Daily Archives: May 7, 2009

Well of course she was

It’s been known at least since the WAPO reported it in 2007, but in the face of continued denials by the Speaker of the House, ABC News is out with the definitive report (by the NSC) that Nancy Pelosi was briefed on waterboarding and other fun interrogation taqctics back in 2002 and didn’t object to their use.  Why do you think that Obama isn’t going after the Bush lawyers who wrote legal memos on the legality of such techniques? Out of a deep concern that filing criminal charges against White House legal advisors would impede their usefulness in the future and create a never-ending witch hunt every time administrations changed? Ha ha ha.

You just can’t file criminal charges against your own party’s Speaker – it’s unseemly.

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Yes, but he takes care of his family

Traitor, scumbag and all around thieving piece of dirt John Murtha has used our money to fund a nephew of similar talents in a no-show job. Never one to hide his light under a bushel, the Congressman has showered the kid with millions of dollars. Why is there no ethics inquiry of this man? Because Congress changed the rules prohibiting private citizens’ complaints from triggering one. And who changed the rules? John Murtha and Charles Rangel. Our country is in the best of hands.

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Don’t you hate when this happens?

The Antares boys are out of their last vestige of the dreams of a real estate empire, tossed from the UST project last week, according to rumor. All that’s left seems to be the twin mansions on Mooreland Road and those are threatened also. If he’s as kind as he’s said to be, Walt Noel will get an extra-large, double side-by-side refrigerator box so he can share his shelter with the boys.

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A scion and his money are soon parted

Kent Swig, child, grandchild and ex- son in law of real real estate developers, arrived in New York from San Franciso in 2005 determined to be the king of high end condos. Perfect timing.

I have it on excellent authority (a highly-placed broker with one of NYC’s premier real estate developer/brokerage firms) that all sales of their luxury projects in the city stopped cold on September 15th, the day the music died. Since then they’ve had plenty of cancellations but not a single contract.This individual has seen the writing on the (unfinished) walls and turned all the projetcs, hundreds or even thousands of units, over to his firm’s distressed property division. That can’t be good.

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Thank goodness that the library offers free ineternet access

So we can continue to hear from Walter Noel after he and Monica remove themselves from the Round Hill cottage and move to a cardboard box in Baldwin Park. News today that thea Madoff trustee has sued a second feeder fund, former GMAC Chairman Ezra Merkin, for $558 million in fees he took out when he “knew or should have known” that Bernie was a fraud. At the rate of one feeder fund every other day, I’d expect Walter and the Fairfield Greenwich Group to be teed up Monday or Wednesday, depending on whether that Rye firm (Trenton? How quickly we forget) goes first.

As trustee, Mr. Picard can sue investors for any money withdrawn from Mr. Madoff’s firm “in bad faith,” including if they knew or should have known Mr. Madoff was engaged in fraud. Mr. Picard is relying on records he collected from the Madoff firm going back to 1995 and, for now, will be able to seek funds withdrawn only in that period.

Mr. Picard, an attorney with Baker & Hostetler LLP, is expected to sue more feeder funds, said lawyers involved in the Madoff bankruptcy case. But even if he wins in court, Mr. Picard may have trouble collecting much of what he is seeking. That’s because most of the money has already been distributed to the funds’ clients [unless, like Walt, you were pulling out $270 million a year for yourself – Ed].  If those clients had no inkling there was fraud, Mr. Picard won’t be able to touch funds they withdrew from their accounts, those lawyers said.

In his first suit alleging bad-faith withdrawals, Mr. Picard targeted the assets of another individual who ran a feeder fund, Stanley Chais. The suit seeks the return of $1 billion that Mr. Chais and his family withdrew from Mr. Madoff’s firm since 1995. Mr. Chais allegedly “knew or should have known” of the fraud because his family’s personal investment accounts with Mr. Madoff averaged annual returns of 40%, in some cases reaping 300% in one year, according to the complaint.

Mr. Merkin’s investments differ from those of Mr. Chais. The returns for Mr. Merkin’s funds averaged 11% to 16% annually. And, unlike Mr. Chais, Mr. Merkin didn’t have personal accounts with Mr. Madoff’s firm. Instead, Mr. Merkin collected a management fee.

In Thursday’s lawsuit against Mr. Merkin, Mr. Picard said that as a sophisticated fund manager, Mr. Merkin should have noticed the myriad warning signs that could have indicated Mr. Madoff was engaged in fraud. Among the clues: Purported trades made by Mr. Madoff, which were listed in account statements sent to Mr. Merkin, could never have taken place, a fact that Mr. Merkin could easily have detected, the suit alleges.

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How many houses in Greenwich are really for sale?

A reader suggests that all, or almost all houses currently for sale are listed by sellers who actually want to sell. I disagree – based on their prices and the reluctance of their owners to cut those prices, I’d estimate that half the houses out there are employing the “make me move” strategy pioneered by Zillow. In other words, “pay me my price and I’ll move, otherwise, I’m staying here.” I see a large part of my job representing buyers as sorting those sellers from the real ones so that I don’t waste my clients’ time. Or mine.

If you disagree, have at me.

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Attention Financial gurus – what does this mean?

Patriot Bank announces redemption of poison pill rights.

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Patriot National Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Market “PNBK”), the parent of Patriot National Bank announced today that it will redeem the Company’s outstanding stock purchase rights granted pursuant to a Rights Agreement dated as of April 19, 2004. The Rights Agreement is more commonly known as a “poison pill”.

In redeeming the rights, the Company will make a one-time redemption payment of $0.001 per right to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 18, 2009. Following the redemption, the rights and the Rights Agreement will terminate. Shareholders do not have to take any action to receive this redemption payment and do not have to exchange their stock certificates.
I really don’t know what this means but I’ll bet you readers do. Curious timing given the “stress tests” results announced today for the larger banks and the rumors swirling around this bank and its loan portfolio. Something going on? What? Do I read this right, that they’re terminatingtheir poison pill protections? If so, are they getting ready to sell? Inquiring minds want to know.
UPDATE: Here’s a story from 2004 about Patriot adopting the poison pill plan to deter takeovers. I would assume that today’s announcement that it was removing that protection would mean a sale is at least welcome and perhaps impending. Hey – $4 a share – buy some now?

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