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Talk of the bay: Bank suits build for homes that didn't get built

By Times staff
Published June 15, 2007


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Accusing Coast Bank of being "the architect of a fraudulent scheme, " a Sarasota lawyer has filed the first of 50 lawsuits against the bank on behalf of customers of St. Petersburg builder Construction Compliance Inc. CCI and Coast arranged a program to sell and finance no-money-down investment homes in the North Port community. As the market slumped last year, CCI stopped work on 482 homes, leaving buyers with debts totaling millions of dollars. Sarasota attorney Alan Tannenbaum plans 75 more lawsuits against Coast and is asking the court to cancel the Coast mortgages and award additional damages and attorney fees to the borrowers.

OSI's off the board; Sullivan's off hook
OSI Restaurant Partners retired its ticker symbol Thursday. The Tampa company that spawned Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill and other respected chains announced that its $3.2-billion buyout by a private group had been completed. For chairman and co-founder Chris Sullivan, who locked horns with Wall Street analysts, shareholders and reporters during OSI's 16 years as a publicly traded entity, it was a Nixonian moment: You won't have him to kick around anymore. Sullivan's new boss is Bain Capital Partners, a private-equity fund founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Where could Sullivan serve in a Romney administration? Secretary of Agriculture might be a good fit.

Insurance boss: No gap left to fill
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has asked Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill that allows out-of-state businesses to offer supplemental Medicare insurance, or Medigap, policies to their retirees living in Florida through unregulated insurance companies. Passed by the Legislature in April, the bill would let companies that have at least 50 employees sell Medicare supplement policies issued outside of Florida that cover Florida residents to be exempt from state regulation. McCarty argued that Florida already has 90 active companies that are regulated and licensed to sell Medigap policies.

[Last modified June 14, 2007, 23:14:55]


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