Obummer’s approval rating drops lower than Jimmy carter’s at its lowest. Probably right after the attack of the killer rabbit.
Monthly Archives: November 2011
REVOLVING DOOR: Obama And Billy Tauzin:
Here’s a YouTube of a 33-second Barack Obama campaign commercial titled “Billy” that aired in the 2008 campaign about Billy Tauzin, a congressman who went to work for the pharmaceutical industry as a lobbyist.
Here’s a Bloomberg News article from today headlined, “Tauzin’s $11.6 Million Made Him Highest-Paid Health-Law Lobbyist.” It begins: “Billy Tauzin, the former congressman turned pharmaceutical industry lobbyist, was paid $11.6 million in 2010, the year he brokered a deal with President Barack Obama that helped pass the health-care overhaul.”
Taken together, the two are a pretty devastating combination.
Three bank-owned, formerly bank owned or soon-to-be bank-owned properties are in the news today. 20 Herron View, asking $5.4 million in 2008 and $3.350 this month, has a contract. Nice house, and I won’t pour salt in the builder’s wound by pointing out that he rejected, rudely, a much higher offer a year ago. The compensation for putting up with angry, nasty sellers in this business comes much later, when I can gloat. Hee hee hee.
39 Boulder Brook, unloaded at a steep discount by Patriot Bank and once priced at $8.598 (ha ha ha) was chopped to $3.999 and now has a contract.
12 Baldwin Farms South, another Patriot Bank fiasco, was priced at $12.495 in 2007 and is now, thanks to a million dollar price cut today, asking $6.499. Still too high, in my opinion, but it’s a good start.
Teri Buhl sends along this story from the Daily Mail in which Greenwich realtor Tom Gladstone is quoted as saying that the boys didn’t really win anything and that they are merely managing the loot for a Greenwichite who was the real winner. Well maybe. The Mail also posts a picture of what it terms Gregg Skidmore’s “sprawling mansion” – the last I heard of Mr. Skidmore, he was a young, aspiring Olympic sailor trying to scrape up donations to finance his quest (by all accounts he is a great sailor, but didn’t make the team, which is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of). Maybe he got rich in the past decade, maybe it’s a picture of his father’s house, maybe it’s not ‘sprawling” or maybe the Mail got the wrong house. I don’t know the answer. Tom Gladstone, on the other hand, is a known quantity and if he says that the money belongs to someone else, I believe him.
Because taxpayers are making them rich on foreclosures. One of the greatest frustrations in this market is, having found a buyer and willing seller, approaching a lender to make the deal and discovering that it has absolutely no interest in even talking to you because they’ll make far more money if they foreclose and become eligible to receive a federal handout. The largest beneficiary of this largess? George “you should pay more taxes” Soros.
And speaking of rich white men who pay huge sums to buy influence with Obama, the prez will be in Manhattan tomorrow, just in time for the annual gridlock occasioned by the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, to attend three separate fund-raisers – $35,000 per head. Do you remember, before he wrote off the white working class, when Obama claimed to gather his support from millions of tiny donations from the Little People? This is so much more efficient.
Since Cos Cobber Frankie Fudrucker took over as Lottery Commissioner, every single winner has been both a Greenwich resident and a client of Fudrucker’s EBT Realty. Questioned about this amazing coinkydink, by FWIW’s ace reporter Scuzie, the man from the wrong side of the tracks denied any wrongdoing. “I didn’t steal nuttin’” he insisted, “I just seen my opportunities and I took ‘em. If that happens to make my clients lucky, so be it.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Shelly Banjo is out with an article on trees and power outages in Greenwich. You can Google it to get around the Journal’s cash barrier, but (ahem) here’s a pithy quote that aptly sums up at least one side of the argument.
“Tree huggers like the Greenwich Conservancy can ooh and ahh over their beloved trees, but they all have generators to back up their enthusiasm…those of us without generators aren’t as happy,” says Christopher Fountain, a Greenwich real estate agent. “I’d rather read poetry by the light of my 100-watt incandescent bulb than gaze upon a lovely tree.”
My comments regarding the Lotto winners Lacoff and Skidmore’s failed condo project on Sound View Drive elicited a rather zingy reply from either the builders, the listing agent or a buyer who has seen his “investment” disappear into the dust cloud generated by the empty land next door. Most of the rant is unfit for a family newspaper and so it, and its writer, have been consigned to the spam folder, but this part’s fun:
First of all…get your facts straight.. I’ve been watching Beacon Hill from the beginning and I think the developers have done a great job there. Beacon Hill has been slowly selling units and I’ve been tempted to make an offer. Stop making your miserable life problems everybody else’s and go out there and make an honest buck for once. You never have anything positive to say. Miserable people like you is [sic] why our world is the way it is!
“Slowly” is the word; exactly two units were sold here, one by the listing agent, Katherine Clauss and the other by Christopher Finlay. No comment. Both sales, for around $3 million, occurred in 2009. There have been no sales since.
So two sales, a ton of unsold units and a second phase that has never broken ground and almost certainly won’t in my lifetime. If the pissed off reader really is “tempted to make an offer’, then now’s her chance. I’d start by offering $500,000 but her valuation may be lower.
During the worst of the Iraq War, the media research group FAIR noted that New York Times columnist Tom Friedman had declared “the next six months” the crucial turning point for the Iraq War for no fewer than 14 times over the course of a two-and-a-half year period.That led the blogger Duncan Black to coin the term “Friedman unit,” which Wikipedia defines as “any event or ‘critical period’ which is repeatedly expected to happen in the near future, but repeatedly fails to occur.”
The author of this piece goes on to gauge the likelihood of the collapse of Europe and concludes, who knows? I get it.
