Daily Archives: May 2, 2012

Yeah, but they continue to prosecute ticket scalpers so she’d still better be careful

Voters are in for a hair-raising experience!


BLUE RACISM: Antiquated law banned Native Americans from Boston until 2005. Luckily, Mitt Romney signed a repeal when he was governor, saving Elizabeth Warren from potential prosecution. I’ll bet she never even thanked him. . . .


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Obama puts Hispanics on ICE

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and scram

Raids on farms hiring illegal workers soar since 2009, thousands lose their jobs.  So with no one to grow and harvest our food, won’t food prices climb into the stratosphere? Obama’s not worried: “Who they gonna believe, me or their own lying eyes? Say, do I look cool in these jeans or what?”

Since January 2009, the Obama administration has audited at least 7,533 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor and imposed about $100 million in administrative and criminal fines—more audits and penalties than were imposed during the entire George W. Bush administration. The latest penalty hit HerbCo International Inc., a big Washington state-based supplier of organic herbs, which agreed Tuesday to pay $1 million in fines for employing illegal immigrants and then rehiring some of them after an ICE audit last year

President Barack Obama is walking a fine line as he turns up the heat on companies that hire illegal immigrants and at the same time courts Hispanic voters, many of whom oppose a crackdown. While the audits don’t lead to the deportation of a firm’s illegal workers, they all lose their jobs. Critics of the crackdown say it drives more immigrants to exploitative, off-the-books work. For firms, the audits can lead to deep losses in productivity, in addition to civil and criminal fines.”The president is trying to have it both ways—appease the enforcement hard-liners while appealing to Hispanic voters,” said Craig Regelbrugge, co-chairman of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, a group that lobbies for a loosening of restrictions on illegal immigrants. The audits “routinely hit good employers who…treat workers well, leaving crippled farms and shattered families in their wake.”


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Too much information

Chris Matthews and other Obama girlfriends talk about his “sexual warmth”. Ugh.


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I really do blame Bush, but let’s correct his error now

You go, Boy! Have a great May Day. All our love, your friends at the DHS

Abolish it now. Homeland Security senior official has exactly zero law enforcement experience but was a union organizer for SEIU, an Obama campaign worker and just yesterday Twitted an encouraging message to the Occupy Wall Street rioters. Fifteen billion dollars a year for this?

Snyder’s Twitter account also no longer displays his original self-description as an “Obama administration official at DHS.”

Though his account is now private, TheDC has confirmed that Snyder’s tweeted praise of the May Day festivities was also deleted.

DHS representatives did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment on why Snyder’s account was locked away from public view, what role the department had in that decision, and whether disciplinary action will be taken against Snyder.



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A bit more real estate news at the closing bell

23 Pierce Road in Riverside is still around and today dropped to $2.150 from $2.295 million. I thought this was a very attractive house despite the I-95 noise when I saw it and still do. Noise isn’t at all bad, to my ears (nor to a client of mine’s decibel meter that he brought over). Sellers paid $1.950 for it in 2008 and did a through, really well done renovation so the price seems pretty good to me. Not to buyers though, so far.

41 West Way in Lucas Point, Old Greenwich is new today, at $4.5 million. Hmm.  Direct (tidal) waterfront, dock, 0.27 acre and an old cottage that was renovated in 2006. Had two bedrooms when it sold for $2.6 million in 2001, now it claims three, although I don’t believe the house was increased in size.

I’ll see it tomorrow and reserve judgement until then. Waterfront, especially in Lucas Point, will always be valuable but depending on what FEMA and local regulations permit to be built here, this may be too little house to satisfy  someone with four-and-a-half million to burn. There’s one way to find out, which is what this owner has done: put it up for sale and see what happens.

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Real estate stirrings

163 Lake Ave.

163 Lake Avenue, a 2004 renovation of a much older house, has once again sold without benefit of real estate agents, this time for $1.950 million. With luck, these buyers will do better than the sellers, who paid $2.541 million in 2005.

By way of accepted offers, three of note (click on first to see listings of all):

37 Perryridge Road, a renovation asking $3.295 million. A very nicely done job but priced at somewhere $1 million above any previous sale on this street. The buyer is probably also negotiating for one of those Sound View Drive condos.

54 Terrace Avenue, Riverside, asking just $899,000. Affordable housing.

29  Carey Road, Riverside (sort of), asking $475,000. Now that’s affordable housing and just 12 days on market. Someone with basic building skills and a dumpster can have some fun with this one. I’d like to have been that someone because I like Carey Road, even those houses, like this one, that aren’t directly on the Mianus (though those are the best).


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Would you buy a kitchen from a suit designer?


Not this one, not my taste, but Green Demolitions has had an Armani kitchen donated and is offering it at its usual very low price. Good source to find great kitchens, if not necessarily this one, for maybe 15% of what they cost new.


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Maybe our fired Secret Service agents should look east for employment

Stop making so much noise!

The stories from Obummer’s disastrous visit to Colombia reminded me of a true tale told me by my friend and fellow realtor Mary Ann Heaven about the time she and Marshall rented their Kennebunkport home to the Russians.

Putin was in town to visit Bush II (or maybe I, I forget) and the Ruskies needed a place to board some of his bodyguards. The Heaven’s house was available, a deal was struck and the Russians moved in for a few days. And what a few days. Neighbors told Mary Ann that the guards, who presumably were expected to protect Putin during the day, stayed up partying all night, every night, and each morning there were at least two full-sized trash cans stuffed to overflowing with empty vodka bottles.

