Daily Archives: May 26, 2009

Towns, cities, look for someone else to pay their bills

Across America, municipalities are figuring out that they no longer can afford to pay their bills so they’re disincorporating and throwing the burden of their support on other tax payers. Just like those states that tax the rich instead of cutting spending, these dreamers are going to discover that everyone else has the same idea and when the rich are gone, and the saps are  taxed to support their neighbors in another town, county or state, there’s still a bill coming due and it will land on their doorstep.

When that awful realization sets in, when the spenders of other people’s money discover that there’s no longer a magic pot to satisfy their greed, they’ll turn on themselves, because there will be no one else to eat.

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Silence the lambs, save polar bears

British government types want to push lamb off the British menu because sheep burp. They are forcing food companies to calculate the carbon footprint of what they produce and sheep burp releases methane and that’s CO2 and that spells trouble right here in River City. Conveniently, liquor and tobacco also are high carbon luxuries so denying them to the serfs will save the world and keep the workers healthier. The people bringing you this stuff really, really want to run your world. You don’t believe it, but it will be too late by the time you figure it out. It didn’t end with seatbelts and it’s not going to.


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It’s obviously a good day for Nigerian assistance but Madoff Trustee won’t listen!

Okay, it may not be as exciting as receiving an email scam from the White House (below) but Madoff Trustee Irving Picard received a Trillion Dollar offer for the balance of the Madoff firm and doesn’t want it!

Not sure if it came in an e-mail, but the bankruptcy trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff‘s securities firm moved yesterday to block a purported $100 trillion offer to buy the convicted Ponzi schemer’s company.

Madoff trustee Irving Picard received a correspondence from Ade Ogunjobi proposing an “all stock tax free transaction involving $100 trillion in stock or 400 million shares” of his company, Toks Inc., court papers said. It was unclear if Picard had to reply with a bank account number.

Picard called the plan from Ogunjobi — who’s been barred from offering bogus promissory notes over the Internet — “replete with incredible and unfounded statements” and said he offered “no facts” to back up the deal.

Picard asked Manhattan Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland to reject Ogunjobi’s offer and “dispense with a hearing. . which would unnecessarily cause the expenditure of additional time and resources on this matter.”

Ogunjobi, reached in Atlanta, insisted yesterday that his offer was real and said he would be in court for the scheduled June 2 hearing.

Okay, it’s true that some of these fellows from Nigeria have turned out to be not entirely on the up and up, but is that any reason to tar all of them with the same brush? Would it have hurt Picard to just give the man his bank account information and see what happened? I mean, a trillion dollars used to be a lot of money before Obama redefined it and it would still be enough to make all of Madoff’s victims whole and, more important, let Greenwich’s own favorite son, Walter Noel, off the hook. Come on, Irv, give the guy a chance! Walt, you might want to be in court on June 2nd when Mr. Ogunjobi appears and urge the court to take his offer. Besides, if he needs his sister rescued in order to access the funds, you’ll want to be sure Andres is ready to go. Does he still have that cool-looking safari jacket?


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E Mail from Nigeria

How’d this get through my spam filter?

chris —

I am proud to announce my nominee for the next Justice of the United States Supreme Court: Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

This decision affects us all — and so it must involve us all. I’ve recorded a special message to personally introduce Judge Sotomayor and explain why I’m so confident she will make an excellent Justice.

Please watch the video, and then pass this note on to friends and family to include them in this historic moment.

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The dumbest Democrats in the nation and Connecticut’s got ’em!

Not content with raising taxes on “the rich” of Fairfield County, Connecticut’s democrats now want our state to be the first and only state in the country to regulate hedge funds. Well why not? Tax them, regulate them, whip them, where could they go?