There’s a new listing at 6 Sherwood Farm Lane asking $5.250 million. Well, maybe. These houses, almost all beautifully built, sold in the low-to-mid threes a decade ago and when more were built in 2006, as this one was, we saw two sales at $5 and $5.2. The most recent sale, number 8 Sherwood, tried asking $5.8 in 2007 and finally sold for $3.8 in early 2009. I’m not aware of anything that’s occurred that might return prices here to their glory days but what do I know? We’ll wait and see.
Patagonia has urged its customers to refrain from buying its goods. I’ve used (and purchased) the company’s products since the early 70s when Yvonne Chouinard was banging out pitons on his forge, and I’ve always been impressed by the quality of their products if not the prices. But hey, if they don’t want me as a customer I don’t want them as a vendor so I flagged their email to me as “spam” and got off their mailing list. See ya, fellas.
Teri Buhl alerts me that our newest Connecticut Lottery winner Brandon Lacoff is not only the failure behind Greenwich’s Beacon Hill, he’s now involved in resurrecting a failed Norwalk development. Want to see a picture of that project? Well here you go. Say, wait a minute, that’s a picture of Beacon Hill! Guess they couldn’t afford a new picture, or they just believe in recycling.
And here’s another curious thing: the winning ticket was sold November 2nd yet no one stepped forward to claim his winnings until yesterday. Although Fudrucker would never admit it, the Lottery Commission ran a bogus billboard campaign asking the winner to appear. When Mssrs. Lacoff et als did show up yesterday they did so accompanied by a lawyer from Long Island who “represented” the boys at the Lottery’s press conference by repeating “no comment, no comment, no comment” all afternoon. Is it possible that the attorney’s vocabulary has shrunk after decades spent representing low-level Mafiosi? Who knows? And who knows if the reason for the lengthy delay in claiming the prize was due to a desire to shield those big bucks from the grasping claws of rapacious creditors? I sure don’t and asked about it by Scuzie, FWIW’s top investigative reporter, Lacoff said this: “no comment”.
UPDATE: Teri points out that
Madoff’s Lacoff’s winnings were deposited into a “family trust”. What’s that about, do you suppose?
Jordan Saper’s latest spec job on 38 Langhorne Lane has a contract; asking price was $7.350 million. I’m no fan of Saper’s work because, to me, it typifies the big box, boring neo-shingle styleless dreck that has so cheapened Greenwich in the past decade, but so what? Saper builds what he knows will sell and sell he does. He’s the Mariani of slow building. At least this one, tucked away in the far reaches of the Back Country, won’t be visible to the casual traveler.
Saper paid $1.250 for this land in 2007, by the way, and tried to resell it a year later for $4.150. No one wanted it at that price or, a year later, for $2.650 (never pay full ask, okay?) so he went ahead and built. Mortgage is just $3.6 million so there’s plenty of room for profit here.
Thus enabling Saper to go forward and do it again.
Or at least I haven’t seen him since the day before Thanksgiving. But left behind are three Greenwich guys who have collected $7 trillion from the Connecticut Power Ball lottery. One of them, Brandon Lacoff, is the brains behind that failed condominium project “Beacon Hill” on the hill leading up to Field Point Road. The units were grossly overpriced – over $3 million each, I believe and only two sold before construction shut down (might make you wonder who the real estate agent was who sold her customers such a dog, eh?). Mr. Lacoff now purports to offer, for a fee, investment advice. So long as he limits that advice to “here’s a dollar - go find a gas station”, he should be on solid ground.
Thanks, Cos Cobber, for alerting me to the connection)
Or at least, its North American CEO does. I’ve never quite gotten the allure of BMWs. If I see a 500 or lesser series on the road, I figure that its driver couldn’t afford a 700. And the 700s’ style changes so often that the snazziest, most expensive model looks dated in just a year or two and then I figure, poor bastard can’t afford a new car. My dream car is actually a pickup, so I have no dog in this fight, but if the purpose of a luxury car is to impress one’s fellows, BMW fails miserably.
Barnie Frank will be replaced on the House Banking Committee by Maxine Waters. Sure, Frank was a corrupt pervert but Waters is certifiably crazy, stupid, illiterate, ignorant of the most basic economic principles and a racist to boot. Hoo boy!
I never much liked 12 Mountain Wood Drive, a spec house that sold for $8.4 million in 2005 and has been up for sale pretty much ever since (it was rented out for a while there) at, first, $9.750, in 2006 and now, as of today, $6.950 million. Maybe its latest price reduction will make me like it – a substantial reduction can do that – I didn’t think it had the quality to demand almost ten million dollars, but in the mid-sixes, well, it is a nice location.
69 Lake is back on the market again which makes, I think, something like 4,000 days it’s been for sale. It started at $2.650 million in 2007 and is asking $1.7ish now, but I don’t know if that’s going to do the trick. The mortgage is $1.5 million, so there’s a hint of financial hurt in the air. Nice antique (1780 or something) house, renovated in 2006, but lower Lake was probably a far nicer location before the invention of dump trucks and cars.
Aw, that’s not really true, but I notice that one acre lots have retreated to 1999-2000 levels. Ninety N. Bowman, marked down to $775 from $850,000 is reported as under contract today. These lots were getting between $660 and $750 a decade ago and I guess they are again.
There was a nonsensical editorial (redundant, I know) in the New York Times yesterday denouncing Mitch Romney’s proposal to let the marketplace take care of housing prices as cruel and illogical. The Times didn’t have a better solution – naturally, it thinks federal price supports would help – but made no mention of the upside of the current mess: affordable housing. In the Times’ world view, affordable housing should only be achieved through government subsidies but here’s hoping not everyone has such a statist vision.