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Developer sentenced

(AP) -- A former Carmel real estate developer has been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars in a failed luxury home development and golf course.

Prosecutors say Thomas O'Meara cheated more than 50 people out of $16 million by getting them to invest in a gated housing development and an 18-hole golf course in Fresno that he said would host a PGA tournament in 2007.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, O'Meara admitted that he had lied about the PGA Tour's confidence in the project called the Running Horse Development.

He also lied to investors about the financial condition of the development.

The 66-year-old O'Meara had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering earlier this year.

High-speed too much

(Bloomberg) -- California's $68.4 billion high-speed rail project is looking for too much money from the U.S. government and should be reconsidered, said California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the U.S. House’s third-ranking Republican.

An additional $38 billion sought for the project from federal coffers would be more than the $31 billion a year Congress is seeking in annual additional revenue from a deal to resolve the year-end deadlines for automatic spending cuts and tax increases, he said.

California's project, which would start with track in the state’s Central Valley before connecting with its biggest cities, is courting sovereign-wealth funds, pensions and endowments for more than $50 billion to fund the most expensive public-works project in U.S. history.

California is the only U.S. state working to lay tracks for trains running as fast as 220 miles an hour (354 kilometers an hour).

It's counting on $10 billion in bonds authorized by voters and $3.3 billion committed by the federal government so far.

Flawed hotel

(AP) -- A Nevada state judge has withdrawn permission to demolish a flawed hotel tower on the Las Vegas Strip and postponed a trial to determine who's responsible for damages in the case.

MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) agreed this past week to more testing on the 26-story Harmon Hotel.

As a result, Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez withdrew permission she granted last July to demolish the tower.

The hotel was intended to open in 2009 as part of the $8.5 billion CityCenter development.

The 46-story project was halted in 2008 at 26 floors after inspectors found flaws in steel reinforcements.

It is a joint project between MGM Resorts and Dubai World.

Gonzalez on Monday postponed until January 2014 the trial involving MGM Resorts and Perini Building Co. over $500 million in damage claims.

Stormwater control

(AP) -- The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is requiring a number of municipalities and other groups to do more to control stormwater runoff to reduce pollution in the Lake Champlain watershed with measures that could cost up to $100 million.

The permit issued Wednesday requires 13 communities, the University of Vermont, the Burlington International Airport and the state Transportation Agency to develop stormwater management plans within three years to reduce the amount of polluted runoff that flows into streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.

The permit requires the communities to implement the stormwater control as soon as possible, but no later than 20 years from the effective date of the permit.

Niemeyer dies

(AP) -- Brazil on Thursday mourned the death of Oscar Niemeyer, the groundbreaking architect who designed Brazil's futuristic capital and much of the United Nations complex.

Niemeyer, 104, died Wednesday night in Rio de Janeiro, the seaside city where he was born.

In works from Brasilia's crown-shaped cathedral to the undulating French Communist Party building in Paris, Niemeyer shunned the steel-box structures of many modernist architects, finding inspiration in nature's crescents and spirals.

His hallmarks include much of the United Nations complex in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in Niteroi, which is perched like a flying saucer across Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro.

“Right angles don't attract me. Nor straight, hard and inflexible lines created by man,” Niemeyer wrote in “The Curves of Time,” his 1998 memoir. “What attracts me are free and sensual curves. The curves we find in mountains, in the waves of the sea, in the body of the woman we love.”

His curves give sweep and grace to Brasilia, the city that opened up Brazil's vast interior in the 1960s and moved the nation's capital from coastal Rio.

Huge mosque rejected

(Bloomberg) -- A plan to turn a former chemical plant site about a mile from London's Olympic Park into a mosque more than three times the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral was rejected by the local government.

The Newham Borough Council denied permission for the 15-acre development called the Riverine Centre in London's West Ham neighborhood Wednesday.

The borough's planners had recommended that the proposal by Anjuman- E-Islahul-Muslimeen of (London) U.K. Trust be rejected.

The mosque would have included space for more than 9,000 visitors, a library and a 2,000-person capacity dining hall.

About a quarter of Newham's residents are Muslim, compared with about 8.5 percent in all of London, according to a document submitted by the center’s trustees.

Canadian permits

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian building permits rose in October on a rebound in non-residential work while housing fell for the third time in four months.

The value of permits granted by municipal governments rose 15 percent to C$7.49 billion ($7.56 billion) after a revised 12.7 percent drop in September, exceeding the record C$7.46 billion set in August, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

Non-residential construction permits jumped 50.3 percent to C$3.43 billion, as industrial projects such as factories more than tripled to a record C$1.09 billion.

Residential permits declined 4.1 percent to C$4.06 billion.

Lone Star in Germany

(Bloomberg) -- The German government is close to selling its TLG Immobilien GmbH real estate unit to Lone Star Funds, three people with knowledge of the plan said.

It would be the country's biggest commercial property transaction this year.

The German Finance Ministry, which is divesting real estate to reduce the budget deficit, may approve the sale as early as next week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because an agreement hasn't been reached.

TLG Immobilien, owner of shops, offices and land in cities including Berlin and Leipzig, will fetch about 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion), one of the people said. Lone Star is a private-equity firm

Loblaw REIT

(Bloomberg) -- Loblaw Cos., Canada's largest grocery chain by market value, will create a real estate investment trust and sell units in the REIT in an initial public offering to help unlock shareholders’ value.

Loblaw plans to contribute about 35 million square feet of real estate with a current value of more than C$7 billion ($7.06 billion), and intends to retain a “significant” majority interest.

The REIT will be one of Canada's largest, Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw said.

The IPO is expected to be completed next year. Loblaw shares have declined 13 percent this year.

No to amortization

(Bloomberg) -- Sweden shouldn't put laws in place that force borrowers to amortize on their mortgages even as household debt has climbed to a record-high level, Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman said.

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and central bank also have a responsibility to prevent a housing bubble from building, he told reporters Thursday in Stockholm.

Swedish household debt is “high but not alarming,” Norman said. “I don't believe in a law to amortize because they are often easy to circumvent.”

Household debt has factored into the Riksbank's interest rate decisions after rising to a record 173 percent of disposable income in the second quarter from 90 percent in 1996, sparking fears of a bubble.

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