Daily Archives: January 24, 2012

Barbarians from the hedge funds

Steven Hatch leading hedge funders to the promised land

While poking around the Internet to see what Shari Lampert does when not crashing her car into ex-hubby Spencer’s garage doors, I came across this Wall Street Journal article from 2008 describing the invasion of Greenwich by the hedge fund kings and their unfettered desire to pillage and destroy. Spencer (Eddie’s adoptive father) and Shari figure in that story, naturally, but so too does a non-hedger, Greenwich builder Steven Hatch, who tore down a beautiful 1840 Italianate home on Riversville Road.

Many of the teardowns are done by developers who use the lots for new homes. Developer Steve Hatch says he bought an old farmhouse in 2004 for $1.5 million. Local preservation activists told him it had historical value. “I’m just personally not into that stuff,” he says.

Still, he says, he offered to sell it back to them at cost. “They laughed at me and said they don’t have that kind of money,” he recalls. Mr. Hatch razed the house, built a bigger one and sold it to a family last year for $3.2 million.

That’s ol’  Steve alright – what a cut up! What a benefactor to the town.

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You want taxes, we’ll give you taxes. Repeal the Eisenhower tax cuts!

We do this, Obummer will slit his wrists!

The man caved and a monster was born.  Time to dust off the General and bring back the 20% tax on gross (not net) receipts from Hollywood. “Green John” Travolta might have to sell one of his 747s to pay that bill, and Hollywood contributions to the Obama war machine would dry up. Which would be too bad.

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So much for that party

So I was all set to crash Walt’s Super Bowl party tonight – had my Ravens jersey on, the Buffalo wings fried, a brace of Shirley Temples chillin’  in my car bar and I was ready to razz him about his Eagles all night long when he posts that there’s no game tonight and instead there’s an hour-long reelection infomercial from our Golfer in Chief. What the frig? What about the Ravens/Eagles? I’m crushed.

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How to tell when you ex is angy with you

Asshole!

She drives her car through your door.

• Sheri [sic] G. Lampert, 54, of 21 Meadowcroft Road, was charged Monday with breach of peace and second-degree criminal mischief after she allegedly drove a vehicle through the garage door of a Doubling Road residence, police said.

Upon arrival, responding officers observed a woman standing on the front steps of the residence, screaming at the door, police said. The vehicle had front end damage, and pieces of wood were sticking out of the hood, police said.

The garage door was also damaged, police said. Lampert admitted driving the vehicle through the door, according to police.

Lampert is scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Stamford Wednesday.

UPDATE: Shari Lampert and her husband Spencer bought the Col. Bolling estate on Doubling Road, Grayledge” in 2001 and tore it down in 2004.

In 1918, Bolling was posthumously awarded the Legion of Honor and the Distinguished Service medal.  An airbase in Washington DC was named Bolling Air Force Base.  Several monuments were built in his honor, including the one in Greenwich. Money was solicited from town citizens for the monument.  It was unveiled in 1922.  The sculpture and stone base weighed 500 pounds.  Approximately $15,000 was raised in 1977 to clean and repair the monument.

The Greyledge estate was not so fortunate.  After many years of occupancy by the Bollings, after the 1960s the estate passed from person to person.  In 2001, Spencer and Shari Lampert bought the house for $7.6 million.  In 2004, it was put on the market for $8 million, but nobody “bit”.  Despite public outcry, Greyledge was demolished in 2006 to make way for a new mansion.  A great historic house was gone forever.

UPDATE: Spencer is a Tudor. Managing director, in fact, or he was.

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Hope she likes snow

 

Al Gore's gotta be under here somewhere. That, or a pony.

Julian Curtis grad is treated to the Davos conference as a mover and shaker of some sort. She is, surprise, a global warmist. Always a shame to see a good mind go to waste.

But while she’s there she can enjoy “the most snow in Davos in 42 years.”

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Oh, the humanity!

I couldn’t care less what other people do with their own money: keep it, waste it or give it away, but before the main stream press completely buries the story under a veneer of Mitch Romney’s selfishness and greed, did you know how much Joe Biden gave to charity? $369. Al Gore, when he was VP, gave about the same. Since getting rich in D.C., Obummer has increased his charitable contributions from 1% of his income to 5%.  Romney, 15%.

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We’ve given up the fight and lost our minds – long since time to flee Afghanistan

Marine officer sanctioned for hurting Afghan’s tractor. While it was being used to carry away a bomb maker who the marines had just shot. Say goodnight, Irene.

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Pundits are suggesting that they wear golf attire to tonight’s SOU speech

What law? What law? I'm heading back to the links where I can hope for change

Republican Congressmen wearing “1,000 days” buttons to mark the Senate’s failure to pass a budget in that time.

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Can you really build here?

191 Shore Road

ALTHOUGH you’ll want earplugs to thoroughly enjoy this location, I’ve always liked the setting of 191 Shore Road (Old Greenwich), overlooking Lucas Point Beach and Long Island Sound, but it seemed to me that between coastal management rules and those of our own, always-friendly P&Z, any significant improvement to the rat hole of a house now gracing the land was close to impossible. But it’s back on the market today, offering to build you a modest-size (4,000)  house “subject to setback variances and all town approvals” for $4.995 million. That’s an improvement from two years ago when all the seller offered was land and a set of zoning hurdles for $4.495, but that “subject to” language gives me pause. Nothing ventured nothing gained, but you might be in for a long wait before you set shovel to earth on this one.

