Daily Archives: February 3, 2009

Step aside, Walt, this Greenwich hedge funder has an even better story: he married his daughter!

 

Bruce "Daddy" MacMahan

Bruce "Daddy" McMahan

Do we live in a great town, or what? Just when you want a breather from the Noels and are waiting for the post’s page 6 article on them to come out on the 15th or Vanity Fair’s story still later, news comes that this incestuous fellow operates out of Greenwich (500 west Putnam Avenue, I think). Turns out that he not only loves his daughter, he (a) seduced her while they watched “Brave Heart” (at Mel’s place on Old Mill? Who knows?) Then married her. Aw, how sweet.

John Carney of Clusterstock has the full story but his memory was jogged by a NYT article (linked to here a few days back) about how the recession is forcing a scaling back on the resident’s of Florida’s Fisher Island. Poor Bruce has put up his condo and art collection up for sale for $30 million but no takers so far – I wonder if the Noels know that it’s available? I can’t find a record of Bruce in the tax records but if his firms, Argent Management and MacMahan Securities are here, can his wallet be far off? We’ll look a little further. In the meantime, once again, Greenwich demonstrates that we have the cream of the crop when it comes to shysters, daughter f’rs and all around nut jobs. Terrific.

Update: As usual, you can count on the NY Post to have all the salacious details of a story like this. They don’t let us down this time, either.

Update II: Uh oh – Huffington Post shows him as contributing to a political candidate and lists him as living at an unspecified address on Stanwich Road. Could this guy be our reader Stanwich? I’m shocked.

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Walter Noel’s son in law peddled junk in the 80s?

That’s what they’re saying. Andres Piedrahita was supposedly selling a high risk fund back then that lost millions. Millions? He was just warming up, obviously.

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Forbes isn’t buying real estate here, betcha

According to this article in Forbes, “experts” predict a further 25% drop in prices for NYC area real estate. I believe that includes the stretch from northern New Jersey to Bridgeport, so obviously, your results may vary, but that’s good news for renters who want to become buyers. Not so good for any of us who’d like to be sellers. The problem with a report like this is that, even if the prediction is wrong, what buyer, reading it, is going to rush out and buy a house at today’s price? I don’t think I would.

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Attention home builders

While you’re waiting for the market to pick up, here are some statistics to chew over:

Currently in inventory, $5-$6 million: 35. Sold last year, 15. Houses built 2006 or later that sold last year, 4.

Currently in inventory, $6-$7 million: 30. New (2006 or later) 10. Sold last year, 3 old, 0 new.

Currently in inventory, $7-$8 million: 15. New: 6. Sold last year: 11 (7 old, 4 new)

Because I don’t want to depress you I won’t supply sales statistics for the last quarter but you can assume it wasn’t pretty and I would not extrapolate from last year and calculate that we’re only sitting on a year’s worth of inventory in the $7 -$8 million range. But maybe we are, if the market comes rushing back. I don’t think it will.

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White elephant, cheap(er)

309 Taconic, going once ...

309 Taconic, going once ...

What a load of fun this Taconic Road property has given all of us in just 9 years. Its 29 acres sold for $6.8 million back in March 2000 and a whopper of a house was built thereon. The owner was dissatisfied with the result, feeling that 33,000 square feet and a 13-car garage was a tad large for just two people, so he put it up for sale in 2005 for $26.5 million and in 2007, when that didn’t roust any buyers, bumped it up to $31 million just to keep the shoe clerks out. Since then it’s yo-yoed back and forth: down to $23 million; back up to $31; down to $26, such fun! Last summer the owner received a great deal of press because he was auctioning it for $19 million minimum bid. Seems the fellow had lost a bit – $100 million or so – in the stock market and was feeling the pinch. Well the auction came, buyers came, but contrary to instructions, the four “legitimate” buyers all tendered personal checks and they all bounced. Who shows up at one of these things with a rubber check? And why? Beats me.

Anyway, once again demonstrating that it’s always the listing agent’s fault that a property won’t sell, all that square footage, acreage and garaged parking is back on the market today for $18.995 million. I suppose the seller figures that he had four real buyers that were willing to pay that much –  it was just that pesky matter of insufficient funds that kept the deal from being consummated.

God loves an optimist and surely someone out there wants 33,000 square feet of luxurious home. If Obama’s tax dodgers haven’t already acted on my suggestion and snapped up Leona’s place at $90,000,000, they could effect an economy by transferring their lust for timber here.

