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August 2012 Archives

Same-Sex Married Couples Face Complicated Problems With Tax Filings

There are currently more than 130,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. and that number is steadily rising as more states legalize same-sex marriage. The differences between state and federal laws mean that these couples may have a difficult time filing tax returns each year.

Ex-scientist charged with stealing trade secrets from Bridgestone

A former scientist with tire maker Bridgestone was charged recently with stealing trade secrets from the company and then lying to the FBI in his involvement in the case. The man, a native of China, is accused of copying proprietary Bridgestone information from company computers onto CDs and sharing the information with a Chinese company.

Dispute among property owners and the town is for the birds

Property owners often disagree with their neighbors regarding a host of issues from land use to noisy flagpoles and everything in between. But when the town gets involved in a dispute and sides with one party and not the other, things can get rather complicated fast. Such is the case for a Hull couple that started with neighbors complaining the couple's birdfeeder is causing a public nuisance. Now the town's officials are saying the feeder has become a hazard to the public's health.

A123 considers cash infusion from Chinese manufacturer

A123 Systems, a battery maker based in Waltham, Massachusetts, reported a second-quarter loss of $82.9 million, or 53 percent of revenue, from the second quarter of 2011. Given the company's precarious financial position, directors announced that A123 is considering a non-binding memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with a Chinese-based auto parts manufacturer, Wanxiang Group Corp. This would provide A123 with $450 million in cash if the company complies with certain provisions. While not technically a business sale, the MOU would give the Chinese company great control over A123's operations and a foothold in the business of supplying energy grids with components -- one of the largest aspects of A123's production.Memoranda of understanding, mergers, and business sales may seem confusing to those who do not deal in business law, but there are differences in the amount of control the larger company has over the smaller in each scenario. In the case of A123, the MOU would require the company to perform certain functions in keeping with the lender's standards and allow the Chinese manufacturer access to certain trade information that may currently be solely owned by A123. In return, the company may get the cash it needs to stay afloat.

Grandparents Provide Assistance to Grandchildren More Frequently Than Ever

More and more frequently, grandparents find themselves providing assistance to their grandchildren, ranging from occasional assistance to covering all of their daily costs of living. Yet, all it takes is for the parents of the grandchildren to split up, and grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren while still providing financial support.

2-year high for Mass. home sales, Worcester median price declines

Reports from the Warren Group, which tracks homes sales figures, reported late last month that single family home sales in Massachusetts hit a 2-year high statewide. Just short of 5,500 homes sold in June, up from almost 4,370 for the previous year, and year-to-date sales are up by almost 25 percent. Using a different method to track home sales, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported just under 5,425 homes sold in June, an increase from the 4,577 figure reported the previous year.

Massachusetts attorney general subpoenas Citigroup once again

Citigroup, Inc., disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing recently that the Massachusetts attorney general has issued a subpoena for materials relating to possible interest-fixing practices that may have affected Massachusetts businesses and agencies. This subpoena follows an earlier one issued in June by the attorney general. Citigroup claims to be cooperating in every way in turning over the requested records and information.The subpoenas are a result of the ongoing civil business litigation case and investigation into allegations that Citigroup manipulated information to the advantage of certain groups to allow them to borrow money or invest at better rates than those offered to others. These fund groups allegedly sold to customers with high levels of income as an alternative to fixed-rate funds. The attorney general is concerned that both private investors and state agencies may have suffered due to interest rate manipulation.

Steps to Take to Prepare For Financial Stability Before You Divorce

Divorce can be expensive, especially if you have property and children, and your spouse does not agree to settle things amicably. Even if you do come to an agreement, you should always retain an attorney to look over the settlement agreement to ensure that your rights are protected within the terms of the settlement agreement.

Real estate, credit scores and divorce

In today's challenging residential real estate markets in Massachusetts and around the country, many people considering a divorce may not know where to turn when it comes to dealing with their residential property during or after a divorce. Questions arise as to what the divorce will do to your individual credit scores and how you should handle the mortgage if one spouse wants to keep the house, but cannot qualify for the mortgage on his or her own.

Equality in Marriage Continues to be an Issue in Massachusetts

A recent appeals court decision struck down parts of a federal law that says marriage is only between a man and a woman. The issue is before the court again, and the Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has requested that the U.S. Supreme Court uphold that court decision. If the Supreme Court takes the case, it would be the first gay marriage case heard by the highest court in the United States.

New hotel finds Boston space thanks to eminent domain

Experienced real estate developers know that the purchase of commercial real estate for construction projects can be difficult once owners realize there is interest in their property. The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority discovered this recently as it ventured into the Boston real estate market. The success of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in the Seaport District has suffered, according to the convention authority, from a lack of hotel accommodations in the area. Seeking to remedy this situation, the convention authority has been trying to acquire land for construction of a hotel near the convention center.

Abington neighbors in dispute over landscaping, land use

Two neighbors in Abington, Massachusetts, disagree on whether the landscaping and tree removal of one neighbor involves protected wetlands, or not. Now, the Department of Environmental Protection is looking into the matter to determine if the removal of trees and other landscaping upgrades on the land are in violation of the law. Neighbors abutting the property where the changes are being made filed a complaint with Abington's Conservation Commission claiming the neighbor's land is protected wetlands.

Health club chain 24 Hour Fitness for sale

Forstmann Little is a private equity firm that owns the fitness club chain, 24 Hour Fitness, having originally acquired the health club chain seven years ago for $1.6 billion. Though there are no locations in Massachusetts, 24 Hour Fitness is currently the largest privately held chain of fitness centers, consisting of approximately 425 locations throughout the world.

National group helping Worcester families prevent foreclosure

As many Worcester families already know, the foreclosure crisis has hit our area particularly hard. Now a national group called the Neighborhoods Assistance Corporation of America is trying to bring a little relief to the Worcester area by working with local residents to pair them with banks to find a solution to their mortgage issues. Having face to face contact with a lender can make all the difference, said the director of communications for NACA. Having the decision maker right there in front of the homeowner really opens up the communications and makes the lender see the person behind the numbers in the file.

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