate price, down payment, closing costs and escrow length.

• The home’s title will be clear, so you won’t be taking on any liens, mortgages or back-tax responsibility from the previous owner.

• If repairs are necessary, the owner might take care of them.

The cons

Although buying a foreclosed home might seem like a great deal, it can have drawbacks. Cons of buying a foreclosed home include:

• The occupant might still be in the house and will need to move out. He might be upset about losing the property and damage it.

• If you purchase a house at a foreclosure auction, you buy it as is.

• When a foreclosed property is auctioned off, you have to pay for it in full when you buy it.

If you decide to purchase a foreclosed home, it might end up costing you more in repairs than you planned on, which could be a bad financial move. You might get a foreclosed home at a great price, however, and speed your path to homeownership.

If you’re considering buying a foreclosed home, enlist the help of a qualified real-estate agent and your mortgage lender or broker if you’re using one. That way, you can get their expert insights and opinion on whether you’re getting a good buy.

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New York City’s ‘Billionaire’s Row’ is dead — and a record-breaking foreclosure could be the ‘nail in the coffin’

A full-floor penthouse in the landmark One57 condo building is headed to the auction block after it was seized under foreclosure, Bloomberg reported.

This is most likely the largest foreclosure in the history of high-end real estate in New York City, experts say.

“I don’t know of a foreclosure that’s larger than that,” Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Realty, told Bloomberg.

The apartment, which was the eighth-priciest sold in the building, will go to auction on July 19.

It was purchased for $50.9 million in 2014, with a $35.3 million mortgage loan from Banque Havilland. It was due to be paid in full a year after purchase, but no such payment was made by the shell company the unit was registered under. Havilland is now forcing the auction to recoup the funds it’s missing, plus interest, according to court filings.

One57 is emblematic of New York City’s Billionaire’s Row, a stretch of 57th Street near Central Park, which in recent years has become a magnet for new condos courting high-priced investment. One57 is considered the most expensive of the new buildings, with record-breaking sales that included a $100.5 million top-floor penthouse.

RELATED: See photos of NYC’s “Frankenmansions”

A $19.75 million pair of townhouses is currently on the market.

The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, an NYC-based convent of nuns, acquired the townhome on the right in 1948. Four years later, the group bought the one next door and connected them via a doorway on each floor.

Throughout the years, the order has rented some of the complex’s 25 bedrooms to other congregations or young women in need. But the Frankenmansion may soon find a new owner — the 15,600-square-foot space went on the market for $19.75 million in 2016, according to the New York Times.

(Google Street View)

Napster co-founder Sean Parker paid $58.5 million for his mega-mansion.

Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook, owns the three brownstones pictured above. Each building originally contained four apartment units, a grand stairwell, and a rear garden. The interior spaces feature arched doorways and original 19th century fireplaces with marble mantles.

Parker purchased the first building for $20 million in 2010, the second for $16.5 million in May 2016, and the third for a reported $22 million in August 2016. He completed the renovation to connect all three in late 2016. 

(Google Street View)

Once a factory and showroom, this set of buildings will soon be one Frankenmansion.

Billionaire Jon Stryker is the rumored owner of the three brick buildings above, which NYC-based architecture firm Steven Harris Architects is working to turn into one residence. Curbed reported that Styker was probably the buyer of the $32 million set in 2012. The renovation project is still undergoing an approval process from the city. 

In their former lives, the buildings were an ice cream factory, a Steinway piano showroom, and a garage. If the plans go through, the property’s facade will stretch 41 feet from end to end.

(Google Street View)

Musician Michael Feinstein has a $17.9 million brownstone duo.

Feinstein bought the townhome on the left for $3 million in 2004, according to The New York Times. A year later, the one next door went up for sale for $3.825 million, and Feinstein purchased, gutted, and renovated it to connect the two.

The finished product features 18 rooms, twin staircases, seven bathrooms, two bathrooms, eight fireplaces, a 25-foot-wide backyard, and two pagodas, which serve as outdoor living and dining areas. He put the mansion on the market for $17.9 million in 2013, but later decided to keep it.

(Google Street View)

Madonna’s $32 million Frankenmansion has 13 bedrooms.

In 2009, Madonna bought three connected townhouses on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The $32 million mansion features 13 bedrooms, a dance studio, multiple dining rooms, a 3,000-square-foot garden, two garages, an elevator, and a private gym, according to Curbed.

(Google Street View)

Up Next

See Gallery

This is the second apartment in the building to face foreclosure in the last two months. A unit on the 56th floor, which sold for $21.4 million in July 2015, hit the auction block on June 14. It’s unclear if the property has changed hands yet.

