Daily Archives: March 1, 2010

James Glover, ex Greenwich Capital fraudster?

Nasty gossip about Mr. Glover circulating in the financial press. I can’t say I know him but I do know a ton of GC alumni and I appeal to them: truth to these rumors? Let me know, anonymously or on the record, as you wish.

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Stockton, home of University of the Pacific wins title: most miserable city in California

Hey, civic pride’s a wonderful thing.

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Don’t tell George!

Chilean earthquake probably changed earth’s axis. Iran will doubtless breathe easier.

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The usual cost of a DUI is a fine and loss of license but I suppose the death penalty is also a deterrent

Just two beers, I swear!

Drunk driver knocks over utility pole, pees on downed wire and old Sparky goes to work. Whoopsie daisy! I can only hope he worked for the IRS.

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ABC News firing all its reporters, closing its bureau offices

“We just make all this shit up anyway,” ABC New’s President said. “So we can cut the pretense and save a whole bunch of money.”

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You won’t read this in the New York Times

Professor admits lying, manipulating data in global climate fraud. “But other than that, I stand by the facts.”

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All your bases are belong to us

WSJ: Congressmen collect a $250 per diem for their junkets and keep the change. The law says they have to return the money, our elected leaders say, screw you.

“If that was the policy, you could never get many members traveling,” said Rep. Solomon Ortiz, a Texas Democrat. Mr. Ortiz said he had never returned any money.

You want to stay home and save us money, Mr. Congressman, that’s okay with me.

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Pete Stark (D. California) will “let the Ethics report speak for itself”

I guess he knows his seat and his ass are safe where they are – in most parts of the country, the guy would be tarred and feathered and ridden from office but he represents California.

Stark has a history of eccentric statements, including an infamous line in 2007 about the Iraq war in which he accused Republicans of sending soldiers “to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.” He also called Republicans “chickenhawks” who denied children health care.

Stark was recently cleared for allegedly taking advantage of a tax credit for Maryland residents. He was accused of abusing the homestead tax credit on his Maryland home — a credit that limits tax assessment increases on a primary residence. Stark’s primary residence is in California, but he filled out the application for his home in Maryland.

The interview with the Office of Congressional Ethics, which refers cases to the House ethics committee, didn’t go terribly well, according to the report. Stark initially said he didn’t know what the tax credit was, but later said he did not want to discuss what he knew. Then he later said he knew the application specified one must be registered to vote in Maryland to apply. He acknowledged that neither he nor his wife are Maryland voters.

Stark originally said he did not recall completing the application online. Later in the interview, the memorandum says, he said he knew he completed the application.

Brian Cook, a spokesman for Stark, said Stark’s office would not comment on the report.

“We are letting the ethics committee report speak for itself,” Cook said Monday morning.

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IRS “attack” – just the usual hysterics

A suspicious substance was discovered – these always turn out to be Kitty Litter or such – and a couple of employees had panic attacks.

OGDEN, Utah — Hazardous materials crews were called Monday to an Internal Revenue Service building in Utah after a suspicious substance was found.

The FBI’s Salt Lake City division says it responded to a possible hazardous material threat at the building in Ogden.

The FBI says parts of the building were evacuated. It says some people had medical emergencies but that they did not “appear to be related to this incident.”

Video on the Web site of KSL-TV showed two people being taken out on stretchers.

Weber Fire District Deputy Chief Paul Sullivan told The Associated Press that the medical emergencies were coincidental to the discovery of the suspicious substance.

He said two people who already had medical issues happened to have episodes while authorities were on the scene and were treated. He said he couldn’t release any additional information.

As of Monday afternoon, several emergency vehicles had left the scene. One hazardous materials response truck remained along with one fire engine.

The two- or three-story building is in an industrial area and is surrounded by a fence in Ogden, about 35 miles north of Salt Lake City. No signs on the building indicate it is an IRS facility.

The FBI says its investigation is ongoing and it couldn’t release further details.

When the IRS starts worrying about my heart rate, I’ll start worrying about theirs.

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Nothing sexy about maintaining infrastructure

Too bad, because that’s how people die, whether on the Mianus bridge or, in the case of France, when Napoleon-era sea walls give way. Government really doesn’t have all that much to do, legitimately, but it ignores its basic duties while redistributing wealth.

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Here’s a kid who needs a (good) lawyer

Teenager who accidentally killed his reform school guard while wrestling sentenced to seven years. They were horsing around, the guard put the kid in a headlock, the kid slammed his knee into the guard’s chest and killed him. Seven years? Crazy.

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I blame global warming!

Shark attacks in U.S. declined last year.

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Madoff “net winners” just became “net losers”

A Bankruptcy Judge sided with Madoff Trustee Irving Picard today and sustained his decision to deny recovery for those Madoff victims who took out more than they took in. I understand the logic, but it’s going to cause real hardship and even destitution for those people who have been living on their “investment returns” from Bernie. No easy, just answer here, I fear.

