Daily Archives: September 27, 2008

Wow!
If this article in The New York Times is accurate, one tiny segment of A.I.G., led by an arrogant, over-paid hot shot in London, brought ruin to a trillion dollar company. The article’s written by Gretchen Morgenson who, back in my lawyer days when I was chasing wicked stock brokers, always seemed to produce Wall Street reporting that was spot on – go read this one.

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Taking the High Ground

I have been accused of stupidity by a liberal commentator and, while I’m cut to the quick by his resort to such mean-spirited name calling, I stand abashed. I have failed to appreciate his allies’ use of logical reasoning to support their arguments and in fact, until he wrote, I dismissed those people as lightweight morons. My mistake, as these examples demonstrate: Consider, for instance, the story that liberal pacs are readying an attack ad concerning McCain’s battle with cancer, or the Democrat Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and tax cheat, Charles Rangel,calling Sarah Palin a retard. But wait, there’s more! Madonna, that arbitrator of all things tasteful compares John MacCain (unfavorably, one assumes) to Hitler and Mugabe and Obama himself terrorized old folks in Florida by telling them that McCain wants to cut their Social Security payments by half.

I hadn’t recognized all this as the reasoned argument our new commentator friend calls for but then, I’m just a real estate agent and can’t appreciate nuance and feeling-based “facts”. Darn.

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My friend Claudette at Greenwich Diva is a bit dissatisfied with the Republican ticket and, sadly, has threatened to leave us should it be elected: “If McCain should win, I will leave my adopted country that I have come to love. As much as I love living here, I will move until they are out.”

My sadness at losing a friend, even if only for 4-8 years (unless Gov. Palin is subsequently reelected in her own right, in which case it could be 16 years before I see Claudette again) is tempered by the consoling thought that she’ll have the company of plenty of expatriates who have also vowed to vamoose. Robert Altman did but, sadly, departed this mortal coil before making good on his promise as did, I think, Pierre Salenger. But there’ll always be Alec Baldwin, Barbara Streisand and Lynn Redgrave (possibly) to keep her company, as well as Susan Saranden and a bunch of musicians I’ve never heard of.

Next time I see Claudette I’ll have to get her address in her new paradise: Venezuela? Cuba? I hear that Russia’s got things going again, finally. And of course, there’s always Iran – don’t know whether Claudette will enjoy wearing a chador and stoning homosexuals but at least it will be a different experience. So bon voyage, friend, and call when you (or Gary – time to get that guy moving!) find work.

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Can’t we find a candidate who can think on his (or her) feet?
So I spent a few minutes listening to the debate last night (a crashing bore, I’d say) and heard Obama droning on and on about McCain’s lack of compassion for “wounded veterans”. “It’s a Lloyd Bentsen moment” says I to myself, and I leaned forward to hear the Republican reduce the presumptuous twit to a puddle of twitching hyperbole.
What he should have said was, “Senator, I know wounded veterans. Senator, I was a wounded veteran. Senator, don’t you dare lecture me about compassion for wounded veterans, ever again.”

It could have been game, set and match for the man from Arizona. Instead, he mouthed some platitude about how the troops loved him and let Obama off the hook. Go for the jugular, Senator, no more Senatorial courtesy.

Doesn’t he have a staff to prepare him for these things? Missed opportunity.

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Nancy of Arabia

Bail out bill swells from 3 pages to 147 and still growing.

How large will the bill be after this weekend? Hell if I know, but I’d guess 350 pages. The Democrats, seeing their opportunity, are larding it with pork. Here’s what Pelosi and our own Senator Dodd have dreamed up:

TRANSFER OF A PERCENTAGE OF PROFITS.
DEPOSITS.Not less than 20 percent of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2).
USE OF DEPOSITS.Of the amount referred to in paragraph (1)
65 percent shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4568); and
35 percent shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund established under section 1339 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 4569).
REMAINDER DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY. All amounts remaining after payments under paragraph (1) shall be paid into the General Fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.

The Housing Trust Fund is yet another give away of taxpayer money for the deserving poor. It’s enmeshed with the ACORN Housing Fund which helps po’ folks get surprise! No doc mortgages.

The Capital Magnet Fund is more of the same.

Gee, between Pelosi and Dodd’s perpetuation of our failed housing policy, Senator Reid’s move to ban off-shore drilling and shale oil mining, you’d suspect that they like the way things are and are determined to keep things screwed up until after the election when, of course, they will fix everything and we’ll move forward to the land of milk and honey. I can’t wait.

