Fannie, Freddie sued for unpaid Ohio taxes

Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 6:38 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 6:38 PM

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck, Jr. has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of 87 Ohio counties against the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) to recover millions of dollars in unpaid property transfer taxes.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in United States District Court in the Southern District of Ohio Western Division. Summit County has filed its own suit. Transfer taxes are monies owed to a county when a new deed is recorded.

The lawsuit states Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac wrongfully claimed exemptions from the payment of transfer taxes in Ohio. According to the lawsuit, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac should have paid transfer taxes on both deed transfers to them from banks that foreclosed on homes and on deed transfers from Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac to new homeowners..

“Montgomery County and its homeowners have faced innumerable economic difficulties during the housing crisis,” Heck said. “Depriving the county of funds necessary to support essential services by illegally claiming tax exemptions that clearly do not apply, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have added to our citizens’ troubles.”

Between 2002 and 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac claimed to be exempt as “government instrumentalities” and for an unspecified period, they also claimed other inapplicable exemptions, according to the lawsuit.

A 2008 memorandum from the Ohio Department of Taxation warned counties that transfers involving Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac should be scrutinized to make sure the exemption identified provided a valid reason for the non-payment of conveyance tax.

Elaine Johnson, director of real estate for the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office, said the county began charging Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac the conveyance fee after receiving the state memorandum.

Between 2001 and 2012, more than 1,600 Montgomery County deeds were transferred to or from Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, according to the Auditor’s Office. Auditor Karl Keith is working with Heck to determine the amount of unpaid property transfer taxes the institutions may owe.

Greene County Auditor David Graham said the county has required Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac to pay the transfer tax during his 1.5 years in office.

“We did not exempt them from the conveyance tax. We would never accept it,” Graham said. “They have filed several letters protesting.”

Graham said now he plans to research prior years.

Sacramento Kings to accept Bitcoin for purchases

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014 @ 4:27 PM
Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2014 @ 4:27 PM

            Getty Images
(Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings are set to become the first major professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin virtual currency for ticket and merchandise purchases.

The Kings announced Thursday that fans will be able to buy gear from the official team store and pay for tickets with the digital money beginning March 1. Purchases will be processed through BitPay, which accepts the digital dollars and pays the Kings in cash.

Bitcoin users buy digital money and load it onto a virtual wallet. Unlike government-issued money, the value of Bitcoin fluctuates rapidly. At one point Thursday, the value of one Bitcoin was worth nearly $850.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said the new payment method is part of his model for "NBA 3.0, which focuses on investments in technology, globalization and deep community partnerships."

AAA is having a career fair

Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013 @ 1:11 PM
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 @ 1:11 PM

AAA is having a career fair on Friday, September 27th from 8 am to 4 pm at the Embassy Suites located at 4554 Lake Forest Drive in Blue Ash.  The organization has more than a dozen insurance agent positions available in Cincinnati and Dayton.  Ideal candidates will be highly motivated, great team players who are able to communicate effectively.  AAA offers a full benefits package including a 401k plan with match, medical, dental, STD/LTD and Life insurance, a AAA membership and more. 

Applicants should bring their resume, a professional attitude and be prepared for immediate interview opportunities.  For more information on the AAA Career Fair or employment with AAA, visit

Dayton among cities with wildest swing in gas prices

Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 @ 1:31 PM
Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 @ 1:31 PM

            Kyle French, a UD student from Springfield, Ill., pumps gas on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, at a station in Dayton. CHRIS STEWART/STAFF
Kyle French, a UD student from Springfield, Ill., pumps gas on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, at a station in Dayton. CHRIS STEWART/STAFF

Listed among the nation’s top cities for the worst gas price volatility is the City of Dayton.

“The steep price hikes recorded in more than 25 cities in the Midwest dwarf the increases seen in the rest of the country,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “And nowhere is it worse than Ft. Wayne, Indiana. So far this year, Fort Wayne has recorded the highest single day average price hike -34 cents per gallon— among its three highest daily changes.

DeHaan said it is followed by Indianapolis (.32), Dayton (.31), Columbus (.30) and Toledo (.2)8.

DeHann said the figures represent the average of the three highest single-day price spikes and “Midwesterners have seen 30+ cent increases often enough to know they’re not a statistical anomaly.”

GasBuddy examined frequency of price changes and found the Midwest and West Coast regions led the way with the number of days that prices changed a penny or more per gallon.

“When we look at the number of days with average price decreases of more than a penny, we see the Midwestern cities more than doubling every other region in the country,” DeHaan said. “It’s the downside of that roller coaster ride that consumers easily forget. We complain about the higher highs, but we’re quiet when we benefit from the lower lows.”

After 50 years, TV repair business moving locations

Published: Monday, August 19, 2013 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Monday, August 19, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

In an ever-changing business, Advance TV & Electronics hasn’t been receptive to change.

The business has been in the same brick building at 1517 Germantown Road since 1961. There’s always been a man named Moore behind the counter: Tom Moore, followed by his son, Steve Moore, and now his grandson, Brandon Moore.

But now, wanting to reduce overhead, especially as the TV repair business is shrinking because electronics sometimes cost more to repair than purchase, the Moores are moving their business out of Middletown and into their homes and pole barn in Springboro.

They have moved most of their equipment — the backroom shelves are empty — and hope to be out of the building by the end of the month.

“There comes a time,” said Tom Moore, 75, the first color TV repairman in the city. “We said, ‘That’s it for here.’ ”

Still, they will continue to serve Middletown customers, and those from surrounding areas, just as they have for more than 50 years. They specialize in service on all major brands of plasma, LCD/DLP and projection TVs.

Most of their customers are located along I-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati, though their base goes into Indiana and Preble County, they said. They handle the warranty work for several of the major electronic companies and repair all the TVs in the hospital rooms at Atrium Medical Center.

There was a time, Tom Moore said, when the city supported 15 TV repair businesses, several of them located on Central Avenue. Eventually, it was Moore, Ross Dalton and Bob Fox, the owners of two competitors, whom Moore called the “Three Musketeers.” Dalton and Fox have died and now it’s just Moore, his son and grandsons.

Tom Moore said the repair business has changed drastically, especially since the Internet. He said customers can order bulbs for their TVs off the Internet cheaper than he can buy them wholesale, and with the proliferation of “how to” Web sites, “everyone thinks they’re a repairman,” he said.

Moore said twice within the last year, and the only times in more than 50 years, thieves threw bricks through the front door and stole flat-screen TVs.

Moore’s first TV repair job was at RCA Factory Service Co. in Dayton in 1958. He received special training on how to repair this new invention called the color TV. In 1961, Moore and five other technicians were laid off. He worked for Beatty’s Electronics until April 1961. Then he joined the staff at Advance TV. He became sole owner in 1972.

In 1990, he hired his son, Steve, to handle in-home projection TV repairs, and now Brandon, 19, a 2013 Dayton Christian graduate, completes the three-generation, family-owned business. Brandon specializes in home security systems.

Brandon said he’s always been interested in electronics. He remembers one time, as a young boy, that he thought he had repaired a small TV. Everything was fine until his father banged the TV and it started smoking.

“I was so mad,” he said.

But he never gave up. “I grew up with this stuff,” he said.

Steve Moore said he feels “blessed” to work with his father and son.

“It was worked out great,” he said.