Daily Archives: October 18, 2009
Germans go nuts as incandescent bulbs disappear from store shelves. The Germans are an orderly people, Americans less so, and when Americans realize that Congress has foisted this crap product on us, rendering recessed lighting useless and exposing us to $40 bulbs that require hazmat teams to dispose of, they’re finally going to understand what’s wrong with a powerful, centralized government. Or that’s my hope, anyway.
In the meantime, EU officials profess not to be concerned.
“You can . . . look at it the same way that you’re looking at improvements of washing machines and fridges, where consumers don’t even notice that the fridges [have] become more efficient,” said Andras Toth, a policy officer in the EU’s energy directorate.
The difference, Andras, is that efficient washing machines and refrigerators work better than the appliances they’re replacing. CFLs do not – they are the next low-water toilet, only far, far worse.
In response to my post below about Greenwich’s beloved felon, Peter Brant, a reader informs me that there are two Peter Brants, both of whom are ex-cons but the one who got whacked for stock fraud was not the one who lives in Greenwich.
So I’ve been looking further into our Brants and my goodness, they are not a happy bunch. Stephanie’s a pain pill and spending junkie, son Ryan was recently fined $7.3 million by the SEC for his own bit of stock fraud and who knows what else? I’ll do some more digging and report back.
UPDATE: Here’s the federal complaint for tax evasion committed by Peter Brant in 1990. Don’t any of the rich like to pay taxes on their art work?
UPDATE II: now I really feel bad – I made the same mistake the New York Times did.
Published: Saturday, June 9, 1990
A picture yesterday with an article about Peter M. Brant, who was sentenced to prison for tax evasion in Bridgeport, Conn., was published in error. It showed a different Peter Brant – Peter N. Brant, who was sentenced in 1988 to eight months in prison for insider trading.
Take-Two Interactive designs a very profitable father-and-son game.
Peter M. Brant is a guy who seems to have everything. The NewYork Times called him “a Donald Trump with taste” for his elegant real estate projects. Brant owns trendy magazines like Interview and Art in America. He co-founded the Greenwich (Conn.) Polo Club and is married to former Playboy and Victoria’s Secret model Stephanie Seymour.
One blemish on this stellar curriculum vitae, other than a few polo suspensions for arguing with the umps, is Brant’s guilty plea in 1990 to charges related to tax evasion. It resulted from reportedly having his company pay for $1 million in jet travel, silk sheets, scalp treatments and servants at his Greenwich estate. Brant was sentenced to three months.
Now it turns out he was closely involved in his son Ryan’s business, $1 billion (sales) game maker Take-Two Interactive, which has had its own accounting problems. Ryan founded the maker of Grand Theft Auto in 1993, at age 21.
Little known to investors, Peter was the top shareholder when Take-Two went public in 1997, controlling 25% through Bridgehampton Investors LP, of which Ryan was a general partner. Owning another 31% of Take-Two via Bridgehampton was the profit-sharing plan of Brant-Allen Industries, a company Peter owned with partner Joseph Allen (who pled guilty to the same charges as Brant in 1990). Dad and Ryan seemed to have a nice relationship. Peter earned 14% interest on a $1.6 million note from Take-Two and has been getting $43,000 a month renting Manhattan digs to Take-Two.
Last December the SEC said it would fine the company, Ryan and three others for financial reporting violations. A month later Take-Two said it would restate financials back to 1999. The stock took a hit.
Turns out, in January 1999 Bridgehampton distributed its Take-Two shares to Peter and his profit-sharing plan. Between then and 2003 they unloaded the holdings, reaping $50 million or so, based on Take-Two’s share price in the teens during that period.
Ryan has benefited nicely, selling $20 million of shares between August 1997 and last December that cost him $3 million, Thomson Financial estimates.Take-Two’s shares rebounded in March when Ryan stepped down as chairman and director.
Father, like son, didn’t reply to requests for comment.
(Bumped) Thanks to reader Art Lover, we can share with you a picture of Peter Brant’s latest contribution to Greenwich and the art world, “Santa with butt plug”, 24-foot high and currently ensconced up on the polo fields. I’m sure Brant’s a nice fellow and, other than being a tad forgetful about paying taxes, a shrewd businessman, but do you ever wonder how someone dumb enough to buy this sort of “art” was smart enough to accumulate the money to buy it in the first place? I do.
While the Selectmen candidates voiced cautious approval of the concept of abolishing the position of town Tax Collector, two of the three tax collector candidates are ardently opposed while the third says he has no opinion but will look into it. Uh huh.