The foreclosures come as another sign that Billionaire’s Row is dead as the Manhattan real estate market above $10 million continues to cool.

A glut of units available with no buyers, combined withan increase of scrutiny on shadowy, identity-hiding corporations by the US Treasury Department, cooled the market considerably last year. With new regulations on capital outflow abroad (especially in China), it’s becoming harder for foreign investors to use these apartments as investment properties. Pair that with an uncertain global market, and it’s clear why the developers of these unique buildings are feeling the pinch.

On Billionaire’s Row, “it’s not just slow — it’s come to a complete halt,” Dolly Lenz, a real-estate broker catering to super-rich individuals, told the New York Times last year.

NOW WATCH: Learning to celebrate failure at a young age led to this billionaire’s success

See Also:

SEE ALSO: The Obamas just shelled out $8.1 million for the DC mansion they’ve been renting since leaving the White House

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One57 | Extell Development – The Real Deal

One57 and Kolawole “Kola” Aluko (Credit: Getty Images)

It looks like a controversial Nigerian energy magnate is the owner of the 79th floor penthouse at One57 — what looks like the biggest residential foreclosure in city history.

Kolawole “Kola” Aluko, executive director of Atlantic Energy, hasn’t been keeping up with payments on the $50.9 million condo and Luxembourg-based Banque Havilland is pushing for sale of the unit next month, the New York Post reported. The bank issued a $35.3 million mortgage on the 6,240-square-foot unit, which was due last fall. Aluko also hasn’t been paying maintenance fees and taxes on the property.

The bank has Aluko’s yacht, dubbed the Galactica Star, listed as collateral. Aluko rented the yacht to Jay-Z and Beyoncé in 2015 for $900,000 a week. The yacht was last registered in the Bahamas in May but is currently listed as “out of range.” The Post speculates that Aluko might be hiding out on the boat. Aluko is also reportedly at the center of a fraud and money laundering probe in Nigeria.

In February, One57 developer Gary Barnett did not appear to be worried about the possibility Aluko’s apartment was used to launder funds. “All this stuff that’s transportable, like art that you can put on a plane and sell anywhere, is what law enforcement doesn’t want [them to buy],” he told the Post. “The yacht’s movable, but he can’t move his condo.”

Foreclosures are relatively unusual in the world of uber luxury residential properties, but this was the second revealed at Extell Development’s tower. In May, news surfaced of the supertall’s first foreclosure: A four-bedroom unit believed to be owned by a Middle Eastern business woman. [NYP] —  Kathryn Brenzel 

Correction: A prior version of this article incorrectly stated the status of the unit; it is in foreclosure.

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Self-insurance costs hit city


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BATAVIA — Budgeting is a game of assumptions and projections.

In five cases, the City of Batavia’s estimates were off the mark, but they will be rectified by Council actions next month, City Manager Jason Molino explained at Monday’s conference meeting.

The largest is the city’s self-insurance health care account, which is carrying a $555,550 increase across the general, water and sewer funds that has been closed out, Molino told councilmembers.

“It’s from one health care claim, predominantly,” Molino said afterward. “The city has managed it over a 12 to 14 month period.”

The case resulted in a $132,722 cost to the city once stop-loss payments and health care premium increases were factored in. It will be paid out of a health care reserve that will now have just over $300,000 to cover other extraordinary cases.

“We haven’t had one in 15, 18 years,” Molino said. “We created this reserve for this purpose.”

The city has used self-insurance to avoid fully insured products that Molino estimated would cost “20 to 30 percent” of what Batavia currently pays.

“We constantly review the plan and our options,” Molino said. “This is still the preferred option for us.”

The newest charge is unrelated to the $100,000 increase in self-insurance costs in the 2017-18 budget for the worker’s compensation brought in-house last year.

Also set to be amended at the July 5 business meeting :

Property losses increased $262,770.35 specific to the foreclosure and later transfer of the former Della Penna property, now being redeveloped as Ellicott Station. It was taken in as an asset in the previous year’s budget and is now considered a loss.

Litigation surrounding the mall concourse, which remains unresolved as of Monday — Councilmembers were called into executive session to discuss the issues between the city and Mall Merchants Association — led to a $37,556.11 increase in legal fees against the budgeted level.

The city underestimated tax foreclosure expenses by $37,405.59, the result of Batavia taking in several properties through tax foreclosure and having to pay school taxes on each.

Assessment professional fees rose $5,750.35 following two now-resolved property assessment challenges that required preliminary appraisals to be completed.

The changes also include $75,741.31 in contingency funds from 2016-17 that will be used to cover general fund budget amendment costs, leaving the city with $127,918 in general contingency funding. Molino said the city general budgets $250,000 in contingency accounts, but went to $125,000 this year.

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