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Here’s how to do it in a tough market

21 Midwood, off Glenville road, is a 16,000 sq. ft. house built in 2006, on 2.5 acres. The current owners paid $8.945 for it in July, 2007, a period that might be described as the peak of the housing bubble, and claim to have renovated it without adding a single extra square foot. It must have been a hell of a renovation because they have relisted it today for $16 million, or $1,000 a foot for what they paid $559 a foot for two years ago. Wow! That’s a lot of gold plate. The part I like best about these shrewd bargainers is that, while “lighting fixtures are not included” in the price, they are “negotiable”. No one’s gonna cheat them on this one, nosiree!

UPDATE: I’d bargain hard for those light fixtures – the owner can afford to let them go. If you believe this link (and, seeing no explanation for his methodology, I don’t, necessarily, but it’s fun) Gary Rosenbach of Galleon Fund made $75-$100 million in 2008. Make him throw in some light bulbs, too. All your other favorite Greenwich traders are at that link by the way so, accurate or not, at least you know where to start when asking for your snowplowing tip next Christmas.

Run, Spiderman, it's Octopus!

Run, Spiderman, it's Octopus!


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Three so far today, all under $1,00,000 and one, Boyd Lane (off Riverside Lane, of whiffleball fame) asked just $575,000 and presumably got less than that. The highest priced one, in Cos Cob, had marked its price down to $925 before it found a buyer, and was originally priced at $1.265 in February, 2008 – that proved to be optimistic.


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Obama: “I picked Judge Sotomayor for her intellect”

“It’s not that she’s a liberal, lesbian diabetic Yale grad ‘Rican”, he insisted, “but because she’s the most qualified person in America”. Justice Clarence Thomas was unavailable for comment.


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Stephen Dent’s (3rd set of) blackmailers to appear in court

Even though they’ve already pleaded guilty, the husband and wife team who comprised the third pair of blackmailers to lay their claws into Riverside’s dumbest husband, Stephen Dent will be back in court tomorrow to address miscellaneous motions filed by their attorneys. Steve, “Dido” Dent is not expected to appear, even though he is available, having returned from Dubai just a week ago. Dent told reporters that he had travelled to that Middle Eastern country “to escape the heat here and let off a little steam there” but had decided to leave, abruptly, when he discovered a twist to Dubai’s law, the presence of adulterer’s prisons. “Bummer”, Mr. Dent was heard to mutter.

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Please – get a grip on your petty woes

Okay, so you and your wife both lost your jobs at UBS, and precious Priscilla can’t continue at the Academy next year. Boo hoo hoo. How about a little empathy for someone with real problems, like ex- Lehman number 2 (sorry children, that’s how he was referred to) Joe Gregory. Last June, even before the implosion, Dickie Fuld fired his ass. In response, a month later the poor bastard  put up for sale his weekend cottage in the Hamptons for $32.5 million  and in December, relinquished his helicopter flights and fired all 29 of his domestic workers. None of this ballast tossed overboard has saved the good ship Gregory so today he’s slashed the price of that cottage to the bone, all the way down to $27.9 million.

Sort of gives you a little perspective, eh? Like, your troubles don’t amount to a hill of beans, kid, got me? And if you still think you’ve got troubles, consider this: judging from pictures of Joe’s place (last link), that house is less than 200 yards away from the Atlantic ocean. If he doesn’t sell before the winter’s Nor’ easters sweep in, the remaining property will be able to support one of Walt’s hot dog stands, and that’s it. Oooh, that hurts!

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New price makes an old house look great

(Sky by photoshop)

(Sky by photoshop? Never mind!)

I have always liked 49 Fox Run Lane (off Zaccheus Mead), a gorgeous old house completely renovated and modernized in 2002, but was turned off by its pricing as supplied by that fellow known for his exuberant flights of fancy when it comes to some properties. This started at $10.5 million in 2002, jumped up to $11.5 in 2005 and then began its slow descent to reality helped along by a new agent, Francine Erlich, through the $8s, the $7s and now, the $6’s – barely: $6.9, but that’s a heck of a lot better than $11.5, eh?

