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Property auction will be conducted online next week

Spokane County’s online auction of tax-delinquent properties will run Monday through Tuesday morning, County Treasurer Rob Chase said.

Spokane County initially scheduled the foreclosure sale for Dec. 3-4. Chase said he changed the date after learning a sale wasn’t required by the end of 2012. He said some property owners contacted his office saying they were prepared to clear their past taxes if the auction was delayed.

The auction will be the first the county has conducted online. In the past, foreclosed parcel auctions were conducted in person at the Spokane County Courthouse. Online auctions tend to draw more bidders and produce more revenue, according to Bid4Assets, the online firm hosting the auction.

In December, 67 properties were due to be auctioned, Chase said. On Wednesday there were just 48 because property owners resolved their delinquencies.

For more information on the auction, go to

Potlatch Corp. names its CFO to lead as COO, president

Potlatch Corp. is naming Eric Cremers as president and chief operating officer and adding him to its board of directors, effective Friday.

Cremers will be responsible for leading the company’s business operations, including timberland management, wood manufacturing and sales, real estate and human resources.

He will continue to serve as chief financial officer and lead investor relations activities while a search for a successor in those roles is conducted.

Cremers joined the Spokane-based, publicly traded company in 2007 as vice president and chief financial officer.

Potlatch is a real estate investment trust with about 1.43 million acres of timberland in Idaho, Arkansas and Minnesota.

Court rejects Dow’s $1 billion in ‘phony tax deductions’

WASHINGTON – A federal court in Louisiana is rejecting transactions by the Dow Chemical Co. that created $1 billion in what the U.S. Justice Department calls “phony tax deductions.”

The court said Wednesday that the tax-reduction scheme was created by Goldman Sachs and the law firm of King & Spalding.

It involved creating a partnership that Dow operated out of its European headquarters in Switzerland.

The court said a lower court ruled correctly in saying that the tax benefits created by the scheme were artificial and that the corporate structure was created to exploit weaknesses in the tax code, not for legitimate business reasons.

The judge also imposed unspecified penalties.

Orders for core capital goods rise, signaling confidence

WASHINGTON – Orders for U.S. factory goods that signal business investment plans jumped last month by the most in more than a year, suggesting companies are confident about their business prospects.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for so-called core capital goods, which include industrial machinery, construction equipment and computers, rose 6.3 percent in January from December. A sharp fall in demand for commercial aircraft caused overall durable goods orders to drop 5.2 percent, the first decline since August.

The increase in core capital goods suggests companies are willing to expand their production capacities despite worries that automatic government spending cuts will slow the economy in the coming months.