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Week in review – 2/10/12: Exelon picks Harbor Point

Exelon picks Harbor Point

Exelon Corp. will build its $120 million, 300,000-square-foot Baltimore headquarters at Harbor Point, part of a $250 million development that it expects will attract about 4,500 permanent jobs, company officials said. The Baltimore Development Corp. is seeking to speed consideration of a 27-acre tax increment financing district there that had been approved a year ago. A new roadway and bridge over Central Avenue have been proposed, increasing the cost of the project.

Foreclosure settlement

Maryland stands to receive about $960 million in benefits under a multibillion-dollar nationwide settlement with the five largest mortgage lenders over alleged foreclosure abuses. Every state except Oklahoma joined in the settlement. The money will be used for individual payments to borrowers who were victims of unfair servicing practices and were foreclosed upon between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, according to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. Money will also be used for loss mitigation programs, and refinancing for homeowners owned and serviced by the five banks who are current in their payments but who owe more than their homes are worth will be available.

Lawyers-at-bail delayed

With just hours to spare, the Court of Appeals decided to wait until at least Feb. 16 before ordering that public defenders be provided to indigent suspects when a court commissioner sets their bail. The order was to have been issued Feb. 3. The postponement gives the court a chance to consider motions from the state public defender and attorney general to delay implementation of the ruling in DeWolfe v. Richmond.

Struggle to save bond rating

Despite its efforts to remain fiscally sound, Maryland is struggling to avoid the downgrading of its cherished top triple A bond rating due to possible federal budget cuts, State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp told the state House Appropriations Committee.

McCormick’s Harbor store

McCormick and Co. will open its first store this summer, at the Light Street Pavilion at Harborplace, near the original site of the company in Baltimore. The more-than-3,800-square-foot retail center will showcase the spicemaker’s products from around the world and offer cooking demonstrations by the company’s chefs and celebrity chefs.

TIF use could increase

Legislation to expand the use of tax increment financing in certain growth areas of the state is expected to be introduced in the General Assembly next week, according to Jon Laria, chair of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission. Laria said the bill would allow for “more tools in the toolkit” for attracting development and promoting smart growth with TIFs.

Judge requests higher pay

Maryland’s 284 judges are in desperate need of a raise, Court of Appeals Judge Clayton Greene Jr. told the House of Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. Greene testified in support of a resolution to raise all judicial salaries by $29,000 over the next four years and said increases were needed to keep top talent on the bench.

Preakness aims young

Organizers of the 137th Preakness Stakes won’t yet say whether “Kegasus,” the half-man, half-horse, beer-drinking mascot of last year’s event, will return, but they have announced that pop-rock group Maroon 5 and rapper Wiz Khalifa will perform May 19 on the Pimlico Race Course’s infield’s main stage.

Default costs surety $1M

First Baptist Church of Guilford has been awarded more than $1 million in damages against a surety bond holder that refused to fulfill its contractual obligation after the general contractor, Harbor View Contractors, left the $13 million project. Fidelity & Deposit Company of Maryland had claimed the church had breached its contract, absolving Fidelity & Deposit of its obligation. Howard County Circuit Court Judge Louis A. Becker rejected that argument.

Collector admits thefts

Barry Landau pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to steal documents signed by leaders throughout U.S. history. The collector of historical memorabilia was arrested last July in Baltimore after a Maryland Historical Society employee saw Landau’s assistant walk out of the society’s library with a document. Landau said financial gain was his motive.

Email threat noted in trial

George Huguely V, a former University of Virginia lacrosse player and the ex-girlfriend he is accused of killing, Yeardley Love, both from Maryland, traded accusation of infidelity and angry emails in the months before her death, including one of his that said “I should have killed you,” prosecutors said Wednesday as the murder trial got under way.