Daily Archives: March 22, 2010

There’s always something fun happening in town

Dick Blumenthal visits Sportsplex

An anonymous reader submits the following:

My wife tells me there was consternation in the ladies changing room at Sportsplex about 7.30 this (Monday) evening when a cross dresser was noticed. The guy, in horse terms, is apparently “an entire” with shoulder-length red hair. No breasts. Two women confronted him; apparently the guy registered at the club as a female & management knows the score but is flummoxed. Some gals apparently parade around the changing room nude. Lawsuits ahead? You’d think the guy would have the decency to get docked first…..

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Here’s a surprise: Blumenthal holding back suing over ObummerKare

While our intrepid Greenwich Time calls him “the quintessential activist attorney general”, Blumenthal in fact has never initiated or taken the lead in class action litigation. He always waits for other state attorneys to sue Microsoft, Big Tobacco, etc., and then, when they are successful, jumps in to claim credit on a “me-too” basis. So naturally, he is holding off responding to the latest affront to his fellow citizens’ freedom and liberty, preferring to see how the public reacts and, doubtless, whether other states get anywhere in their suits. What a guy, what a champion.

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Oh, Goodie, higher taxes coming our way!

Connecticut Supreme Court rules 4-3 that the state’s constitution demands equal results among school children. We already spend more per pupil in Hartford ($19,000, last time I checked) than anywhere else, but kids with single, teen-aged mothers and no fathers don’t do well in school – surprise! No one is suggesting that we address the 70% illegitimacy rate in our capital, so plan on still more money shoveled to the teachers’ union. And where will that money come from? Go ahead: guess.

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Maybe women need a mind make-over

Ads featuring larger-sized women make women feel as bad about themselves as ads using anorexics. It’s all in your heads, ladies – just ask any balding, chubby male – we all think we’re God’s gift to women!

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A new Teri Buhl article

While Greenwich Time editor Dave McCucumber stil refuses to provide her with copies of her own stories (they’re ours,” he insists, “and we can do what we like with them” – like erase them – that’s a nice way to help a fired reported find new work, Dave), Teri graciously sent along this article that would have appeared over on the Elm Street rag, were she still there.

J.C. Flowers Exec says FDIC will allow single private investment firms to buy failed banks this year

by Teri Buhl

The FDIC is meeting with private equity titans today to talk about the
rules around private investment firms buying failed banks. Reuters was first
to report the pow-wow and quoted industry sources who said they don’t expect
the FDIC to make big changes to the rules <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62G50O20100317>
. Some of the tension between the FDIC, the OCC, and the private equity firms
centers around the percent of ownership individual P.E. firms can own in
banks and the higher levels of capital they are currently required to have
if they want to buy a bank. The FDIC would not admit the date of the
private meeting with industry financiers but told Reuters they will ‘issue additional clarifications’ about
the rules.

Two weeks ago Dow Jones held a distressed debt restructuring and turnaround
summit in New York where industry leaders talked about deal flow, economic
conditions, and regulatory or legal issues involved in buying bankrupt
companies. Industry speakers second the view that there will definitely be
more opportunity for private  investment firms to buy failed banks because
of the number of banks expected to continue to fail this year.

John Oros, managing director at J.C. Flowers & Co. who runs a fund that
invests in financial firms, told this reporter in an interview at the
conference that he believes in 2010 single private equity firms will be
allowed to buy failed banks. Oros is the first industry vet we’ve heard say
that.

Oros reminded us that his firm tried to bid twice for the assets of IndyMac
when the FDIC placed the failed bank out for bid in 2008 but were turned
down. Since his firm wasn’t allowed to buy the bank on their own, it ended up working with a group of other P.E. firms
<http://ml-implode.com/viewnews/2008-12-26_EXCLUSIVEFDICtoSellIndyMacToPriva
teEquityFirm.html> including Dune Capital, Paulson & Co, George Soros, and
Michael Dell’s investment firm to successfully win the bid to buy IndyMac.
It was the first time we’d seen the regulators allow a group of private investors to
buy a failed bank and many industry veterans thought they got a sweet-heart
of a loss sharing deal. At last weeks industry conference there was
consensus that margins on buying failed banks have shrunk since last year,
but the opportunity is still a viable economic investment for distressed
investors.

For now it’s a waiting game as the FDIC works to find the best possible
solution for how to unload the droves of toxic assets it’s taken on from
loss sharing in failed bank deals and prepares for future failures.
 
