Gideon Couldn’t Have Been More Wrong

OK, enough with the give and take.

Gideon’s post misses one quite large issue which was mentioned by the newspaper, but isn’t so important to Gideon’s worldview/narrative. That is that there was NEVER A CONTRACT between the two parties! Stanwich and GRS entered into a letter of intent four years ago. Four years without a contract. Would Gideon let his clients do that? I suspect he would want to posture or tell his client to find another property. Nonetheless, when GRS got tired of waiting, Stanwich still wouldn’t do the deal from what I can see. Yes, it is a good deal for both, but don’t both parties have to agree for a deal to be a deal? So cut the boo-hooing.

Another case of boo-hooing on gideon’s part is his sudden and unequivocal love and adoration of the Greenwich zoning code. Lest we forget that on the exact same site, the Planning and Zoning Commission – including yours truly – approved the construction of one of the largest single use buildings ever proposed in the Town of Greenwich. Now, to Gideon who conflates the GRS proposal with a Dunkin Donuts or a gas station, no mention of this monster building which to my reckoning, is not in conformity with the RA-2 zone. So what is it, Gid? Zoning should permitted for uses you like, but not for those you do not?

Finally, Gideon had to throw Bill Grad under the bus in his campaign for Tax Collector because of the reprehensibly bad information he was working under. I understand the knee-jerk desire to drive a shiv into those on the other side, can’t say that I haven’t felt that in my time, but to malign a friend in that manner is not something I can accept. Bill Grad is a hard-working, dedicated man who will serve the Town with dignity and skill when he is elected. Run him down for anything he may have done, but don’t construct a non-existent narrative to push your side.

Still, sorry about the deletion


Filed under Uncategorized

30 responses to “Gideon Couldn’t Have Been More Wrong

  1. Patrick

    Point well taken. If a contract has not been signed then it only makes sense to fish or cut bait and force the other party to a decision. There’s no sense in giving anyone a free option…

    What I can’t agree with is an elected official of this town proposing something so clearly inappropriate as condos in this zone and that particular area for financial gain. Good zoning is a fundamental part of maintaining the character of any town and I would hope any elected official of our town would be concerned about preserving this for the citizens of the community rather than for personal gain. I’m still hopeful that those that choose to run for office don’t do it as an extension of their wealth building endeavors.

    I think you’re missing the point. It’s not the breaking of the contract that would be an issue for anyone. It’s the hypocracy of having someone you voted for or plan to vote for clearly putting self interest ahead of the interest of their constituents….that’s not someone I care support.

    • Again, why is a 300,000 square foot school OK, but anything other than a few houses on the lot not OK. I think too many of the readers are searching for a way to vote for his opponent and trying hard not to look into the actual issue

  2. Cos Cobber

    All the pushing and shoving aside, what is the basis to support condo development on that site? If its a 2 acre zone, so then they can build 5 homes on the 11 acres. Thats it.

    Secondly, given the under importance of the office sought by Grad vs the devisive nature of the development sought, voters should use this elevtion opportunity to vote Grad down. Grad has his rights to run for office and the voters have their choice.

    I’m generally a moderate on zoning. I like set backs, height, min lot size and general use restrictions. There is no way a high density condo in this area of greenwich should receive any form of variance.

    • But explain to me why a 300,000 square foot school is OK in this zone Cobber? And also, what development is sought? Nothing, so please use facts in evidence, not facts as you would like them to be.

  3. Cos Cobber

    this is fun and its along the lines of what i alway say to dollar bill, go try employing some people and then talk to me.

  4. Horse jock

    Frank: Seems like you yourself have done more than “thought about” driving a shiv, or whatever “streetism” you used, into the other side. Grad apparently is not a friend of Gideon’s, why shouldn’t he call him out? The problem is snuffing out the people you don’t agree with, not your chosen point of view. Censorship, under the guise of “protecting a friend,” is just bullying. Am I dreaming, or did you not just call for Tesei’s resignation over some routine (I am sure you will quibble over word) political move? You’re a player not a saint. Quit bitching and start playing… it’s more fun. You don’t want to be the punchline to the joke “what’s a famous Greenwich w(h)ine?” Even I wish Chris was back from camp.

    • Oh for goodness sakes. His post came down, I acknowledged a mistake and invited him to put it back up, which he did. Then, as I should have done in the first place, I wrote down my thoughts on the post. So in the name of lack of censorship, the post went up regardless of my personal position. Then I get the whines about censorship. Which is odd, because it was me that acknowledged the event in the first place.

