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.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “Barbarians from the hedge funds

  1. Cos Cobber

    I think its pretty well established in Greenwich that outside of Putnam Cottage, everything else is fair game for demolition. Like it or not, raze and replace has become one of the cornerstones of this town. Its who we are. We’ve left preservation to the balance of New England’s fuddy-duddy towns. This is fairly true throughout coastal Fairfield County.

  2. Walt

    Dude –
    The Republican corpse that just gave the rebuttal to the State of the Union mentioned your light bulb issue!! Write him a thank you note, you loser.
    Regarding this preservation crap? SCREW THAT!! Tear it all down. Look at it logically. You want a 25 year old hottie or a 75 year old prune? DUH!! Old is old. You don’t want a saggy roof, or a saggy rack. NO YOU DON’T!! So just admit it. Take some pictures, rip it down, and go with the new model.
    You go with the firm cans every time. And you know it. Just admit it. You load.
    Your Pal,
    Walt

  3. Anonymous

    The article states that Spencer is not related to ESL, is the article wrong?

  4. AJ

    Off subject, but I just stumbled across this in one of my occasional searches for what’s new in the piano playing world. This chick is mind blowing awesome: http://www.youtube.com/user/ValentinaLisitsa#p/u/98/vwc-nmyPm4I

  5. Anonymous

    What are you suggesting, that he should have sold it at a loss as an coerced act of “charity”? I must be missing something. Has our collectivist friend Dollar Bill hacked into the computer over there?

  6. Anonymous

    what happens if, in the afternoon on a sunday say around 4, a bulldozer accidentally starts by itself and tears down something with local historic designation? what can the city do to the homeowner, really?

  7. Anonymous

    That’s very sad but it’s a hard argument betwen preservation and land owner’s rights. How is it possible that a town as wealthy as Greenwich doesn’t have a better endowed to buy up these treasures?

    It breaks my heart to see them torn down but how is it possible that there’s no objection to the destruction other that people who cluck under their breath or bitch about it on the internet?

    How do you lose your YMCA building that was bequethed fully paid for and endowed?

    I just shake my head since I don’t live there but how do you sleep at night if you do live in town?

  8. boorish

    i like that piano stuff except for that ding-ding high note.

  9. Anonymous

    It’s a new era. Now the peasants have the money. They ENJOY destroying Greenwich history because it eases painful memories of being excluded. It’s just hard for the old timers to see H. T. Lindeberg and Carrere and Hastings give way to Hasbro and Mattel.

    • Anon, as someone who has proved the truth of the cliche “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in 3 generations”, I have no problem with the newly rich. I’d prefer to be old rich but new rich would work for me too. I do wish some folks wouldn’t be so quick to tear down what they might later cherish but as a reader points out, Greenwich isn’t that sort of town.

  10. Cos Cobber

    Anonymous, I sleep just fine. Look at this way, on the matter of preservation, we have above average property rights in this town (hip-hip horray) instead. As for the YMCA, we just dont have a town government that is at all motivated to bail out foolish non profit (no bailouts!). I think the private community hasnt heeded the call to bail out the YMCA because we have so many other options; a fabulous Boys and Girls club, YWCA, Todd’s Point, two islands, several public and private marinas, a town golf course, a public high school with adequate swim facilities, a town skating rink (aging facility), 8 private golf courses, a few hundred acres of woodland parks and three or four major yacht clubs, etc.

  11. Anonymous

    @AJ, check this guy out.

    @Cos Cobber, fair enough. I just wonder where all the wailers and railers are when it’s time to commit financially to preservation. Truce?

  12. AJ

    @Anonymous, he has a nice touch, and touch is what it’s all about, but he has no video of Beethoven’s Moonlight 3 (Moonlight Sonata, movement 3) It’s how we judge who can play the piano and who is just a pretender around here because it’s simple (you don’t get confused by the complexity of the piece), it’s fast (way to fast for most people, even in music school), and even people who can keep up usually lose their touch (if they had any to begin with), and just start banging away. The reason I didn’t link to Ms. Lisitsa’s Moonlight 3 is because a lot of people would find it not to melodious and not to their taste and would prefer to listen to Liszt, or even more likely, some good piano bar stuff. I don’t know for certain, but I think Moonlight 3 was Beethoven’s idea of a virtuoso show-off piece.

  13. Thanks, Anonymous. Alfonso Gugliucci just made my playlist. I like his version of “Stardust,” too.

  14. Anonymous

    I bet a vast majority of teardowns are old pieces of crap built in the 30’s-50’s. Maybe even more recent.

    Really, how many teardowns of a historic nature are there?

    • I don’t disagree, Anon. I grew up in Riverside where, with few exceptions, the houses are either tired old post-war capes or crappy builder jobs from the 60’s and 70’s. I wouldn’t miss a single one.

  15. barney ross

    is this the same shari lampert whose daughter came to her bat mitzvah on a pachyderm?

    • Gee, I don’t know about that, but she’s 54 and I’d guess that bat mitzvahs hadn’t gone quite so crazy back then. Then again, there’s always the camel’s nose under the tent to consider, so perhaps she served as foreshadowing.
      UPDATE: I googled the subject and while I didn’t find Mrs. Lampert, I did come across this rather distasteful account of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah planne: http://yourjewishspeech.com/bar-mitzvah-mom/
      Say what you will about WASPs (and you should), they have no monopoly on excess and bad taste.