Daily Archives: June 2, 2009

Leave the terrorists alone and they’ll solve the Guantanamo problem themselves

Taliban member commits suicide in sunny Cuba. There’s just no pleasing some folks.

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Is that a Milkbone in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

Man convicted of having sex with his dogs told he can’t own animals for two full years. Stephen Dent was unavailable for comment.

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So what’s a building lot worth in northwestern Greenwich?

Yesterday I mentioned that a 4 acre parcel on Cutler Road has dropped to $899,000. Today Liz Smith has brought on a 2 acre (in a 4 acre but there’s FAR room to build a nice house) on Hardscrabble Road for $1.299. I haven’t seen it yet but it sounds like very pretty land, surrounded by Audubon property etc. and I, for one, always thought it’d be fun to live on “Hardscrabble Road”. That or my favorite, “Poverty Hollow Road”. Both these properties are in the NW corner, Cutler is off Bedford, Hardscrabble off Riversville. Land p there used to sell for far more but not now. Interesting.

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Oh goodie, another expensive house

98 Doubling Rd

98 Doubling Rd

This was a very nice house when built in 2006, as evidenced by it selling for $6.950 in May of that year and again for $7.770 in April ’07. Now it’s back, with either an additional 2,000 sq. feet or a reconfiguring of that measurement and asking $8.450. There are practically no houses selling in that price range these days but perhaps this will be the exception.

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Former Riverside boy makes good (again)

Chase Carey (chewed bubble gum he'd find in the gutter)

Chase Carey (chewed bubble gum he'd find in the gutter)

My best friend growing up was Chase Carey, who eventually left town and  lost touch until he made the news as the News executive who wrested NFL broadcasting rights from CBS. Chase was Rupert Murdoch’s top guy back then but there was always a Murdoch child lurking in the wings to take over so Chase moved on to become CEO of Direct TV (which I believe is Murdoch related, somehow).

Well the Murdoch kids are gone (not physically, just not with Dad) and today Chase has been named as Murdoch’s Number One an dheir apparent. Congratulations, big guy – love that stash – you didn’t have that when we were ten, did you?

 UPDATE: For those parents worried that their precious won’t succeed in life without his own tumbled-marble bath en suite bedroom and 12,000 sq. ft. within which to express himself, here’s a picture of Chase’s boyhood home at 36 Summit Road: 1933 vintage, 2200 sq. feet, 4 bedrooms, one bath between Chase’s mom and dad and little brother Dougie and a sister whose name escapes me (at that age, who remembers friend’s sisters?). Funny thing is, Chase’s father was a successful businessman at that time (1957- 1964, when I knew them) and this was a perfectly typical house for a family in that income level to live in. Chase survived it, somehow- must have been the gum.

65865_101_12

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Don’t know if this means anything but it’s a bit worrying

Continental pilot reports missile or rocket fired at his plane in Texas. The report says the pilot was at 13,000 feet and the UFO came within 150 feet. It also says he’s “former military” so I suppose that means he’s less likely to mistake a wayward helium balloon for a rocket, as I might.

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If it weren’t for builders, we’d have no optimists

Stop me before I raise my price again!

Stop me before I raise my price again!

Here we have a perfectly nice house near Belle Haven on 21 Walsh Lane that was built in 2007 and first listed that year at $5.1 million. Even in a good year for sellers, this one didn’t perform as hoped and the price was dropped repeatedly, to $4.950, $4.750 and $4.650. In October of 2008, the listing was pulled but it’s back today, asking $5.1 million. “What – something happen? What’s the matter? What’d I miss?””

I don’t know, I figure the house is two years older and the market’s about 7 (i.e., 2002 prices) but this fellow is sure, just sure, that things picked up between October and June. And good for him. Maybe one of my readers who keep arguing that things are just fine will agree with this seller and buy his house. That would make them both happy.

