Daily Archives: November 21, 2008
From Tucson comes this tale of stupidity. The blogger is too kind to mention names and addresses but out here in Greenwich, dumb sellers aren’t so lucky.
how not to inspire confidence in your listing
Start out by listing it way high, let’s say, $1,750,000,
then drop the price to $1,455,000, and keep dropping it to $1,355,000, $1,295,000, $1,249,000, $1,195,000, $1,145,000, $1,095,000, $999,000, $950,000, $925,000, $900,000, $950,000, $900,000 and then to $850,000, for now. I bet they’ll get it right eventually.
OK, the pricing strategy didn’t work, so how ’bout this,
OWNER FINANCING/LEASE PURCHASE AVAILABLE. EASY TERMS, ANY CREDIT! INSTANT EQUITY! CALL WITH CREATIVE OPTIONS OR OFFERS!OWNER-AGENT.
Yep! It’s an Owner-Agent. (see, we’re not all perfect)
Nope, I can’t give out the address, MLS #, etc, but this is for real and I’ve probably said enough.
Well some bank did, by advancing that sum to Dominick DeVito and his scam company, DFT Construction. As I noted in an earlier post, construction loans are supposed to be paid out in stages as specific building goals are achieved: foundation poured, framing done, house closed in, etc. What you see above is what the bank would have seen had they sent an inspector over before forking over $6.2 so I ask again: would you pay that much for this house in this condition? I don’t think you would, and I can’t think of any innocent explanation for the bank’s behavior here.
So here’s another question: clearly, $6.2 didn’t go into this house so where is it? In another failed DFT project? Dominick’s pocket? The bank appraiser’s pocket? No one’s talking to me, at any rate and my personal hunch is that, if ol’ Dom ended up with it, no one’s going after him. He’s pled guilty for bank frauds committed in Westchester County and I don’t believe the federal prosecutors who nailed him for that have jurisdiction outside of the Southern District of New York. Will anyone in Connecticut bother chasing him for this one or will they figure that he’s already going to do time in New York? I’m betting on the former in which case, they’ll be some cash waiting to ease DeVito’s readjustment to civilian life after his release from prison.
Since it’s our tax money that’s going to pay for this loss, I’d like to see an inquiry made. And, were I a prosecutor, I think I’d start at the offices of the lender and ask how this much money escaped from their vault.
Update: Just for fun, I’ve been Googling some of Dom’s partners. There’s Dominick Carpenito, for instance, second in command of DFT LLC and here’s a bank sale of a newly built single family Florida residence owned by a Dominick Carenito “and others”. Same guy? I’ll bet it is – Jimmy Licata isn’t the only crook to commute between Greenwich and Florida; these guys follow the money.
Meanwhile, we are in the world of the walking dead. Companies such as Realogy have bonds that now trade at as little as 15 cents on the dollar and have a yield of more than 45 percent. This is not General Motors, where a government bailout may be coming. In this situation, the equity is worthless (and likely to remain worthless in any scenario) and the debt is getting close. Yet the equity holders (Apollo Management Group, in the case of Realogy) still control the company. This is partly an after-effect of the credit bubble — the Realogy debt, like much leveraged buyout debt, is “covenant-lite” and so the debt holders have little control over the company when things go south.
But in these circumstances, Apollo has every incentive to take the company’s cash and go to Vegas, or perhaps start mining for gold. These days, this might have a greater probability of success for the equity holders.
Well I’ll miss them.
Someone asked me this question yesterday and I really don’t know. Many of them never reached the stage of being listed on the MLS so absent a thorough examination of the open building permits in Town Hall, it’s impossible to say. They’ll be flushed out, though, when ownership reverts to the lenders and they come on as land with tear-downs on them.
14 Baldwin Farms South is an exception in that, although all work seems to have been abandoned last January, it shows on our MLS as active. The listing may be active but the construction certainly isn’t. The door’s open, there’s a water shut-off notice on the door and, while there still seems to be electricity (an outdoor light still shines), there’s no real sign of life. What happens to a house like this that sits through the winter unheated? Nothing good. I’m astonished that whoever is owed money secured by this house has done nothing to safeguard the asset but I suppose the banks are all busy these days.
This was originally listed for $9.975 million and dropped down to $6.795 before they quit. I can get it for you cheaper – call me.