  5. Libertarian Advocate

    O.k. Now we’re into it. Gid: Remember Obama’s sound advice; bring a gun to a knife fight. Or something like that….

  6. ListenUp

    Oh, boo hoo! Get over it, you big baby!

  7. TraderVic

    Excuse me, but have you mentioned any facts? Like the fact that the Stanwich buildings are actually approved, while the condos are not? Call me a skeptic, but I believe that the GRS is just trying to get more money out of Stanwich with a Trojan Horse alternative.

  8. Anonymous

    Schools tend too benefit the community. Rows of condos benefit the builder of the condos.

  9. Inagua

    Frank was right the first time. He should not be complicit in trashing a friend. It is a matter of loyalty, dignity, decorum and respect. We in the peanut gallery have no right to insist on first amendment rights in what is a private blog, approved by Frank as principal of EBT.

  10. Tim

    When is Chris back!

  11. Patrick


    I’ll take a stab at explaining why a school is ok and condos are not:

    1) There is an existing school on what will be a combined property
    2) Condos will increase the town’s population, the school will not
    3) Condos will put additional pressure on the town’s resources – public schools, police, fire….the school minimally
    4) The school as designed is in character with the neighborhood and use of this zone…condos not so much

    I’m surprised that someone who sits on the P&Z board can’t see this. Zoning in addition to a number of other priorities is about preserving the character of a neighborhood and ensuring consistent use of that zone. As one of my representatives on the zoning board, I’m a bit shocked that you don’t get this basic principle.

  12. Libertarian Advocate

    FF: Not me, but then I live in that slum city just east of you, so I’m not enfranchised to vote for or against Grad.

    More to the point, I have no objection to Bill Grad’s decision to move on given the Stanwich School’s dithering. My bugaboo has nothing to do with what ultimately is built on the land there; it has everything to do with a government official having outside business before the government. Yes, I understand that Grad likely has no personal interest in any transaction involving GRS and for all I know Bill Grad is the nicest and most ethical human being to live since the Buddha. It’s all about the potential appearance of impropriety. There are of course prophylactic precautions that could alleviate such concerns to the extent they are felt by any Greenwich residents.

  13. greenwich dude


    the simple answer to your question is nimby, which you of course understand – am i missing something?

    plucky, upstart school on the rise = good for neighborhood, willing to put up with ugly if that’s what you’re stuck with (SS)
    low income condos = bad for neighborhood, not even willing to deal with attractive and well set back

  14. TraderVic

    “Why is a 300,000 square foot school okay and not condos?”

    1) Could it be that town-houses require much greater (non-stop) use of their water wells and septic fields for bathroom, laundry, kitchen use, etc.?
    2) Could it be that a private school is a more valid public purpose which reduces town-wide education costs?
    3) Could it be that the school is one integrated structure away from the road, whereas condos would fill every square inch of green, and fundamentally change the character of the street?
    4) Could it be that some of the neighbors would send their children to Stanwich School, as well as enjoy their fields, whereas they are not able to participate in anything the condos provide?
    5) Could it be that prestigious schools in an area (e.g., Greenwich Academy, Country Day) actually cause nearby homes to appreciate in value, whereas condos (e.g., Lyon’s Farm) cause the opposite?

    In any case, the school is approved and the condos are not. Good luck to the GRS for getting this condo idea through. It is just a negotiating ploy for more money. Shame on Bill Grad for not being more up-front!

  15. Stanwich

    FF: You created a royal mess.

    Issue number 1: You pulled down Gid’s posting. I don’t think it crossed any “line” and I doubt CF would have thought so either. Whatever — re-post, kiss, make up and move on.

    Issue number 2: GRS/Stanwich School/Bill Grad. I think GRS is foolish to have gone so far down the road with the Stanwich School. The school has been renting there forever which means that GRS probably became dependent on the rental income. GRS then went along with Stanwich’s plan to buy the diocese land and build a school. And now you’re saying this whole convoluted thing where Stanwich would pay for a new temple was based on a non-binding LOI!!! Holy Moses that is bad judgement. Now all parties have been sitting out the great recession hoping for enrollment to come back at the Stanwich School and the b-list hedge fund crowd to get flush with cash so that the capital campaign can continue. Only then will GRS get it’s promised take. So given the economic climate, GRS has resorted to threatening to build condos in mid-country in an effort to get the funds promised ot them by the Stanwich School. This whole situation is juvenile and GRS should be more sophisticated to know that this tactic will back fire. The thought of condos on that site will drive everyone against them. Which brings me to my main point: Bill Grad is in the middle of all this and, as far as I can see, it makes him look bad. He might be the best civil servant ever, but this is doing him no good. If there is another narrative, then Bill Grad should explain it. For Bill Grad to be standing for election and be involved in this makes no sense. And to be playing this out on the blog in a haphazard proxy war of words between GRS and Stanwich School make even less sense.

