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Talk of the Bay: Now for some unsurprising housing news

Foreclosure lawsuits are way up in Hillsborough County these days. No surprise given all the dreary news we're hearing lately on the housing front.

By Times Staff
Published January 6, 2008


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Now for some unsurprising housing news

Foreclosure lawsuits are way up in Hillsborough County these days. No surprise given all the dreary news we're hearing lately on the housing front. But what's astounding about the statistics collected by a Mount Pleasant, Pa., company is how fast such suits are growing. Mortgage lenders sued just 289 Hillsborough households for nonpayment in December 2006, according to Default Research Inc. Last month, the total rose to 1,030. One small consolation: We won't have to wallow in similar data for Pinellas, Pasco or Hernando. Why? Default Research doesn't track those counties.

Pacific Sunwear's demo wipes out

The hip-hop look, it appears, proved just too much of a stretch for the makers of surfer duds. So, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. on Friday said it will close its 154 remaining demo stores that specialize in club wear and urban fashion. That includes outlets in Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg and University Mall in Tampa. The Anaheim, Calif., apparel manufacturer and retailer, which two months ago took a $48-million hit against third-quarter earnings because losses at demo will take up to $50-million in pretax charges to close the remaining stores. Gordon Brothers of Boston will run the liquidation sale, which winds down with the last few stores closing in May.

Let's talk over a cheeseburger

Gov. Charlie Crist's gaming deal with the Seminole Indians has attracted the ire of House Speaker Marco Rubio and Attorney General Bill McCollum. Now it's sparked the interest of entertainer Jimmy Buffett, above. According to a story on the Florida Capital News Web site, the lobbyist for Buffett's restaurant, food and clothing enterprises recently e-mailed Crist's chief of staff. "Do you have 15 minutes in the next two weeks to chat about the gaming issue?" lobbyist Jeff Sharkey wrote to George LeMieux. "Let's see what we can work out," LeMieux responded. The compact that Crist signed would allow Vegas-style slot machines, blackjack and baccarat at seven Seminole casinos, including its Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, in exchange for Florida's getting a percentage of the revenue. Sharkey said Buffett has no plans to build a casino in Florida. But Buffett is definitely familiar with the casino-building business: In May, Harrah's Entertainment announced it would partner with Buffett to build a $700-million Margaritaville Casino & Resort in Biloxi, Miss.

[Last modified January 4, 2008, 21:04:00]


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