Daily Archives: October 21, 2009

Shades of Watergate

Oooh, Raj, is that a hot tip or are you just glad to see me?

Oooh, Raj, is that a hot tip or are you just glad to see me?

Secret informant in Galleon Group’s scandal was a guy named “Deep Shah” . No points for originality here.

The former Moody’s junior analyst — who has been identified by someone familiar with the matter as 27-year-old Deep Shah — denied in an interview Wednesday that he passed any confidential information about the takeover. Reached in Mumbai, he said: “I don’t know anything about this.”

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Is Wells Fargo toast?

This Financial Times analyst doesn’t think much of their prospects in commercial real estate. The bank’s exposure to residential real estate is relatively tiny (see pie chart in link) though here in Greenwich, they were and are a pretty large presence. I’ve been focused more on the regional banks who are in trouble: Wilton, Darien/Rowayton and my favorite whipping post, Patriot. They will fall, if they fall, from exposure to bad construction loans which were not syndicated – the losses stayed at home.

In the meantime, rumors persist – in fact, they got louder today – that at least one regional is the target of a major federal criminal investigation and arrests are coming. I think I know enough about libel to avoid it, so no names here until I see a few bankers led out in manacles (they, and ankle monitors, will soon be the fashion accessories of the decade; that’s a free tip, Tommy). But if Galleon Group, a highly solvent firm, couldn’t last five days after its leader was charged, how long will a bankrupt bank stick around? I sense portfolio dump.

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With maybe a little help for Ireland to get his cottage’s price back up

Senator Dodd urges continued government intervention in housing market to keep prices up. Not so long ago, the Man from Norwich was weeping crocodile tears over the plight of the poor who couldn’t afford to own their own homes. Now he’d like to keep those prices unaffordable but with government subsidies, of course, to put people into houses they can’t afford. It’s a win-win for everybody, except for the dwindling percentage of people who still pay taxes.

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Police headquarters open next week

Greenwich CT Police headquarters, Steamboat Rd

Greenwich CT Police headquarters, Steamboat Rd

On time and on budget, I believe, but what did we pay: $60 million?

Norwalk had to buy the land they built their new station on in 2005 yet still did the job for $24 million. Norwalk, of course, has real crime to address and so doesn’t need training rooms for classes in spotting cellphone users and stop sign violators. They also don’t have built in espresso machines in the Chief’s and his Lieutenants’ offices, but that’s probably because they don’t like coffee. And no pool – sauna, either. They can’t swim and just like our own cops, don’t like to work up a sweat.

On a more encouraging note, President Obama has praised our force, saying that, thanks to TARP and sharp policing, the GPD has “saved or prevented” 1,134 crimes. John Meynard Keynes could not be reached for comment.

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Hanging on apron strings

(Not) Andy Madoff

(Not) Andy Madoff

Naked man arrested for indecency in his own kitchen. 5;30 AM, up making coffee, mother and her daughter see him from his front lawn (!) and call police.

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Learning from other’s experience

When Bernie Madoff went down last December 11th his largest co-conspirator, Fairfield Greenwich Group, kept its website up for days, allowing ghouls like me to capture images of its promises of due diligence. That will prove a mistake in the years of litigation FGG now faces.

Galleon Group will not repeat Walt Noel’s mistake, as Business Insider discovered when its editor attempted to access their page and got this: (Bess Levin suggests that they’ve taken down the page pursuant to a really cool re-do, but I think she’s being funny)

Galleon

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Slow sales day

Not a thing of import showing up as a transaction today but the one sale that was reported surprises me, a little:

14 Relay Place

14 Relay Place

14 Relay Place, a tiny old house on the Mill Pond in Cos Cob (off of Mead) was listed for $750,000 and sold for $705,000. I am the least likely person to denigrate the charms of Cos Cob, but this place suffers from a fair bit of NOISE FROM I-95and is in a condition that would make me want to invest in Home Depot stock. Plus, its assessment is just $495,000. But as any real estate agent will tell you, it’s all about location, location location and someone obviously felt that this location justified its price, God bless them.

 

409 W. Lyon Farm

409 W. Lyon Farm

On the other hand, one location that is rapidly losing its allure is Lyons farm. This unit at 409 was sold for $560,000 in 1996 and sold again, without improvements, for $915,000 in 2000. The seller this time listed it for $1.195 million in February, not a crazy idea, but it hasn’t sold and today it was marked down to $1.095. I’m just guessing, but it looks as though this may eventually sell at pre-2000 prices. Hmmm.

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Riverside’s (and Fox’s) Chase Carey: thanks for the PR, Obama

Chase doesn’t sound as contrite as the White House would like him to be.

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My goodness but we are getting change!

USA Today: Obama administration urges UN resolution excepting blasphemy from free speech provisions. Liberals were horrified that our country wasn’t loved and respected by the likes of the Arabs, Castro and Ghadaffi. Obama is fixing that.

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Would that be because you have no shame?

Goldman executive defends bonuses at ethics debate.

Defending lavish bonuses expected at the U.S. investment bank, Brian Griffiths said he was not “ashamed” of his bank’s compensation package.

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Hey Andy, did Hoops know about this?

So why do you have to work late tonight, Andy?

So why do you have to work late tonight, Andy?

Madoff offices were known as “The North Pole” for all the cocaine being spilled there, and the atmosphere was usually enhanced with drugs, booze and topless wimmin. I guess if you aren’t distracted by actually working, you have more time for partying.

Another tidbit I wasn’t aware of: Bernie’s new chef and pal in prison is a child molester. I wonder if he snuggles with old men too?

UPDATE: I haven’t read the article, but I wonder if Bloomebrg mentions Bernie’s office as part of its article, “Top Ten Ways to find Joy at Work”?

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Next thing you know, they’ll tell us global warming was over-hyped, too.

CBS: Swine flu not as prevalent as feared. D’oh. (h/t, Fly).

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That was quick, as expected

Galleon Group liquidating. That doesn’t mean Raj Raj will need to sell his house on Round Hill – he still has a billion dollars or so to tide him over during any upcoming down time, but if he’s going to be away for awhile, he may not need or want a weekend getaway. Perhaps he can assemble a real estate package with Walt, Ric Bourke and Dom DeVito and offer a three for one sale – it works for Jos. A. Banks.

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Why is Dick Fuld flying commercial coach?

The last of the Lehman jets has been sold. No word on whether all of those nice linen antimacassars Cathy Fuld bought for the executive chairs went with them, but I’m fearful they did. What will she do; what will she do?

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What kind of insider trader loses money?

Turns out that Raj Raj lost more money on the insider trades than he made. The Times points out that insider trading is insider trading regardless of profitability, but the lack of gain undercuts the prosecution case that the information being passed along was “material” – an essential element of the crime. At the least, the article suggests, this could cut down any potential prison term, which are usually calculated in part on the gain the defendant made. Interesting.

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