In an interview last week, Connecticut Banking Commissioner Howard Pitken told this reporter that they are carefully watching the commercial loan portfolios of banks in Fairfield County. He told this reporter there is concern about default levels in some local banks but they are trying to get ahead of the problems before failures occur. He would not name which banks he is currently worried could fail because of their troubled commercial loan book. Patriot Bank and Darien Rowayton Bank have both needed private investor funding as they neared collapse, but if they were seized and placed under FDIC conservatorship it is unlikely a single private equity firm would have been able to take control of the failed banks.

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That assessed value benchmark is looking better and better

Certainly for the lower end of the price range and, I suspect, the higher end too.

24 Nimitz Place

24 Nimitz Place, a Havemeyer ranch in good condition, was priced at $785, sold in 24 days for $785, and its assessed value (70% of estimated 2005 market value) was $784,300.

718 North Street , 4 + acres with a house in need of renovation but certainly not a tear down, sold for $3.583 million in September, 2001, came back in the low $4s in 2008, finally dropped to $3.3 million and is reported as “pending” today. I’m guessing it is selling for under $3,000,000, which would place it close to its assessed value of $2.5 million.

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Sometimes, a little objectivity can be invaluable

18 Ballwood, in Old Greenwich, is a good house on a great street, but when it came on back in October, 2008 asking $4.999 million, I thought its owner/agent was a little too close to her house to price it objectively. The market having spoken, it’s marked down today to $3.250 million, much closer to its assessed value of $2.571 and much closer to reality.

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Waaaa!

Do you know who I am?

Reader BoredatWork sends along this amusing story from Friday’s Greenwich Time in which the travails and woes of Jerome and Susan Davis, 11 Baldwin Farms North, are detailed. The Davises, who live in an 8,900 sq. foot, 15 room mansion that the town assigns a fair market value to of $8,500,000 are just spitting mad that they had to wait out the restoration of power all the way until Friday. They cooled their heels at the Delamar, so one presumes that their discomfort was limited, but they don’t care.

“They only reason we have our power back now is because we went to Town Hall repeatedly to complain” Mr. Davis claims. Susan, not to be outdone in the outrage department, bemoans the loss of her Sub-Zero’s food, and plans to sue to recover her $250 insurance deductible.
I imagine the presence of the Davises and other like-minded citizens at Town Hall all last week, all demanding service, NOW! (“we pay taxes,” Susan Davis muses, as though that sets her apart from lesser folk), must have sped things along quite nicely and eased the work of those trying to repair the town.
So God bless you Jerry and Sue – I’m delighted you’re back atop your universe.

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9 Bennett Street

This is a nice house on a good street south of the village in Old Greenwich, but with just three bedrooms, its 2008 price of $1.999 was too much for the market to respond. It dropped today to $1.689, and it looks much better.

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How many CL&P employees does it take to restore power to a Jewish mother?

Oh, don't worry - just go have your fun without me!

None: “I’ll just sit here in the dark”. Judging from some complaints I’ve been hearing, we could use more Jewish mothers in town. You’d think these people had no idea that Fairfield County was wiped out by the storm – it’s all about me, it seems. The “do you know who I am?” syndrome was rife. Hmm.

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More on Teri Buhl’s firing

Not content with firing her, Greenwich Time has also completely erased her presence from its archives. It’s as though she was never there – I assume they’ve also hired an old Stalinist to airbrush her out of any staff photographs, too. I’m not sure when Greenwich Time lost its caojones, but it was a long time ago. God forbid anyone should take offense at anything they print. They deep sixed Sarah Littman awile ago after her liberal point of view hurt someone’s feeljngs and I know they have self-censored themselves for a long time.

So where did this passion and devotion to “happy news” come from? Beats me, but it sure makes for a dull paper.

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One sale, one price reduction

After three years on the market and after starting at $1.995 million, 77 Sheephill Road sold last week for $1.337. Assessment was just $1 million. This is a nice house, but a three bedroom on Sheephill was never going to command that first price. Three years is a long time to take to discover that.

4 Aiken Road

4 Aiken Road, on the other hand, must be owned by a faster learner. It’s been on the market for just 13 months and has dropped now from $3.95 million to $2.995. The house is okay, but way out on Round Hill Road (592, or thereabouts), and $4 million was a stretch. Its assessment is $2.5, so today’s new price seems more reasonable.

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