Daily Archives: May 26, 2011

Surely they must have something better to worry about

The NYSE claims that any photographs of its trading floor are theirs and theirs alone. Okay, here; you can have it back.

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Blood in the water

I was checking out the listing for that DeCaro – financed spec house at 12 Byfield, currently listed at $11,000,000, and boy is someone in trouble. The floors are unfinished, as is the interior painting (there’s a $93,000 mechanic’s lien on the property by a painting contractor, but that must have been for the outside. No appliances and goodness knows what else is needed – the pictures don’t tell the story.

The first mortgage is for $4.8 million, owed to Bank USA and probably subject to some kind of defense by the builder but, for now, that’s the number. There’s a second mortgage owed to the builder’s own mortgage company in the amount of $2.5 million and due June 1st but hey – it’s his company, so maybe he’ll cut himself some slack. $46,000 in property taxes owed, $23,000 in sewer taxes and that’s from awhile ago – I’m sure the figure has grown.

So is this place worth $11 million, and more important, can the builder/seller get that much? I doubt it – the highest previous sale on Byfield is $5.5 million and that buyer was under the influence of baked banana peel. This house is unfinished and its builder is bankrupt, so punch lists and warranties are probably not going to happen. The original lender is gone and the bank that took its place doubtless paid pennies on the dollar for this loan. I think I’d approach the bank directly, were a client interested in this property, and see how much of a discount it would give on that face amount of $4.8. I’d offer the mechanic’s lienor maybe ten or fifteen cents on the dollar, pay the town and finish the job. All in, maybe $4.5? That would be a decent deal, if you like this sort of house.


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Barney Frank got his boyfriend a job at Fannie Mae

“Big deal”, he says, “everyone (in Washington) does that”. Indeed they do.


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All DeCaro, all the time

12 Byfield Lane

Well no, this story, while amusing and local, just isn’t worth that much attention. But I learned from Teri Buhl, the reporter who originally broke it, that the failed spec house at 12 Byfield Lane figures in. (Almost) built by two former Greenwich residents, Ronald and James Scheckter, the house sits unfinished (listed for sale at $10.999 million) while 12 Byfield LLC wends its way through the Bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York, White Plains. They owe USA Bank at least $4.8 million and the town of Greenwich $45,600 in overdue property taxes as well as, I assume, other folks.

According to Buhl, both Scheckter brothers testified against the DeCaros before the FDIC. About what? We’ll find out, but at least part of the FDIC’s complaint against the DeCaros is that they disguised non-performing loans. Were I a betting man, I’d start there.
When I saw this house going up in 2008 I wondered at the sanity of its builders and figured that the speculative market had really lost its mooring – there was no way Byfield would support what was then a $12 million house. You’d think an experienced banker like Fat Freddie, being from Greenwich and all, would have known that but maybe he didn’t care. He was, after all, involved in the beginning of Patriot Bank, and we know how that turned out.


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Who needs jobs when we have the Connecticut legislature to protect us?

State Senate passes paid sick leave bill. Connecticut will be the only state in the nation to add this burden on employers. Hmm… raise taxes, increase labor costs, yeah, that’s the ticket!


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