Daily Archives: February 2, 2009

You mean it wasn’t love?

in a story sure to shatter the illusions of dozens of former Greenwich IB hotshots, it’s being reported (sorry, someone tore a clipping from a paper and gave it to me – no idea where it came from) that the strip club Scores, now defunct, perhaps, has sold off its special label champagne and it can now be found at Warehouse Wine & Spirits on Broadway for $7.99 a bottle, a price far removed from the $250 the club used to charge for the swill, without  a lap dance. That’s a worse decline than you’ve suffered, so far, on your Round Hill house. So buddy, if you hadn’t figured it out by now, you were hosed. But given your present circumstances, this isn’t all bad news; pick up a bottle for 8 bucks, bring it home to that wife you don’t know (if she’s still there, you loser) and maybe she’ll put on some fishnet stockings and help you remember the glory days. Hey, Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away.

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Palm Beach pawn shop selling off Madoff victims belongings.

Old silver, mink coats, it’s all for sale, reports CityFile. And if you missed out, CityFile says that the same joint’s unloading ex-Lehman executives’ prized possessions in a week or two. Plenty of time to get down there, but perhaps I can save you the trip: I stopped Monica Noel this morning as she was clambering out of her Range Rover, burdened with armloads of nice-looking men’s suits and a few couture dresses. I asked if she was packing the stuff off to Florida and she gave me a look she’d normally reserve for a Brazilian gardener who might dare to file a workman’s comp claim against her. “That is completely undignified,” she sniffed. “The Noels have always given our castoffs to the Greenwich Hospital Thrift Shoppe and we see no reason to stop now. Imagine, selling Walter’s used underwear. Hmmmf!” I did notice a sign in the Thrift store’s window promising cash for the newly-unemployed’s unwanted clothing but I’m sure Monica would never take advantage of that bit of charity. But if you want to see what she’ll no longer be wearing, stop on in.

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But is it true that he stopped?

Lehman bankruptcy judge arrested for beating his wife.

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Real estate can be tough

1-butternut1 Butternut Hollow Road has a tortured history. Listed as land for $2.4 million back in August 2003 the frustrated seller raised his price to $2.65 that November after no one would buy it at the lower price. That didn’t work, for some reason, so he eventually dropped all the way to an even $2 million in June ’04 and, naturally, a bidding war erupted and the current builder/owner bought it for $2.050 two weeks later. The existing property was razed and this one took its place, priced at $5.895 million in April 2005. it’s been begging for a buyer ever since. The builder dropped it 8 times without success so in November 2007 he raised its price, forgetting how well that had worked for the previous seller, from $4.450 to $4.650. This daring approach also failed so it was back to price dropping and the place ended up at $4.350 in June, 2008. Today it was withdrawn. Is the builder moving in himself? Turning the keys over to a lender? I don’t know, but the poor guy’s been carrying this place for almost five years and has yet to see a dime on his investment. I doubt he ever will.

UPDATE: This should read 1 Butternut Hollow (it does now, thanks to an alert reader) not 186. Don’t know how those last two digits crept in, but isn’t to “86” something to toss it into the deep? Maybe that’s it. And brother Gideon informs me that the builder did see a few dimes from this place in 2006 when he rented it for almost $20,000 a month. That probably explains his price raise in 2007. After it had been lived in for a year and was broken in, it was worth more. Maybe he’s withdrawn it today in order to try renting it again. Unfortunately, rents have followed house prices down, but it will still generate some cash. Just not as much as before.

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Catastrophe bonds heading for disaster

Back in April 2007 Michael Lewis, one of my favorite financial writers, published a really good article in the NYT Magazine on “catastrophe bonds” what they were, how they worked and how they were an excellent free market alternative to ham-handed efforts by the government to provide insurance against hurricanes and other natural disasters. Unfortunately for Lewis and much of the rest of the world, few realized that “Cat Bonds” carried two risks: insurance and credit. Insurance, we got, but credit risk?

Turns out that was the biggest risk of all. Today Allstate announced that its about to default on the interest payments it owes on a series of cat bonds because its contractual agreement with Lehman that was to guarantee interest payments on those bonds is defunct. I’m not quite sure why the disappearance of Lehman’s guarantee caused Allstate itself to be unable to meet its obligations, but it all looks like quite a mess. Nothing’s simple, these days.

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Dipping below 2005 prices

186 Bible Street

186 Bible Street

This back lot cottage (1,248 sf) on Bible Street was purchased for $1.350 in February 2005 and in a fit of irrational exuberance put back up for sale 11 months later in January ’06 at $1.85 million. It expired unsold in June, 2007 and after a year-and-a-half of licking their wounds, the owners have tried again, this time listing it today for $1.295. Well, that’s better than $1.85 million, anyway.

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You can start the end of American hegemony clock now

Not long ago New York City, and therefore the Unites States, was the financial capital of the world. The city prospered by taxing the billions generated by Wall Street wizards and redistributed that money to the deserving and undeserving alike. Wall Street is gone and the city is reduced to taxing plastic bags to keep itself going. Will the last person to leave Manhattan please put out the recycling bin?

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