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Snow biz probed by local BBB

A local snow removal service is under review by the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana following 19 complaints.

Mike Coil, BBB president, spoke Thursday afternoon with Brian Thornton, who operates Fort Wayne Snow Removal LLC. Although the pending complaints weren’t resolved, Thornton expressed a willingness to follow up and even refund customers’ money, as necessary.

The company has affiliates in 18 cities. Three of the complaints were from out of state, but most were from the Fort Wayne area, Coil said. He encourages anyone who has a complaint to contact the BBB and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

Fort Wayne Snow Removal’s rating has been removed from the BBB website pending the outcome of the bureau’s complaint procedure. If even one complaint is left unanswered, the business rating falls to an F, Coil said.

Toyota to pay millions to states in recall suit

Toyota said Thursday it will pay $29 million to 29 states and American Samoa as part of a settlement related to its safety recalls.

State attorneys general sued Toyota in 2010 after it recalled 14 million vehicles globally for accelerating without warning. The lawsuit accused Toyota of failing to notify customers promptly about the problems.

During their investigation, the attorneys general found that poor communication between Toyota’s headquarters in Japan and its U.S. operations had contributed to the problem. Midwest states participating in the settlement include Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

Local group to oversee tax abatement forum

A citizens group has organized a public meeting to discuss tax abatements and economic development at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The meeting will be in Citizens Square council chambers, 200 E. Berry St. Doors off the building’s north-side parking lot will be unlocked at that hour.

The session is sponsored by the Unemployed and Anxiously Employed Workers’ Initiative of the Northeast Indiana Central Labor Council. Tom Lewandowski, the labor council’s president, said the group plans to define economic development terms, demystify some of the process and urge greater public participation.

“It’s our lives. It’s our tax money,” he said. “Are we getting the jobs our tax dollars are paying for?”

Rurban completes probation period

Rurban Financial Corp. announced Thursday that it has successfully completed a probationary period invoked March 9, 2011, by the Federal Reserve System.

Defiance, Ohio-based Rurban Financial and subsidiary Rurbanc Data Services Inc. were required to strengthen board oversight, maintain sufficient capital, strengthen working capital management, create a realistic budget and draft strategies for developing and supporting business lines.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland monitored the institution’s progress.

Mark Klein, Rurban’s president and CEO, said the data services operation has evolved into a smaller, more focused business. “We believe that the disciplines acquired during this transition process will continue to enhance our performance going forward,” he said in a written statement.

The company’s banking subsidiary, the State Bank and Trust Co., was not included in the initial order, which officially ended Feb. 8.

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