Daily Archives: October 20, 2010
Bob Guccione dead of lung cancer at 79. A nasty man, but he did contribute one great line to our English language: “I never believed these letters were true until …”
According to the article linked to, he failed to see the threat of the Internet in delivering porn, and lost everything. Que sera sera.
The fellow paid $4.1 billion for Countrywide Mortgage, thereby exposing his Bank of America shareholders to ruinous liability and skipped out in 2009, just ahead of the posse. I don’t recall his exit package but I’m confident that he’s wallowing in lucre while BOA shareholders are just beginning to realize they’ve been screwed. What I don’t understand about all these awful executives, Lewis being merely the poster boy for the looters, is that I am ready and available to run any company into the ground just as thoroughly as they do, but I’ll do it for pennies – say, a million bucks? Where are the head hunters?
A friend of mine finds his birth mother and the entire family, adoptive family and birth, rejoices. I consider Dave a good friend but I never knew he’d been adopted. I’m delighted that his life has been further enriched.
Lengthy, but fascinating (to this lawyer) article on the legal fight shaping up over improper or missing loan documents. The banks seem to feel that, since the borrower owes someone money, they might as well be the ones to collect it and they’ll sort things out later. Lawyers, and not just bleeding hearts but all who have been trained to respect the law, find this unacceptable. To prevail in court, you must prove your case, and when banks try to gloss over this fundamental principle judges, who are lawyers too, seem to be getting pissed off. Which is as it should be, but I think we’re in for a long, drawn – out process.
On top of that, did you see that some major investment funds have banded together to demand that the lenders take back the shitty loans they bundled and sold? These types of suits have been defeated so far because of the requirement that a large percentage of bondholders had to join suit, and until recently, individual investors acting alone hadn’t been able to meet that threshold. Now they’re acting in concert, and revealing the fraudulent practices of the loan originators. The liability could be billions for our troubled banks. Ouch.
A commercial pilot tells the TSA to piss off. Can we please get some common sense into our supposed security system? If pilots haven’t been screened before granting them command, then that’s a problem. But this is so stupid it defies logic. Then again, so does our entire airline security process.
Chris Christie has offered fired D.C. school commissioner Michelle Rhee the same job in New Jersey, but for the entire state. Nothing against our current school superintendent, but Rhee wold have been exciting.
If the town doesn’t want a cell phone tower on its land, I hereby invite T-Mobile to contact me. Check the numbers: T-Mobile is willing to pay Greenwich $2,500 per month. The town can’t negotiate its way out of a wet paper bag, so figure you can get that rent to $3,500, easy. Then, add in the same rent for the other carriers: Verizon, At& T and Sprint, you’re up to $14,000 a month. My property tax is $7,500 a year, so I can live rent free and lazy, all while subjecting myself to harmless radio waves. Sounds like a deal to me.
I don’t want to embarrass the owner, but there’s a property in the north part of town that has problems: an old, obsolete house, wetlands, a couple of streams and in a relatively undesirable part of town. assessed at $1.6, it sold in 2005 for $2.395 and it came back up for sale in 2007 at $2.695. I saw it then and thought the owner had grossly overpaid in ’05. It eventually dropped to $1.995 – still too high, according to the market, and expired in April of this year. It’s back now with a new broker, who first listed it at $2.195 and, today, has dropped it to $2.095. Does this even come close to making sense? Not to me.
Well, while bidding wars are stirring under the surface, there’s nothing going on in done deals. No sales, no contracts to report.
We do have a price reduction:
I liked this house on Glenville Road. No neighborhood, but 2 1/2 acres, pool and very close to town. Last sold for $1.9 million in 2003, it’s currently assessed at $2.452, and is priced, as of today, at $2.250. There should be a deal here.
How about this new listing on Cedarwood? Asking $6.8 million, assessed at $3.8. You can go either way on this one; 34 Cedarwood sold for $7.375 in ’08, which would place this 2001 construction in the running, but 26, built in ’06, sold as a short sale this past April for $4.5. It, too is assessed for $3.8. So, do you use the distress price as the bar or the 2008 sale? Me, I’d say go with the $4.5 benchmark, but that’s just me.
