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Simon Settles Spitzer Suit

ALBANY, N.Y. — Simon Property Group Inc., the largest publicly traded real estate investment trust in North America, has reached an agreement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to settle a lawsuit the state brought against the mall...

ALBANY, N.Y. — Simon Property Group Inc., the largest publicly traded real estate investment trust in North America, has reached an agreement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to settle a lawsuit the state brought against the mall operator.

Simon Property, which operates 10 shopping malls and outlet centers in New York state, agreed to pay $100,000 in penalties and $25,000 in costs, and to comply with New York’s gift card law.

A state law enacted Oct. 18 bans monthly service fees on gift cards until the card has been unused for 12 consecutive months. Simon had been imposing a $2.50 monthly administrative fee on cards inactive for seven months after purchase.

The REIT will also comply with New York’s disclosure law, which requires that the $5 fee to replace a lost or stolen card and the $7.50 fee to reissue an expired card be shown prominently on the gift card, a Spitzer spokeswoman said.

“This is a great victory for our consumers and will show all gift card providers that they must abide by the laws of this state if they wish to do business here,” said State Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. (R., Nassau County), who sponsored the state law.

Simon Property owns and operates Roosevelt Field in Garden City, Mall at The Source in Westbury, Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station, Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, The Westchester in White Plains, Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights, Nanuet Mall in Nanuet, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, Waterloo Premium Outlets in Waterloo and Chautaugua Mall in Lakewood.

Simon, whose representatives were unavailable for comment, has a market capitalization of about $36 billion.