Not sure I’d want to be in the same town with a band of hungover, perhaps still drunk, Uzi-toting Russians, but no mention was ever made of anyone getting shot or even of any disgruntled prostitutes, so I suppose the visit could be deemed a success.


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With tuition at Lehigh (Lehigh!) at $50,000 a year, conventional higher education is looking like the dodo it is

Over at InstaPundit professor Reynolds has been chronicling the higher education bubble (including law school, and Reynolds is a graduate of Yale Law). here’s his latest link: MIT offers on-line electrical engineering course and 120,000 students sign up.



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More positive news about our schools, or at least the students who attend them

Greenwich has eight National Merit Scholars this year, one each from Brunswick, Sacred Heart and Greenwich Academy and three from Greenwich High. Only 2,500 students  win this award nationally, so eight from one town, even Greenwich, is pretty impressive. I am hardly a poster boy for the success of the high school in inspiring bored, unruly children but if your own kid is self-directed and not inclined to get by with the least possible effort, he or she will do just fine. And take heart, even complete screw ups can still go on to become real estate agents some day.


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Cut that price, sell that house

28 Loading Rock Road, in NoPo, has an accepted offer after two years. A great house inside, a little strange on the outside but perched over the Mianus River with great views and because it’s part of the Long Meadow Association (or some such name), access to the  small sandy beach and boat racks one hundred yards away. Nothing not to like about this one except its original price of $2.895, which was obviously too high. And I’m not saying that, the market did. It eventually dropped to $2.495, to no effect and then six weeks ago it was marked down to $2.095, which did the trick. I think the buyer is getting a very good house at an even better price here.

Two price cuts today that I doubt will make much difference: 11 Will Merry dropped  to $2.8 million after starting a year ago at $3.650. If these  sellers had taken that $850,000 as one big chunk they might have caught the attention of a buyer. As it is they took it piecemeal, giving buyers plenty of time to reflect on the Merritt Parkway in back and ponder whether they wanted to live next to it. Now the listing is a year older, which sends a strong message of rejection by other buyers, raising the question in the mind of someone looking at it today that, “if no one else wants it, why should I?”. That may be unfair – no one wanted it at its various higher prices but that says nothing about now. Still, that’s how it goes.

And even at its new price, who wants to live on the Merritt in a three million dollar home? More to go here, I predict.

39 Shore Road in Old Greenwich now asks $2.995 instead of $3.295, proving, in case you wondered, that there’s not a strong market in Old Greenwich for pseudo-Greek revival architecture. Who’d have guessed? $2.3?

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Good reading in historical fiction

Sets Matthews' thighs a tingling

Thanks to that pantywaist Chris Matthews the subject of Henry V has come up – reader Green Mountain has sent along the St. Crispin speech delivered by Hal (by way of Will) on the eve of battle while I, purely by coincidence, have been rereading Bernard Cornwell’s Agincourt. Cornwell surely doesn’t claim to be Shakespeare but he spins great historical yarns and this one is no exception.

And over the weekend I read Steven Pressfield’s The Afghan Campaign, a recounting of Alexander’s ill-fated war on the Afghans. Pressfield’s always a great read and this book’s no exception. I don’t know how much modern color the author added – the novel was written in 2006 so he had the experiences of the past three wars of the British, Russians and Americans to draw on, but from his description of the wild, independent tribes, warlords, torture of prisoners and the impossibility of taming the country, it seems that nothing’s changed since 350 B.C. – doesn’t bode well for our current incursion.


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Accepted offer in Milbrook

240 Overlook

240 Milbrook, asking $3.775 million. I showed this to three different clients and while all thought the house itself was well made, with high quality finishes and a good layout, the house is built into a hill so no useful yard and, worse, a neighboring house that looms overhead (by the way, if you haven’t read “The Looming Tower, the Path to 9/11”, you’re missing out. Ahem – back to real estate:) The Owners paid $3.995 for it in 2005 and sunk a lot of money into terracing and landscaping that hill. After 237 DOM and a price cut from $4.295, a buyer who values the Milbrook neighborhood has stepped forward.

Speaking of price cuts, 44 Cariglea has lopped $425,000 off its price and is now asking $3.825. It’s an acre on a good street and one-acre waterfront lots have recently sold here for $5 million so this might seem reasonable, but water views are not the same as direct waterfront, if only because you might lose your view when a house in front of you goes up. I don’t see a builder buying this lot – no profit at this price – but perhaps an end-user will. The same size lots at the corner of Carriglea and down adjoining Leeward Lane have been selling for around $2 million, so I’m not sure why this one should command double. If you see the value here and want to buy it, by all means give me a call – I’ll not talk you out of it.


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Neat house in Old Greenwich back on the market

24 West End Avenue is back, asking the same $2.5 million the owners paid for it in 2005. Given what’s happened  to Old Greenwich prices this year, that seems like a good price to me. Understand, this is a rather unique house because it was basically built sideways to accommodate its long, extremely narrow lot.  But it’s beautifully made and works very well, or I thought it did when I’ve seen it the past two times it sold.

Speaking of selling, it originally fetched $1.8 when it was new in March, 2004. Those buyers finished the basement and perhaps added a few features and then resold it to the present owners for $2.5 million in July of 2005 – oh, those were the days.

But $2.5 today, given comparable sales, is a very decent price. I love this location because you can walk to town, the train, Binney Park and Old Greenwich school (even the church across the street if you’re of that persuasion) and, as noted, it’s beautifully made. Broker open house is tomorrow and I’ll report back if they’ve installed black lights and painted the master bedroom purple since I last saw it but otherwise, well worth considering.


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Obama reveals new campaign poster


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