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Robert Motherwell

I never knew that Robert Motherwell was, like Clark Rockefeller, a resident of Greenwich, but indeed he was. I just received notice of an auction of his work and while I wasn’t all that interested in what I saw there, this work by another artist struck my eye. I’ve never heard of the guy, Hendrick Cassiers, but I’m a philistine, so that’s hardly surprising. But at a suggested auction price of $1,000 – $1,500, I’d rather have this in my home than the Holiday Inn wall accessories that hang there now.

hendrick Cassiers, Belgium, 1858-1944

hendrick Cassiers, Belgium, 1858-1944

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Greenwich Rockefeller to plead guilty!

Okay, he’s not really a Rockefeller and his stay in our fair city was brief, if a little memorable, but a good headline’s a good headline. The fruitcake who kidnapped his own daughter is pleading guilty, or wants to, anyway, if he can get the right deal from the prosecution.

Just another feather in our cap, says I. We do have the most interesting criminals here.

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Not in Greenwich they haven’t

Pending home sales show unexpected rise in December. Not so here – contracts are almost dead. But I do notice more and more homes being reduced to less than their sellers paid for them and if that keeps up, we’ll see sales. Eventually. No, not your house, Mad Monkey – you’ll be waiting until 2019, so unpack those boxes and relax.

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For the Little People

The Leona Helmsley People's Palace for Little Folks

The Leona Helmsley People's Palace for Little Folks

Gesundheit slipped by into the Treasury but Daschle’s gone and now Killfer has quit the  post she was appointed to just last week. It’s obvious that Obama will not be able to staff his cabinet with Democrats if he insists that they pay income taxes. Rich Democrats just don’t do that sort of thing. So what’s the poor man to do? Appoint Republicans?

Nothing so drastic. Why not let him appoint whom he likes, with whatever tax-IRS baggage they may carry and, in exchange for letting them sail through their confirmation hearings without ever saying the word, “owe”, they will agree to buy Leona’s place up here in Greenwich and donate it to the federal government as a monument to the little people who keep folks like Daschle in limousines. The unwashed wouldn’t be allowed into the house, of course, just as Harry Reid sealed off his constituents and their body odor from the Capitol, but the building, rising high on the highest hill of fair Greenwich, will serve as a beacon of hope to all, reminding us that anyone can grow up, become a liberal and evade taxes. It’s the American dream.

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You want housing for mere mortals? Here’s something.

Geeze, with two brothers pestering me, I can’t get away with nothing.

One of your readers is always pestering you about featuring cheaper houses. This listing here at Gid’s company strikes me as a good buy at $695,000. The exterior and interior (with fireplace, even) are tasteful and it has a decent sized yard. True, it’s in Byram, borders on the railroad tracks and the turnpike’s not far off but I would be delighted to have house like that for myself, for what it’s worth (as it were). Why don’t you give it a plug?

Okay, okay. here it is.

Hartford Avenue

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So take Dodd, please!

Tax cheat Daschle withdraws nomination. I don’t know how Connecticut can get by without our own corrupt Senator but now that he’s refinanced his houses at a lower interest rate perhaps he’ll run honest for a brief spell. It’s worth a try, I think, so Barack? Take  ‘im, he’s yours.

Or try Charlie Rangel, if you can pry the fat fraud from his beach chair.

rangel1

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15 Quaker Lane, again

I emailed one of my clients about this place and he responded that he didn’t care for the location. I drove up in the snow today and reminded myself why. The land itself is beautiful, but the approach is a bit Tobacco Road. There’s a nice house next door that’s been allowed to run down a bit, a cottage in front that obviously never served as home to a Rockefeller and the two huts actually on the property are not much to look at in their own right. You can solve the last problem with a bulldozer but I imagine the owners of the houses abutting the place would complain loudly were your cat driver to stray. When it was just a part of a much larger estate, this little nook where they stashed servants must have been easily over-looked. Not so when it’s intended to be a primary residence. Careful screening might work but better would be to buy the surrounding land, clear everything and start anew. That’s probably not possible at the moment, so some seller’s in trouble.

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3rd time the charm?

45 Upland Drive

45 Upland Drive

The builders of this place must hope so because they just dumped broker number two and have hired Mary Crist of Ogilvy’s shoppe to try and move it. Mary’s a pal so I wish her luck, but I’m sorry she couldn’t convince the seller to switch prices as well as agents. The price remains at $7.850 million, a level that so far has proved resistible to buyers. We’re into our fifth year of ownership on this project and the price has chased the market down from an original $9.250 million to $7.85. The land was purchased (via bidding war – heh) in 2004 for “just” $1.7 so there ought to be room here for the builder to cut his losses and run. I guess he’s got deep pockets and a will of iron.

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I guess I could learn to like this guy, but what about my liberal friends?