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Even the National Association of Realtors finally gets it – just don’t tell that flack economist they use for press releases

Closer to the bottom of the market with each passing second

The current issue of NAR’s magazine, usually consigned to the bathroom reading material bin, is almost entirely devoted to the collapsed real estate market. Under the heading “A Clean Slate” the magazine offers articles on short sales, REO’s (bank owned properties) and even depression, that of sellers and agents themselves. Hmm.

Discussion among my peers on today’s open house circuit (which offered nothing notable) was how much the market sucked. Hmm again.

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How much is time worth?

120 Oneida Avenue, 0.85 acres of tidal waterfront that sports an old teardown, listed at $7 million in 2009 and sold for $3.5 million in 2010. Those buyers have purchased architectural plans for an 11,500 sq. foot house and obtained P&Z approval for constructing that Big Boy. Now they’ve put the lot back up for sale at $4.5 million. Are the plans worth anything? Not if you don’t share the sellers’ tastes and in my experience, people who build custom homes want, well, custom to them plans. So that leaves the year and the costs you’d spend gaining P& Z approval again. That might be worth a $ million to someone; then again, it might not. I’ll let you know, probably next year.

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October contract, January sale

460 North Street, that great big brick structure (its land long since sold off)  across from St. Mary Michael’s Church, has sold for $7,987,250. That’s a big number, but someone lost a lot of money on this deal. Little brother Gideon sold it for $4.7 million back in 1997 to a couple who fixed it up and then made the mistake of listing it with another broker in 2003, who priced it at $10.8. I was just starting in this racket back then and I knew I could make it when I saw this place, noted its price and when the cop directing traffic at the open house asked me what I thought of its price I responded, “easily $2 million too much”. It sold 408 days later for $8.65 million. The guy who set that price was and still is one of the most successful brokers in town so I figured that if I knew better than him, I was going to do okay. Of course, I didn’t realize then that the purpose of setting a price like this is not necessarily to sell the house for your client, but never mind: I was naive.

The 2004 buyers poured millions into yet another renovation – over a million, I was told by their agent, just on replacing all the leaded windows with custom double panes – and listed it in 2008 for $11.950 million. And now, 1,057 days later, they’ve unloaded it for $8. So it goes.

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Off to see open houses

A couple I don’t need to see because I’ve been there so many times before:

85 Richmond Hill Drive. Sold for $7.1 million in the boom days of 2006, relisted exactly one year later, unchanged, for $8.9 million (huh?) and then dropped, I’m not kidding you, to $8.895. That didn’t work – go figure, so it’s back today at $6.750; an improvement, but are we really at 2006 price levels? I think not.

Same thing with 297 Round Hill Road, a terrific house back when it sold for $5.7 in 2006, dressed up in that awful back country style by the new owners and sold for a loss, $5.212, in 2010 and asking $5.4 today. I’d guess mid-to-low $4s, but I’m just guessing. Someone else may like the new interior.

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Charlie Rangel is still not dead?

Prototypical Democrat

Worse, he’s still a member of Congress so he can continue to steal just as his constituents want it. He did get drunk and doze off at an Obummer fund raiser the other night but I do wish he’d done that as a private citizen. Or a cadaver.

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Not for them, and I rather suspect they like it that way

That's mine - give it to me!

Davos big shot: “Capitalism is outdated, crumbling and must be remade”. If I understand this Swiss junket, a bunch of billionaires fly over via their private jets to spend a million-bucks or so throwing each other parties in their rented chalets and discuss how to “reform” capitalism. Even George Soros wants in on the discussion, though he is the face of everything evil in today’s capitalistic environment.

I wouldn’t presume to guess how exactly Soros and his fellow conivers plan to reshape our world but I am absolutely certain that after the deck is reshuffled, they intend to still be on top.

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New Inventory? No, we’ve put the “green” back in Greenwich

Everything old is new again and we’re just recycling old listings these days, hoping that the spring market will accomplish what last spring’s, summer’s and fall’s did not: move the damn place. Some houses return with saner prices but most do not. See you in September.

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Vile machinations or just plain old shallow stupidity?

Watching the “debate” last night some observers (and I certainly didn’t watch) have opined that the senseless, dumb questions of the moderator were designed to distract attention from real issues and create a circus atmosphere so that the participants would look silly. I disagree; the men and women conducting these shows are too shallow to know the difference between an intelligent question and one that belongs on American Idol, so they make no distinction without noticing – no plan to it at all.

Unless it’s the network bosses. Ever since Old Greenwich’s (and my friend) Al Primo figured out that there was money to be made on television news if it were presented as entertainment, his “Eye Witness News” format: glossed up morons “interfacing” with each other and devoting all 20 minutes to heart-touching stories of lost dogs and children, there has been no serious news on television.

Today, you have people like Brian Williams pretending to be thoughtful professionals when they are in fact just Today Show transferees, and their bosses like it that way. TV news is about ratings and serious discussion of issues draws no ratings. So we get questions on gay rights instead of massive, trillion-dollar deficits. That’s not nefarious, just reality (“Reality TV”, to coin a phrase).

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Redneck’s last words: “Hey y’all, watch this!”

Swiss to vote for $50,000 annual minimum wage. I’ve always wondered why the Dollar Bill’s of this world stopped short at ten bucks an hour when pressing for an increased minimum wage. If $10 made people wealthier, it would seem that $150,000 would make them positively rich! Switzerland isn’t going that far, yet, but $50,000 is a good start. I hope DB and his pals are watching.

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