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Law firm closure cuts 22 LI jobs

An embattled foreclosure law firm in western New York on Monday announced its shutdown and 89 layoffs, including about 22 full- and part-time employees in its Westbury office. Amherst-based Steven J. Baum, a high-volume business that subcontracted work to other Long Island firms, has been investigated over sloppy documentation against homeowners. Earlier this month, mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac barred Baum from handling any more of their foreclosures. "The loss of so much business left us no choice but to file these notices," said Baum, whose father, Marvin, started the firm in 1972. He said his firm would "fulfill our remaining work" before closing. Last month the Baum firm settled a federal investigation over its foreclosure practices by agreeing to pay $2 million without admitting guilt. -- ELLEN YAN

Bank delisting hearing date set

Suffolk Bancorp says that a hearing has been set for Jan. 19 in Washington on the bank holding company's appeal of the recent decision by the Nasdaq to delist the company's stock for failing to file certain quarterly financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The parent of the Suffolk County National Bank also announced Friday that it had received a letter from the Nasdaq noting that its financial report for the third quarter of this year also has come overdue. The delisting was for failure to file reports for the first and second quarters of this year. The delisting was automatically stayed for 15 days after Suffolk Bancorp requested the hearing. Suffolk has requested a stay until the hearing takes place and a decision is issued. -- TOM INCANTALUPO

Canine flu at LI PetSmart store

A canine flu outbreak has been confirmed at PetSmart's Farmingdale dog day camp and boarding, the pet supplies chain said Monday. Eight dogs have been diagnosed with the latest strain of the highly contagious disease, and they are recovering, with PetSmart paying for treatment, said spokeswoman Michelle Friedman. In the past month or two, veterinarians have reported outbreaks in the New York area, including a Rockland County kennel and an animal shelter in Teterboro, N.J. The flu, spread by contact and cough, is usually not fatal but can be serious for dogs with respiratory issues. PetSmart's Farmingdale dog camp has been closed since Nov. 14, and the PetsHotel shut down Friday as workers disinfected the area, Friedman said. They will reopen on Wednesday, she said, but dogs who have been there recently won't be allowed back until two weeks after their last visits. -- ELLEN YAN


Oct. existing home sales rise

The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose slightly last month but remained at depressed levels. And more deals are being canceled at the last minute, a sign that even those who are looking to buy are worried about the housing market. Home sales rose 1.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That's below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market and slightly ahead of last year's sales -- the worst in 13 years. Still, the increase beat analysts' expectations. -- AP

$1.2B shortfall at MF Global

The court-appointed trustee overseeing MF Global's bankruptcy says up to $1.2 billion is missing from customer accounts, double what the firm had reported to regulators last month. The trustee, James Giddens, also said in a statement Monday that his plans to release about $520 million from accounts that have been frozen will mean nearly all the assets under his control will be distributed. MF Global filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31, and regulators are investigating whether it tapped money from clients' accounts as its own financial condition worsened. -- AP

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