That new president they elected is continuing the lamented Bush’s policy of rendition for terrorists, oops!,  CIA – directed Predator strikes in Pakistan (they got another of the bastards just yesterday) and of course he’s paying lip service to but not actually closing Club Gitmo. After all the opprobrium heaped on this nation by its lefty citizens over the course of the last four-year election cycle, these bold steps are welcome and make me proud to be an American for the first time in my life (or perhaps not that long – sorry, Michelle).

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Going down with a whimper

Chavez is having a difficult time funding his social revolution with $40 barrel oil. As you may recall, the strongman threw out of the state-owned oil company everyone who knew how to produce oil and replaced them with political operatives. Then he demanded that more than 70% of oil revenues be spent on schools, “social missions”, whatever they are, and generally distributed among the mob that forms his base, rather than be wasted on exploration and maintenance.  Oil production was already shutting down as Chavez’s dictates took their effect, and the economy was in trouble even with $100 barrel oil because Venezuela couldn’t produce enough of it. Now it’s below $40, the mob still wants its bread and there’s no way to provide it. Great news. Too bad our own country is looking more like Venezuela every day, but at least we’ll get an advance look at what awaits us.

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This should be good

Vanity Fair is working on a new in-depth article on the Noel family and its recent troubles. I haven’t seen it yet but I rather doubt it will have the same tone of fawning adulation that the  earlier article about the “Fabulous Noel Girls” did. Monica, better call back the girls’ publicist and put her to work, pronto!

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Tally Ho!

Cleveland, Duble & Arnold has just listed the barn apartment on the Israel Putnam Cottage grounds for rent, for $1,850.00. Neat place, but I understand that the tenant is obliged to exercise the horse that comes with the place by racing it down the Put’s Hill steps twice a day. If your insurance is in good standing, this might be the place for you.

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Lobbyists don’t steal our money, politicians steal our money

The WSJ claims that: Lobbyists Raise Stimulus Price Tag”

Florida citrus growers, California wine growers and a range of agricultural interests are pushing a tiny change that would allow farmers to more quickly depreciate new fields. High-tech and pharmaceutical companies want to save billions in taxes by including a plan that would allow them to bring overseas profits back home at lower tax rates. Labor unions are pressing Congress to make sure that new government funding for green technology results in jobs with good pay and benefits for workers….

And so on. Yesterday, for instance, we learned that $90 million of the stimulus is to go to ACORN for more voter fraud campaigns. But none of this theft could go on without the active participation of the whores we elect and send to Washington. Last heard, few lobbyists carry guns – they can only bribe, and a politician retains the power, rarely exercised, to decline a bribe. Not that they want to. The man who seems most admired in D.C. today, judging from the praise heaped on him by the White House and his fellow Democrats, is Tom Daschle, who lost his senate seat just four years ago and left the Senate a broken man, penniless after his years of service to this country. He immediately skirted the rules forbidding lobbying by ex-senators and started racking up $5,000,000 a year lobbying on behalf of drug companies, health organizations and anyone else who would line his pockets. He didn’t pay taxes on that income because he doesn’t like paying taxes, unlike those of us who joyfully write our own checks to the IRS as an exercise in patriotic duty. So today he’ll be put in charge of “supervising” his former whoremasters and the rest of Congress will get busy heeding the whims of lobbyists and hoping to get as rich as Tom.

That’s change they can all believe in.

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What’s a building lot worth today?

Less than it was, that’s for sure. I viewed a friend’s potential listing yesterday to give a price opinion and I was stumped. The street, never one of Greenwich’s premier addresses, saw a couple of new homes built on it a few years ago but that transformation has stopped, at least for now, leaving mostly small, modest little capes that are just fine for living in but aren’t going to attract IBers – well, those bankers who are still employed.

But this particualar house is a wreck. Both concrete porches have split from the foundation, the foundation itself is “challenged” and the interior matches the condition of the foundation. It’s land value, only. My friend was thinking in the range $600-$650,000 which, a few years ago, would have seemed realistic. I drove away with numbers like $175,000 – $250,000 in my head and even then, I wondered who’d want to build there. It’s a toughie.

And then there’s a building lot for sale at 131 Cat Rock Road, for sale since 2005 with a current price of $1.450, down from an original price of $1,795,000. Two acres, in Cos Cob, on Cat Rock. That’s tough, too. We know that it wasn’t worth it’s original price four years ago in a great market, what’s it worth today? I have a feeling we won’t find out for a while. If I were bidding on it, I think I’d start in numbers that started with a 9, not a 1.

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“Tax Payers Field” at least has the virtue of truth in advertising going for it

WSJ: Citi considering backing out of Mets Stadium naming deal.

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