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Greenwich Time has a more complete story this morning on yesterday’s foreclosure auction on Dwight Lane.
I’m glad, for the neighbors’ sake, that someone is finally going to fix up this eyesore but I do wish the new owners good luck in renovating it. To my eye, the rotted siding, failed roof, windows, pool and tennis court, the obsolete electrical system and the obnoxious, all-pervasive stench of mildew would suggest that a bulldozer rather than a carpenter be brought on site, but the happy owner-wife has apparently had an architect review the dump and if he thinks it can be successfully restored, I bow to his superior knowledge.
One of my readers comments below that he thinks this property was a steal – I would only point out that, out of all the people in the world, only one person was willing to bid.
Update:

Here’s the Tax Assessor’s card on this property. Highlights include its “value” of $4,327,000 (someone’s in for a tax reduction), the surprising (to me) revelation that it has 4 bedrooms and 7 1/2 baths, and, no surprise here, its condition is “below normal for age”.
10-1975 LAUER MICHAEL DWIGHT LANE 0007 101
ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION
PARCEL NUMBER
10-1975

Parent Parcel Number
0

Property Address
DWIGHT LANE 0007

Neighborhood
180100

Property Class
101 Single Family

TAXING DISTRICT INFORMATION

Jurisdiction 57

Area 1

Corporation 57

District 10

Section & Plat 116

Routing Number 2310E0003

Site Description

Topography:

Public Utilities:
Water:
Sewer: N
Electricity: Y
Gas:
Cable:
Well:
Septic:
Other:
Shared Well:
Shared Septic:

Street or Road:

Neghborhood:

Zoning:
16 RA-4 Single Family 4 acre

Legal Acres:
5.1

OWNERSHIP
LAUER MICHAEL

7 DWIGHT LANE
GREENWICH, CT 6831

LOT NO 46 DWIGHT LA E3

CURRENT ASSESSMENT

Assessment Year 10/31/2005
Reason for Change 2005 Revised
VALUATION L 3027100
Market B 1300800
O 0
T 4327900
VALUATION L 2118970
70% Assessed/Use B 910560
O 0
T 3029530

PREVIOUS ASSESSMENTS

Assessment Year 10/1/2005 10/1/2001 10/1/2001
Reason for Change 2005 Reval 2001 Final 2001 Reval
VALUATION L 3027100 2030800 2030800
Market B 2734400 2067100 2012000
O 0 0 0
T 5761500 4097900 4042800
VALUATION L 2118970 1421560 1421560
70% Assessed/Use B 1914080 1446970 1408400
O 0 0 0
T 4033050 2868530 2829960

Dwelling # 1
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Style: Contemporary
Year Built: 1986

Occupancy: Single family

Story Height: 2
Construction Type: Wood Frame
Finished Area: 7653
Attic: None
Basement: 3/4 Bsmt, 1/4 Crawl

EXTERIOR
Covering: Wood siding 99%
%

Condition: below normal for age

ROOFING
Material: Asphalt shingles

INTERIOR ACCOMODATIONS
Finished Rooms: 14
Bedrooms: 4
Half Baths: 1
3 Fixture Full Baths: 5
4 Fixture Full Baths: 1
5 Fixture Full Baths: 1

HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING
Heating Type: Forced hot air-oil
Air Conditioning; Y

OTHER
Retaining Wall
Res Pool In Ground
Res Tennis Court
FSP

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The Bad News Gazette

Weekly roundup
Well, 6 single family houses went to contract this week, compared to, say, 10 per day in a normal September market. Top (asking) price was $3.995 million, the rest dropped rapidly from there -1 above a million, the rest below.

Sales weren’t any more exciting: only 4 and, other than one whopper, prices were all well below $2 million. Langhorne Lane, Antares’ disaster, “sold” for $13.750 million, down from its ask of $28.0, but if this was a settlement of a lawsuit brought by a disgruntled investor, and I believe it was, the price might just reflect a litigant salvaging what he could. Want an apples to apples comparison? 22 Bramble Lane, in Riverside, was purchased for $1.525 million in 2005. It was listed for $1.575 this summer and sold almost immediately for $1.525. So no whopping profit there (okay, a loss) but the seller was smart to take what money he could, and run.

24 Old Wagon, in Old Greenwich, asked $849,000 and after 141 days sold for $720,000. Ooops.

There were 77 price changes, all downwards, and 65 new listings. A bunch of the “new” listings are just re-treads returning to the market at a new, lower price and a fresh listing date.

As of this Saturday morning, there are 607 single family homes for sale in town, ranging from $125,000,000 to $445,000, so there’s something for everyone. At 6 sales per week, they all should be gone in about 2 years, as long as no one else gets the bright idea of trying to sell his house before then. Stay where you are, damn it!

Nah, just kidding. Price your house to meet the new reality and you’ll be in and out of the market long before a lot of these houses move.

To end this sales report on a happy note – and my peers demand it – 999 North Street, an antique way up in Banksville (but still in Greenwich), was listed for $672,500 and sold – bidding war! – for $685,000. So that still happens, even if only in the lower end of the market. Have a nice weekend.

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