  16. Chminey

    Enough of this bickering crap! Bring back Chris!

  17. Riverslide

    No one is searching for a way to vote for Grad’s opponent. In fact, people want to vote against Grad’s opponent, and that means voting for Grad, which just got a little trickier with this condo issue.

  18. Anonymous

    Frank, i would have expected at least some hint of knowledge about the situation from you as an apparent realtor – but I guess that’s where my assumption went wrong. To provide you with some relevant facts on the situation: for one, on your last post: those lots have been zoned to be used for educational purposes, so that is why a school is ok and a condominium complex is not. Quite simple. Second, it is not clear whether the letter of intent that was signed in 2007 was binding – as Chris as a lawyer would know, whether LOIs are legally binding is a gray area of law, and the subsequent actions of the parties are highly relevant. In this case, both GRS and Stanwich together moved forward as if the deal was in place, and Stanwich incurred significant expenses on architect fees and legal fees around obtaining all the permits etc. That the process took the time it took is because it took time to get all these permits (especially related to the waste water facility that needs to be implemented because the site is on septic). Stanwich bore the cost of all these expenses, since that is what the LOI called for. In addition, the school has been approaching GRS since the spring to firm up the contract. However, GRS, since it has seen its membership drop, is in financial trouble and decided they needed another $4mm to be able to build their planned new synagogue. So, while the original deal (negotiated in 2007) was already significantly above market in the current environmnet, GRS basically tried to extort another $4mm out of the Stanwich to keep the deal “or else they would go for low-income housing condos”. When the school didn’t budge, that’s what they announced. The GRS has played a very ugly role in this, and the fact that Bill Grad was in charge of these tactics and now intends to go into politics, probably means that he has the right mindset to be a politician, but is highly regrettable for the community at large.

  19. Stanwich neighbor

    Oh and as to why support a school over a condo project? If we are going to discuss the issue as a financial one the neighborhoods surrounding the private schools in Greenwich have historically seen their home values rise. Number two a condo project, let alone a low income housing project will bring down surrounding property values.

  20. Cos Cobber

    The school was approved because there was general support in the broader Greenwich community for a new school. I dont believe you will find any support to allow massive variance for simply more residential housing at a substantially higher density. If a variance for housing density housing is permitted, then you could say we dont have any zoning what-so-ever as everyone could argue for the same with their property.

    Permitting the school, while controversial, was generally accepted by the community because it was a unique opportunity (difficult to find a parcel of this size in town) that the silient majority recognized. I could be wrong, but I dont see the current zoning board approving a variance for housing and unlike the Bella-Nonna case, I think their will be presure in town to defend our P&Z board if they are sued personally – should we get to that point. We have a P&Z for situations like this and I hope they plan to vote it down – if there plan is for higher density housing.

    As for your last point, while nothing has been officially proposed by GRS, Bill Grad’s quotes in the Gwich Times story is clear about their plan. If the GRS’s intentions are for housing at a permitted density, then I suggest they put a statement out there to help Mr Grad’s campaign ASAP.

  21. Towny

    Frank. I feel vindicated. My read on you was 100% correct. And that was years ago…………….

  22. Anonymous

    will there be a dunkin donuts on site?

  23. Anonymous

    bill grad, peter von braun, good lord

    is darien still taking new residents?

  24. amom

    I decided Bill Grad was a bit of a phony when he sent me a letter asking for a donation merely because we attended the same University. Since we’ve never met, he must have taken a list of alums and sent fundraising letters to all in Greenwich area codes. Marginally shady move even before this whole GRS/Stanwich thing blew up in his face.

  25. Chimney

    Low-income condos? That’s what Mr. Rosensteil wanted to build at Conyers Farm when the town turned down his plan. Thank you Peter Brandt. (never thought I’d say that!)