I’m involved in a hot and heavy bidding war this morning, for big bucks. My guess is that my people have delayed too long, and will lose, but it’s a good lesson: don’t assume, regardless of price, that you’re the only player. There’s a lot of money out there, and buyers are circling the better properties. If you find something you like, go for it. That sounds like any dreadful real estate agent’s pitch, I know, but it’s still true, at least for premium properties.
Washington D.C. schools now feeding kids three meals a day. Look – you can’t have the kids starve, and although the menu served in our capital sounds as though it was designed by an Emily’s List group of sadists: carrot sticks, organic salmon cakes, tofu milkshakes, it will keep the children alive. But if these unfortunates can’t rely on their mother to provide the even one friggin’ meal a day, what hope is there that the same useless parent will help them learn? We either need a massive creation of orphanages or we should resign ourselves to a permanent underclass, because the women producing these kids are incapable of parenting them. And their fathers? Hah.
Nancy Pelosi’s approval ratings at an all-time low. I don’t have the exact figure at my fingertips, but something like 61% of Americans don’t know who is Vice President (Al Gore, right?) so how many know who’s the Speaker of the House? This a poll for political junkies, and no one else.
Nothing much new here, but sales suck. Lot’s of statistics thrown about in the article, but, as usual, Russ Pruner gets it right.
[John] Cooke noted that town Tax Assessor Ted Gwartney said last month in a meeting with the Greenwich Association of Realtors that home values were down, on average, 30 percent since 2007, and down 15 percent since the last assessment in 2005.
Pricing, of course, is still an issue with sales, said Russell Pruner, owner of Riverside-based Shore & Country Properties.
“The people that get it sell their properties,” Russell Pruner said. “The people that don’t get it don’t sell their properties.”
I heard from a reader that Tesei is going to sign a lease tomorrow for a cellphone tower in Cos Cob’s Pinetum. At the risk of offending readers, I confess that I don’t think this is such a bad idea. I use the park a lot, especially for cross country skiing, and it’s a lovely place – i personally don’t think my appreciation of its beauty will be seriously depreciated by a tower. But that’s just my take.Here’s the reader’ s note:
Off topic but could not find your email address [email@example.com – Ed]:
Peter Tesei is supposed to be voting on the approval of a lease in the Pinetum for a T-Mobile cell phone tower tomorrow morning. Putting a cell phone tower in a nature preserve is not what I would call responsible land use. Can you post this issue on your blog so that people are aware? Article from December below.
My observation: why just T Mobile? If Verizon and AT&T already have Cos Cob coverage addressed, couldn’t T Mobile join their tower (s)? I’e seen that before. We surely don’t need separate towers for every cellphone provider in town.
Sarah Palin is under attack for saying that, after the election “we’ll party like it was 1773.” The left has dumped on her because, duh, she doesn’t know that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776! Even Gwen Ifle jumped on the pile: But Gwen, can you think of anything that might have happened in Boston in 1773 that might be appropriate to mention at a gathering of the Tea Party? Can you? Try hard, you numbnuts.
Yet another panel is out with a set of recommendations for reforming our schools. Its suggestions? More pre-school, although it’s been shown to be entirely ineffective, a new commissioner of education, better teacher training, etc. Basically, there can be no improvement without parental involvement and, sadly, single, uneducated mothers living on welfare make lousy teachers as well as parents. Solve that and you solve the education problem. Otherwise, forget it.
China has extended its embargo of rare earths from Japan to, now, the United States. In 1995 or so, I was involved on the losing side of a dispute over this business – Chia planted a spy in my client’s business, stole all his secrets and put him out of business. Nasty people. But also kind of stupid – rare earths are in fact not that rare, it’s just that China rips them out of the earth with no concern for environmental damage and hence can sell them cheaply. There’s plenty of the stuff in Australia and, I believe, Canada, so mines will open there – a secure supply is worth more than ore subject to the whims of a bunch of commies. Until then though, your hybrid batteries and wind turbines won’t be available. Give it two years.