Daily Archives: December 18, 2009

Help wanted

Police seek preppy thief. In this town? Surely they can find someone, at least during college break.


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So what happens now?

Thornburg Mortgage, a luxury mortgage lender that went belly up last April, is due in bankruptcy court February 10th for a sale hearing on its assets. Some of those assets include mortgages on unsold spec houses in Greenwich. The loans are “non-performing” meaning the builders stopped paying long ago. Thornburg didn’t pursue them – why bother? – but I suspect the new owners of those loans won’t be so accommodating. Fire sale prices coming up? Well, unlike local banks with large portfolios of Greenwich properties to protect, I’m guessing someone is going to buy these loans for pennies and sell them for dimes. That’s just my guess, but if you’ve lusted after a $9 million dollar home but couldn’t afford one, you might want to wait until February 10th or so before settling for less.

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Gone in 60 seconds

See? Tears! Bernie didn't cry and he only got 150 years!

Well, gone by New Year’s in any event. Chinese fraudster Wu Ying sentenced to death. China seems to act pretty quickly on these matters once the verdict’s in, although Wu did spend the past 2 1/2 years in prison awaiting trial.

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The Brits always say it best

Gerald Warner summarizes Copenhagen:

When your attempt at recreating the Congress of Vienna with a third-rate cast of extras turns into a shambles, when the data with which you have tried to terrify the world is daily exposed as ever more phoney, when the blatant greed and self-interest of the participants has become obvious to all beholders, when those pesky polar bears just keep increasing and multiplying – what do you do?

No contest: stop issuing three rainforests of press releases every day, change the heading to James Bond-style “Do not distribute” and “leak” a single copy, in the knowledge that human nature is programmed to interest itself in anything it imagines it is not supposed to see, whereas it would bin the same document unread if it were distributed openly.

After that, get some unbiased, neutral observer, such as the executive director of Greenpeace, to say: “This is the single most important piece of paper in the world today.” Unfortunately, the response of all intelligent people will be to fall about laughing; but it was worth a try – everybody loves a tryer – and the climate alarmists are no longer in a position to pick and choose their tactics.

But boy! Was this crass, or what? The apocalyptic document revealing that even if the Western leaders hand over all the climate Danegeld demanded of them, appropriately at the venue of Copenhagen, the earth will still fry on a 3C temperature rise is the latest transparent scare tactic to extort more cash from taxpayers. The danger of this ploy, of course, is that people might say “If we are going to be chargrilled anyway, what is the point of handing over billions – better to get some serious conspicuous consumption in before the ski slopes turn into saunas.”

This “single most important piece of paper in the world” comes, presumably, from an authoritative and totally neutral source? Yes, of course. It’s from the – er – UN Framework Committee on Climate Change that is – er – running the Danegeld Summit. Some people might be small-minded enough to suggest this paper has as much authority as a “leaked” document from Number 10 revealing that life would be hell under the Tories.

This week has been truly historic. It has marked the beginning of the landslide that is collapsing the whole AGW imposture. The pseudo-science of global warming is a global laughing stock and Copenhagen is a farce. In the warmist camp the Main Man is a railway engineer with huge investments in the carbon industry. That says it all. The world’s boiler being heroically damped down by the Fat Controller. Al Gore, occupant of the only private house that can be seen from space, so huge is its energy consumption, wanted to charge punters $1,200 to be photographed with him at Copenhagen. There is a man who is really worried about the planet’s future.

If there were not $45trillion of Western citizens’ money at stake, this would be the funniest moment in world history. What a bunch of buffoons. Not since Neville Chamberlain tugged a Claridge’s luncheon bill from his pocket and flourished it on the steps of the aircraft that brought him back from Munich has a worthless scrap of paper been so audaciously hyped. There was one good moment at Copenhagen, though: some seriously professional truncheon work by Danish Plod on the smellies. Otherwise, this event is strictly for Hans Christian Andersen.

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They like me! They really like me!

I haven’t had time to actually watch it, but what a wonderful thing to receive in my email just now. My friend at the White House says this was prepared just for me, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind my sharing it with friends.

chris —

You’ve been an incredible part of this movement this year. So some volunteers got together and helped us make a holiday video, just for you, chris fountain.

You can watch it here:


It was a blast making it. Enjoy!

Happy holidays,

Mitch and the entire OFA community


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Shadow inventory climbs 55%

Reader Shoeless (or shoeless reader, depending on his current economic status) sends along this link to a Bloomberg story.

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) — The number of homes that may be in the pipeline for a sale because of foreclosure and delinquency climbed about 55 percent to 1.7 million at the end of September, according to estimates by First American CoreLogic.

The “shadow inventory” rose from 1.1 million a year earlier. Such propertiesinclude those taken over by banks and mortgage companies and those where the loans are at least 90 days delinquent, the Santa Ana, California-based research firm said in a report today. The number of unsold homes listed for sale was 3.8 million in September, down from 4.7 million a year earlier, First American said.

Unemployment in the U.S. is helping drive foreclosures, which may slow the real estate recovery as more houses come on the market. Total inventory — including the shadow supply — was 5.5 million in September, down from 5.7 million a year earlier.

“While the visible month’s supply has decreased and is beginning to approach more normal levels, adding in the pending supply reveals there is still quite a bit of inventory that will impact the housing market for the next few years,” First American said.

