Daily Archives: May 18, 2012

Should this guy change his firm’s name to Round Hill Capital?

Would a guy like this rip you off? Never!

North Street Capital makes bid for Winnebago. Trouble is, Winnebago doesn’t think it’s a serious offer. Something about North Street’s principal, Alex Mascioli  made my long dormant stock broker fraud detection hackles rise and after a little bit of Googling, I can see why. Here’s the beginning of the story, from the Wall Street Journal:

Winnebago said Friday it asked for more information about North Street’s April offer, but received only a partial response before the firm raised its offer. Winnebago described the latest offer as “highly conditional” and requiring additional investigation to convince Winnebago executives and its board that North Street would be able to carry through on its offer.

“Based on what we’ve been able to find out about the offer and the principals, we just don’t believe the offer is credible,” said Shelia Davis, Winnebago’s investor relations manager.

North Street Managing Director Alex Mascioli said the Greenwich, Conn., firm has provided all requested information to Winnebago, including the name of its underwriter.

“We have no problem answering questions about anything they ask,” he said, adding: The offer “is not a joke.”

When the bidder has to insist, “this is not a joke’, it probably is.

So who is Alex Mascioli? He got a lot of media coverage for his self-anointment  as the savior of Saab, but as you know, the deal never happened and Saab is no more. He also claimed he’d purchased, for $43 million, the Dutch company  Spyker Motor Cars but the announcement of that purchase was premature, at best, because that transaction never closed either.

We do know that Mascioli  either shares the same name and birth date as a serial drunk/ex – convict or he is that guy. This is one ugly rap sheet, including assault, forgery, multiple DUI’s, arrests for failure to appear, and several jail sentences for some or all of the above. Once (2008) lived at 24 Hemlock Drive, Greenwich in what seems to have been a rented, modest home, perhaps lives in Norwalk now. Or not.

We know that North Street Capital has a website that’s no web site at all, unless you consider a stock photograph of Wall Street a complete web site.

The SEC has no record that any company named North Street Capital exists.

I have no idea who this man is, whether he’s a jail bird or a legitimate businessman, but it is true that some of the most colorful characters in the world of financial scams continue to use Greenwich in their names – adds such a nice aura of respectability and solid wealth, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: A reader adds this:

Mickey Sherman defends Greenwich CT racecar driver and entertainment businessman Alex Mascioli

Mickey Sherman, the famous Connecticut defense attorney has taken on the case of defending retired racecar driver and entertainment businessman from posh Greenwich Connecticut Alex Mascioli. Mickey Sherman who was Michael Skakels, Alex Kelly and many other notables attorney has taken on a case that only befits the wealthy in Fairfield County Connecticut. Former racecar driver turned entertainment businessman Alex Mascioli is in court defending himself against assault charges along with a list of felony protective order violations from a woman bartender from tony L’escale and Solaia eateries who he had an affair with while still being married to one of Greenwich’s most high end interior designers.

Published on:2006-12-16 

And there’s this, from someone who dug around into the man’s background and wasn’t impressed. Not a very successful race car driver apparently, but the article about his felony does describe him as a “retired” racer. Failure can make that decision easier.


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It is to laugh

France will withdraw its 3,000 troops from Afghanistan, thus strengthening remaining NATO forces. In looking up the French Army (don’t Google “French Military” or all you get are French military jokes and the shortest list in the world, “French military victories” ) and discovered that total forces are just 120,000. That contrasts with 8,300,000 during World war I. Of course, 1,400,000 of those soldiers were killed in that war (!) by their butchers of generals, so it’s understandable that the thrill of soldiering has long since passed.

Funny, though, that the Occupy folks are out in Chicago protesting a meeting of NATO countries. There’s not a NATO member country left, except for the US, with a military of any significant strength, so why worry about NATO?


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Well they don’t kill trees for toilet paper – I guess that’s a start

Meet the new “Greens” – your friendly neighborhood suicide bomber. I’ve never seen a more polluted, filthy place on earth than the Middle East but I haven’t traveled to Russia yet, so there’s still room at the top.


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Can you hear the ocean now?

Sea shell-wielding broad assaults man, bites his ear off. Presumably when he wouldn’t deposit another fifty-five cents.


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What I said (and have been saying)

From InstaPundit:

THE FACE OF GENOCIDAL ECO-FASCISM: “I am not exaggerating. This is Finnish writer Pentti Linkola — a man who demands that the human population reduce its size to around 500 million and abandon modern technology and the pursuit of economic growth — in his own words.”

As Bob Zubrin has pointed out, such sentiments, if usually a bit less bluntly stated, are driving environmental policy nowadays. It’s Himmler in a green shirt. These are not nice people who want good things for everyone. These are evil people who hanker after mass death.

Still, it’s educational to hear things like this: “The United States symbolises the worst ideologies in the world: growth and freedom.”

If you like growth and freedom, these people are your enemies. Remember that and treat them accordingly.

In America you need look no further than the runaway success of “The World Without Us” a description of the Green’s utopia – no humans on earth, to understand their agenda. I hope for better things for my own children than their extinction.

UPDATE: If you do care to look further, try this “zero carbon” site.