A bankruptcy judge on Monday ruled that certain investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme aren’t entitled to recoveries from the fraud.

The ruling, by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland in Manhattan, affirmed the view of a trustee who is recovering assets for victims of the multibillion-dollar fraud, Irving Picard. Mr. Picard has said that investors who withdrew more money from Mr. Madoff’s investment firm than they put in—making them “net winners” from the fraud—shouldn’t be entitled to recovered funds.

Lawyers for the so-called net winners said they would appeal. That sets up a showdown later this year in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. At a hearing last month, Judge Lifland said that application of a prior legal ruling cited by both sides was unclear and would need to be resolved by the higher court.

The ultimate decision will determine how the pot of money being collected in the aftermath of the fraud is divvied up. A lawyer for Mr. Picard previously said the trustee might be able to recover as much as $10 billion for investors, or about half the amount they collectively lost from the fraud, and far more than the $1.5 billion currently recovered.

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Ah, broker lingo!

379 Round Hill Rd

This looks like a beautiful old (1840) house but with just one acre remaining in the R-4 zone, I’m not too excited about its $3.550 price. But I did like its description:

FABULOUS COMPOUND W/GUEST HSE & GARAGE APT & POOL. WITH HIGH CEILINGS, INCREDIBLE WARMTH AND A PIECE DE RESISTANCE KITCHEN W/DOUBLE ISLAND & ADJACENT FAMILY RM, THIS HOME IS SIMPLY SENSATIONAL. THIS IS A TREASURE AND A HIDDEN OASIS OF PRIVACY AND OPULENCE WHICH PROVIDED UNTOLD FAMILY ENJOYMENT MINUTES FROM THE CHARM OF CENTRAL GREENWICH. A TRUE PLEASURE TO SHOW.

The house sold in 2000 and again in 2002, so all that “untold family enoyment” was pretty short lived.

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Finally!

FBI raids IRS office. Almost a hundred years too late, but it’s a start.

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Perseverence or tossing in the towel?

310 Stanwich, a nice contemporary, has been listed for sale since September 2008 and never dropped much from its first price of $3.195 – $2.695 was its resting place yet today it’s under contract. Did they quit or get their price? I’m guessing they got their price, despite an assessment of just $2.1.

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Sales activity for February, 2010

Well, better than last year, but that’s not saying much. Contracts for the month of February (single family homes) are:

2010: 22

2009: 14

2008: 38

2007: 52

2006: 57

2005: 61

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Never say die

45 Baldwin Farms South

This unwanted spec house has bobbed to the surface once again, price unchanged, and described as foillows:

GAS LANTERNS ILLUMINATES A 500′ DRIVEWAY ON 2.5 DIRECT LAKEFRONT ACS. THIS NEW 10,000+/- SF SHINGLE STYLE HAS BEEN EXQUIS DESIGN W/CUSTOM INTERIOR & MATERIALS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE. SPEC OPEN ENTERTAINMENT AREAS INTRO BY 10′ MAHOGANY ENTRY DOORS & A 26′ LIMESTONE GALLERY HALL. FIRE-LIT LIV RM, REGAL DINING RM, GOURMET KIT & GREAT RM, MULTI LEVEL WINDOWS & ENORMOUS BALCONIES CAPTURE THE WATERSIDE ROMANCE & 5 OPULENT SUITES.
I don’t know, but for a 5% commission, I’d expect to at least get subject/verb agreement, but that’s a quibble. The real problem with this house lies at the end of that 500′ driveway. It’s a back lot, approachable via swampland, and has no yard. The house is well built, if oddly laid out, but no one I’ve shown it to was interested in a house that has a murky pond (excuse me, “lakefront access”) for a back yard.
This poor builder had the misfortune to listen to a broker who advised him to list it at $9.750 million back in January of ’08 but, even after he fired him, he’s kept his price too high. It’s been priced at $5.495 million since June of last year and today it’s back again at that same price. I don’t think that will do it, gas lanterns illuminates notwithstanding.

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Catch a falling knife

8 Copper Beech

Aberdeen Construction, good builders, put up two houses in 2007 on Copper Beech. They sold No. 8 before it was finished and priced the adjoining house, number 10, at $9.450. In February, 2008 they dropped number 10’s price and sold it for $8.050. Meanwhile the buyer of number 8 had a change of plans almost as soon as he took possession and so and he too listed his house in 2007, at $9.550 but failed to drop his price as quickly as his neighbor and missed that sale.

 

So it’s been on the market for three years now and today he’s dropped it again, to $7.6 million. I’m sure that that’s far less than he paid Aberdeen, but I’m not at all sure it’s low enough yet to reflect the changed market.

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Pack your bags

Pound sterling predicted to fall 30%

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