The house is fabulous, to my taste; it has charm, grace, and all the modern stuff you could reasonably want. The yard itself may not appeal to some but to others, including me, nothing more is needed. Here’s the “problem” – there’s not much actual yard. Oh, there’s enough of a patch to throw a lacrosse ball around, but mostly you have the pool, the beautiful pond which, to my eye, looks suitable to stock with bass. I realize that for “Greenwich” waters, trout would be more appropriate, but this looks like bass water to me, and a little turbid for trout. There’s a terrace overlooking the pool and pond, a stream wending its way around the back and, off site but adjoining, a swampy – looking piece of real estate.  And that patch of backyard I mentioned. That’s all the yard I want, thank you, and all the yard you might need, but if you have five young sports stars looking to field a full soccre team, you probably want to look elsewhere.

Otherwise, check this out. It feels very much removed from Greenwich, in the best sense of that word, yet it’s just a few minutes to town. Great property and priced, I think, pretty well, finally.

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Here’s one to watch

4 Nimitz Place, in Havemeyer, is offered today for $1.875 million. New construction on a quarter acre. My impression is that prices in Havemeyer have been falling and so this one’s fate could prove reassuring to Havemeyer residents. If it sells for around its asking price, then the $875 the builder paid for the lot will put a nice floor under your own house, so to speak. If it doesn’t, watch out below.


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Off to (a very few) open houses

Looking over the open house list I see little worth spending gasoline on. There’s 3 acres of land with a tear-down house on Lake Avenue, asking $5.6. I’m sure it’s nice land, but I’m also sure there is comparable land for $2 million less, so we’ll let this one sit for awhile. There’s a house way, way north that sold for $2.5 million in 2005, failed to sell at $2.795 two years later so has now been bumped up to $3.250. That might work, but not for my clients.

Then there’s 98 Glenwood Drive, in Belle Haven, which I do want to see. It’s right across from the club’s beach, which is either a plus or a minus or perhaps a little of both, but I’d like to view it at it’s new price of $12.5 million, rather than the ridiculous price of $16.8 million its first broker pegged it at in 2007. I’ve said this before, but homeowners should resist the impulse to label as “insulting” low bids, even if one of the most successful agent in town has set your price. If a mere schnook like me can walk into your house and figure out that it’s at least 25% over-priced, perhaps a buyer who has been seeing the competition has a better idea of your home’s value than your agent does. Perhaps.

UPDATE: contempt before investigation rarely pays off. The Lake Avenue land (471?) is really gorgeous. Three acres, on a lot deep enough to build back away from the road and make the traiffic of Lake pretty much a non-issue. Is $5.6 the right price? These days, probably not and I would certainly advise some hard bargaining but for someone looking for a close-to-town location (this land is just south of the Round Hill Road intersection), it’s a pretty special parcel. There is a house n it, by the way, and you don’t have to tear it down, but whatever this goes for, it’s going for its land value – the house is free, do with it what you want.

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It can’t happen here

Home prices “tumbled” 19% last quarter, largest decline in 21 years.  Frankie Futter Farricker, just back from Block Island, reports that second home owners there are convinced that, like Greenwich, prices can’t drop, so they’re pricing their houses above last year’s prices. Sales are non-existent, of course, but at least no one is stealing those homes!


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Women – unhappier than ever

The Times reports that woman today are unhappier than men, a reversal from 1960. The columnist tosses out a number of theories on why this should be, but here’s my own: why shouldn’t they be unhappier? Thanks to the women’s lib movement, men have been told that we’re feckless, a danger to women and really more-or-less unfit for their company. If a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, as so famously proclaimed, then why shouldn’t men relax, enjoy the pleasures offered by the opposite sex and leave them to work and raise the children? Works for me.


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Sonia Sotomayor picked for U.S. Supreme Court

I know nothing about her (2nd Circuit Court of Appeals) but according tothis Wikpedia article, she was first nominated to the bench by George Bush I, on the recommendation of  Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Moynihan was one of my heroes, so how bad can it be? One humorous note: according to Wikepedia, her nomination (by Clinton) to the  Court of Appeals was resisted by certain Republicans because they feared it would give her a leg up on being nominated to the Supreme Court. Guess they were right!


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