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Columbia’s Class A Market Growing

Liberty Property Trust will break ground tomorrow on a six-building office complex in Columbia — its first new development in Maryland in 10 years — and it expects Howard County’s tight office market to quickly absorb the space. <@SM><@SM><TAB>Liberty Place at Columbia Crossing will feature four 31,000 square-foot, single-story office buildings and two 62,000 square-foot, two-story office buildings. The Class A development will sit on 28 acres of sloping land at the intersection of Dobbin Road and Route 175.

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Travel Company Settles Complaint That it Charged for ‘Free’ Vacations

As part of a federal crackdown on travel fraud, a Wisconsin company and its managers have settled charges that they lured customers with “free” trips only to make them pay hundreds of dollars each.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Defendants James Burns and John Bundy will be permanently banned from travel-related telemarketing for misrepresenting the value of the trips or telling consumers that they had won free vacations, according to the Federal Trade Commission complaint. Both men were senior officers at First Impressions, which also operated under the name “Air-Land-Sea.”

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Smokers’ Attorney Asks for up to $196 Billion

Smokers in a landmark class-action case asked a jury for a record-shattering $196 billion yesterday to punish the tobacco industry for “a half-century trail of deceit which has decimated millions of Americans.”<@SM><@SM><TAB>“Never have so few caused so much harm to so many for so long, and the day of reckoning has arrived,” attorney Stanley Rosenblatt said as closing arguments began in the two-year trial involving 300,000 to 700,000 sick Florida smokers.

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