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Sob story

WSJ: GM winding down SAAB after talks collapse. What a sad ending to such a funky company. I loved the early, 2-stroke models (they may be coming back)  that required a can of oil in the gas tank, I hated the later ones after GM took over. I had two of the latter and they sucked, so I suppose justice has been served, but those old ones! Damn, they were fun. One of them saved the life of a close friend of mine when he attended Williams and drove one into the air, through a telephone pole and ended up flipping, end-over-end, a couple of times. No, I was not driving, in fact I was safely at Boston College at the time. The car to the left looks pretty much like my brother Anthony’s Saab, I think, which met its demise when someone (again, not me!) took apart the transmission and left it in cardboard boxes in our garage. And so it goes.


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This is NOT an Onion posting

Police officer: Our salaries are outrageous. Drum that man out of headquarters, taser him, then shoot him!

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Shut up and eat your pemmican!

(What would Jim [Bridger] do?) “Life threatening” conditions tomorrow because, gosh, it’s going to snow! We’re turning into a nation of wussies, thanks to the media and its penchant for sensationalizing everything, including the weather. At least our local delegates to Copenhagen will have a snowy “welcome home” to greet them. Can Lear jets land in a foot of snow?


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I suspect the warm feeling will be fleeting

I did it for the polar bears!

Obama: “Meaningful” agreement reached in Copenhagen. Hold onto your wallets.

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When rats turn on each other

Wanna buy a house?

I realize that times are tough, but this is getting ridiculous. A few months ago, an Old Greenwich real estate office was spending its energy trying to avoid paying a commission on a simple rental listing. Today, a Ridgefield realtor moved up a notch to a full sale on 15 Linwood Avenue, a bank-owned property that, unlike any of its other Connecticut properties, was never listed on either Greenwich’s or Connecticut’s MLS. While it was listed on Craig’s list by a New Jersey -based  agent with the delightful name of “Miami Joe”,  I wonder whether the bank trying to recoup its losses on this house will feel that that was a proper way to market it?

In any event, the deal closed today (at $1.167 million for anyone keeping track of comparable sales out there) and the lawyers are holding onto the commission due while I sue. Hey, I’ve got time, and the money isn’t going anywhere, but this whole real estate business is getting interesting – we used to scratch and claw each other to get clients and listings, now the real fighting begins after the sale.


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Buy a farm, an arsenal and hunker down

A number of readers sent me a link to this Jay Leno video of idiots but the web traffic yesterday prevented me from logging on to see it. It’s available now, and if you have a strong stomach and don’t care about the quality of people who will be deciding your future in the coming years, go watch it.


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More bullshit on Patriot Bank

Greenwich Time logs in with a hard-hitting piece of Patriot’s sale to a new investor. Here are the white-washed bits:

The new holding company also indicated it intends to bring in experts to help run the bank, although it did not say whether Carrazza would replace the current management. [Would you keep the jerks who blew hundreds of millions of dollars loaning good money to bad people and bad property? Neither will Carrazza – Ed.]

PNBK Holdings and the bank originally signed a letter of intent for the control change in July, but Patriot National’s board told Carrazza in October it was considering a rival bid worth more money [fat chance – Ed.]

which prompted Carrazza to sue in New York and Connecticut.The lawsuit in New York has been or very soon shall be withdrawn and the one in Connecticut is being settled with an agreement between the parties.

In previous reports, bank executives said Patriot National sought an infusion of capital because of concerns over a portfolio filled with Greenwich construction loans that had to be carried on the books longer than anticipated because contractors were not able to sell their projects after completion. Because of the loans, the bank grew concerned it was coming too close to its regulatory capital minimums. But Patriot National remains adequately capitalized, officials said.

I don’t know – I assume that Greenwich Time’s lawyers are worried about law suits, but since I’m pretty much judgement-proof, here’s my read on the situation: Patriot’s been operating under a consent agreement with the FDIC for over a year, so “concerned that it was coming to close to its regulatory capital requirements” really means, “told by regulators that they had violated their capital requirements and needed new money or they’d be shut down”. What’s so hard about reporting a fact?

“Greenwich construction loans that had to be carried on the books longer than anticipated” really means that the bank made loans to, say, Dom DeVito (currently doing 52 months in Otisville), paying him $6 million in advance for a dream house at 516 R0und Hill Road.The loan is there, the house is not. I like Dom, but I wouldn’t loan $6 million to a 2X felon on his promise to build something nice. Patriot did.  Baldwin Farms South, not a Dom project but just as crazy, was also fully-funded by Patriot and just as worthless. Etc. If Patriot, a local bank, ever heard of the “know your customer rule”, it paid no attention. Nothing in its Greenwich portfolio will ever approach what the money it sunk into it. Total loss. And that’s the real business report this morning.


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Coffee hour in Old Greenwich?

A number of readers have written me to say they’d like to meet the other commentators on this blog. What do you think about a coffee meet at, say, Arcadia during the week before or after Christmas? People like Walt could, and probably should, stay anonymous, but I think it would be fun to meet up with the various readers of this nonsense who seem so disparate in so many ways. I’d spring for coffee if people want to come. Any interest? If so, report in and I’ll see what I can do.


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Winter wonderland, courtesy of tax payers

If retail sales are down at the toney shoppes, blame Copenhagen, where every rich liberal in the free world has travelled, at other’s expense to frolic in the snow, sound serious and “buy furry hats”. What fun!

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Bad news for Connecticut MacDonalds

Michael Moore threatens to boycott Connecticut because of Lieberman. So I guess we won’t see him at the I-95 MacDonald’s salad bar. Too bad.

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So, wait to shop on Thursday?

WSJ: Big chains holding line on discounts this weekend. It will be fascinating to see who wins this Mexican standoff, buyers or sellers. Kinda like the Greenwich real estate market, no?

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