Another business man goes Galt

Closes shop, auctions off his equipment. Family lore has it that our great grandfather, who started out sweeping out a carpenter’s floor at seven and rose to become a prominent Manhattan builder, came to work one day (late 1880’s I’d guess) and found his employees outside,demanding recognition of their new union.  The gentleman turned his carriage around and went home, never to build or employ anyone again. Ah, the good old days, and they’e coming back!


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5 responses to “Another business man goes Galt

  1. Georgie

    Off topic…our lotto boys made the NY Times Opinion page



    “There are three ways to make a living in this business,” says Jeremy Irons, playing a Wall Street C.E.O. in “Margin Call.” “Be first, be smarter, or cheat.”

    Now there is a fourth: Powerball.

    Last week, the chance of winning the biggest lottery in Connecticut’s history was one in 195,249,054 — about the odds of Herman Cain’s winning the Republican nomination for president. But when three executives at Belpointe Asset Management in Greenwich, Conn., bought a $1 ticket in the Powerball lottery, it became, overnight, $254.2 million.

    The winners elected to take a lump sum, giving them $151.7 million and a tax bill of about $48 million. That’s $34.6 million per winner. And yet Timothy C. Davidson, Brandon E. Lacoff and Gregory H. Skidmore didn’t look happy about their astronomical rate of return when, as mandated by Connecticut law, they appeared at a news conference holding a giant check made out to Jackpot Winner.

    Why so glum? It’s not hard to identify reasons for their distress.

    First, personal embarrassment. They knew that media reports would lead with lines like this one from The New York Times, “The lottery is full of rags-to-riches tales. Now the 1 percent has its own feel-good story.” And the thing of it is, in Greenwich they’re not 1 percenters. In a haven where many have had Powerball wealth and then some for decades, there are, a longtime resident told me, three kinds of money. “There’s ‘world money,’ which lives in houses that start at $20 million. There’s ‘Wall Street money,’ which means, ‘I’ve got $10 million.’ And there’s ‘I’ve done well money,’ which lives in houses that cost less than $7 million. That’s these guys.”

    Worse, these oh-so-few millions have created unwanted transparency. The trio has given no interviews, but they don’t have to; a few minutes with Google and Google Earth will tell the curious, the envious and the resentful more than Greenwich’s wealthiest would like them to know. And not just about these men.

    A few years ago, Belpointe developed Beacon Hill, “the first guard gated town community in downtown Greenwich.” These 16 stone-and-shingle homes, set on 1.75 acres, are massive by non-Greenwich standards. In their 4,400 square feet, you’ll find as many as five bedrooms, 10-foot-high ceilings, white oak floors, wine cellars and “tasting” rooms, plus the obligatory exercise room. A calculator on the Web page saves you the trouble of wondering if you can afford to live here. Put down 20 percent of the $2,595,000 purchase price, take a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5 percent, and your bank will want $11,344 a month from you.

    These are not numbers that will endear Greenwich to many in the 99 percent. And remember, this is Greenwich at the low end. Let your fingers do some walking down Round Hill Road, and you’ll find yourself taking a virtual tour of a “livable scale” home with a 70-foot marble reflecting pool and fountain in the courtyard, an 86-foot great hall and a 52-foot indoor pool. Price: $42,900,000. And, surely, there are better.

    Pity the Powerball winners. There are, as they know well, many asset managers who have “one large” — a billion dollars — to invest. Belpointe has $82 million. Collectively, the winners are worth more than their employer. And yet, in Greenwich, they’re schmoes.

    But would the barbarians at the virtual gates listen to the facts? Sadly, no. Occupy Greenwich could so easily follow.

  2. Georgie

    And, cover of NY Post today:

    GREENWICH, Conn. — A trio of Connecticut money managers who split a $254 million Powerball jackpot say their new charitable trust is giving $1 million to five organizations that support veterans and military members who recently returned from deployments.

    A spokesman for the Putnam Avenue Family Trust says the donations, announced Sunday, are the first of many they expect to make using lottery winnings they claimed Nov. 28.

    The trust created by Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson took in a $103.5 million lump sum after taxes. They say they hope the trust’s donations will become an example for other lottery winners nationwide.

    The trustees of the Putnam Avenue Family Trust are (left to right): Tim Davidson, who bought a single, $1 ticket, Greg Skidmore and Brandon Lacoff.

    The first recipients are receiving $200,000 each: The Bob Woodruff Foundation, Building Homes for Heroes, Services for the Under Served (S.U.S.), Operation First Response and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

  3. Al Dente

    The American Dream: Start with a hot dog cart, build it to a large restaurant corp., then have it strangled by government:

  4. Libertarian Advocate

    @ Georgie: Boy am I glad I live in Waziristan.

    @ Al Dente: No surprise there, eh?

  5. Anonymous

    that article is a bit misleading. did you read the backstory/news links? it seems/seemed the guy’s a big public works contractor, and sits on the board of the local utility district. so he has no problem taking taxpayer money for public works projects and gets paid to sit on public boards, but cries because taxes too high.