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Bourke trial begins second day

Round Hill’s own Ric Bourke begins day two of his trial for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act but so far, not much news. Maybe later. Readers have expressed various opinions of Mr. Bourke, depending, it seems, on how they feel about running down bicyclists with an SUV, but I’ll confess to some sympathy for the man, regardless of his driving habits. Only in the good old USA is bribing corrupt foreign officials a crime. The rest of the world takes a realistic view of the world, acknowledges that not everyone can be as pure as a United States Congressman, and basically says, “if you gotta bribe to get the business, get the business.”

For instance, Bourke’s partner, Viktor Kozeny, has confessed to bribing the oil ministers of Azerbaijan (considered by connoisseurs to be the most corrupt nation in the world, if one can imagine such a thing) yet he’s sitting this trial out in the comfort of his $29 million villa in the Bahamas. The U.S. tried to extradite him but the Bahama courts ruled that Vik had done nothing illegal by their laws and in fact, ordered the U.S. (that would be us taxpayers) to reimburse his legal defense fees.

Kozeny, by the way, not only cheerfully admits to the bribery, he says that everyone in on this deal knew exactly what he was doing. By “everyone”, he not only means poor Frederic Bourke, he means another investor, former Senator Edmund Muskie. George Mitchell. Guess who is not on trial alongside Bourke? Guess who seems never have even been questioned by federal prosecutors? It was a Republican Justice Department that brought this case, so I think this suggests that political power trumps mere wealth, every time.

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North Street’s Dead Man’s Row keeps claiming victims

70019_101_12A phenomenon that puzzled many of us in town, realtors and homeowners alike, was the exuberant piling onto North Street by spec builders. The road is crowded, noisy and, now that all the grand houses have been torn down, a pretty plebeian address. But pile on they did, and now the street’s littered with hugely expensive, unwanted junk (albeit beautiful junk in the eyes of their builders). This beauty at 504 North Street, on the corner of Dingletown, provides just the latest example of the woes of those builders who ignored the map marking,” hic sunt dracones”. A great old, pink stucco house from the 30s was torn down to make way for this baby, 14,000 feet of God knows what style and a price tag, in 2007, of $12.960 million. It’s been slashed and slashed again, without effect, and today the unhappy speculator has lopped off still another million – you can now enjoy this splendor for just $7.999 million. My suggestion, and it’s only a suggestion, is that if you really must have this house, wait a bit longer – your patience will be rewarded.

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I know, Teacher, I know!

hummerBusiness Insider reports that GM has reached a tentative deal to unload its Hummer division, and the blog asks who would be dumb enough to invest in a brand for which demand has dropped off a cliff. It’s obvious the author is unfamiliar with Greenwich home sellers, because I know any number of such types who, as they loll around the pool of their unsold house, would believe it was only a short matter of time before the world righted itself and brought prices and demand back to where they ought to be. David Stockman may have soured on the automotive world, but there are a number of commentators on this blog who are ready to go. Where’ s Mad Monkey these days?

 

UPDATE: It’s not Mad Monkey who’s buying this dog, it’s those loveable Chinese, God bless their hearts!. Remember when the Japanese were buying America? Turned out to be our revenge for Pearl Harbor. I don’t recall any recent injuries the Chinese have done us, so perhaps we’re getting in first licks. In any event, thanks for some of our money back, chumps!

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Inventory moves

Three Putnam Hill, unit 4-E, a top floor, renovated two bedroom, was originally listed for $455,000 back in September and sold yesterday for $350,000. Prices at the Hill are dropping bad.

25 Dorchester, in Riverside, sold new for $2.150 million five years ago, was put up for sale a year ago May at the silly price of $2.950 and eventually dropped to $1.999 – it went to contract yesterday for even less.

40 Sawmill, also new, sold in June,2006 for $6,000,000 and was relisted last September for $5.995 million. Its price has been dropping steadily since then and yesterday it dropped again to $4.995, or a cool million less than it was worth three years ago. Someone would have been better off renting at $33,000 a month and being able to walk away last year, when they wanted to. But nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

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