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So who will they tax next? Hint: if you’re at the poker table and you don’t know who the chump is …

DOW blue chips fall again.

Blue chips extended a streak of declines the likes of which hasn’t been seen in almost 40 years, amid concerns about the euro zone and Facebook’s lackluster debut.


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The lady just can’t stop giving of herself

Even that old fake Iron Eyes Cody is ashamed

Today’s Elizabeth Warren story: she plagiarized the recipes she “contributed” to the “Pow Wow Chow” dog meat cook book. Her recipes had been previously published in “The Cat Lover’s Cookbook” and Warren forgot to switch cat meat to dog.

In her defense, how could a woman so far removed from her redskin savages of ancestors possibly know that a Cold Omelet with Crab (or dog) Meat wasn’t a regular menu item at Cherokee banquets?

Two of the possibly plagiarized recipes, said in the Pow Wow Chow cookbook to have been passed down through generations of Oklahoma Native American members of the Cherokee tribe, are described in a New York Times News Service story as originating at Le Pavilion, a fabulously expensive French restaurant in Manhattan. The dishes were said to be particular favorites of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Cole Porter.

The two recipes, “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat” and “Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing,” appear in an article titled “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat,” written by Pierre Franey of the New York Times News Service that was published in the August 22, 1979 edition of the Virgin Islands Daily News, a copy of which can be seen here.


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Why I’d never live east or north of Greenwich and commute by car

(Not) going my way

I just heard (4:35) that I-95 is packed solid from Exit 2 all the way up to Exit 38 (east of Bridgeport, I think) and going nowhere. No accidents, just volume.

And in sympathetic response, the Merritt Parkway is stalled too.


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They keep piling in

Not to be outdone by 11 Wynnwood’s 2 acre, $8.5 million price tag, 869 Lake Avenue (I’m not bothering with links to any of these because they don’t have much information up yet) has appeared on the market asking $28 million for four building lots “or build an incomparable estate”.  Hmm – for the same money you could buy Mel’s old place with 75 acres and that already has a house on it. And, dragging out my calculator, I see that 28 divided by 4 = 7. Again using that calculator to multiply by one million, I figure they want $7 million for each building lot. I don’t think any developer’s got that kind of money right now.

Or if $28 million is not your cup of tea you could lower your sights and check out 45 John Street, eleven acres still left of what once must have been hundreds, a 1715 house that’s been renovated, all for just $17.5 million. They should have priced it at $175,000,000 and gotten all that nice, free publicity from the saps at Greenwich Time.

There is a spec job at 35 Bramble Lane, Riverside, either just beginning construction or planning to (September completion date, est.) for $3.4 million. That’s probably not as obscene as it might once have appeared. In fact, the builder will probably get it.


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New listing

No link because there’s nothing informational in its current listing – presumably pictures and maybe even a description will follow – but 11 Wynwood, a renovated (expanded) 1950’s house on 2 acres and 4,910 sq. feet inside, has come up for sale asking $8.5 million dollars. Rather than run the risk of angering the owners and the listing agent, I’ll refrain from comment, other than to note that $1,700 per square foot is more than most Greenwich houses command these days.

UPDATE: Readers say that Zillow shows it as 11,000 square feet and brand new. The GMLS listing says it’s 4,921 feet and is an older house renovated five years ago in 2007. It’s hard enough keeping track of 1,000 homes in the Greenwich inventory without having to double-check listings on Zillow. So far as I’m concerned, Zillow’s not the authoritative source for our listings. If the GMLS and the listing broker are passing the vetting duty over to Zillow, it’s news to me.


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“Experts”: Poor folks should pay more taxes than Buffet


If it saves the life of just one fat politician …

Fat tax proposed for poor. As usual, the advice comes replete with to-the-dollar “savings” and “lives saved”, as though these numbers aren’t just plucked from the proposer’s ass. And since we know that the poorer you are the more a tax will impact you, guess who’ll end up modifying their behavior, if anyone does at all?

Don’t get me wrong, I love these kind of taxes on the poor, like the lottery – the poor use up services and pay no income tax, so why not soak them another way? It just annoys me that these things are always proposed by liberals who, when they aren’t busy telling the rest of us how to live our lives, pretend to a sympathy for the disadvantaged.


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Mission creep

Stop me before I glut again!

PETA affiliate  Demands that Obama quit posing with junk food.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-profit group long affiliated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is asking the White House to file an “executive order banning staged photo opportunities that show the president, the first family, the vice president, and members of the president’s cabinet eating unhealthy foods—including processed meats—that can cause cancer and obesity,” it said in a press release.


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What’s with the detached garages that are now standard in town?

I’ve been meaning to ask my zoning guru readers about this but kept forgetting to do so until a commentator just asked. Driving around town, I see more and more detached garages being erected for new houses. Since no one likes detached garages and their presence lowers the value of a home, their sudden appearance has got to be the result of a new zoning quirk. The “green space” rule? A new twist to the Floor Area Regulations? Obviously builders wouldn’t purposely build a house with such an undesirable feature, just as no builder would voluntarily do what our town also requires: saw through roof  rafters to ensure that the roof will collapse if the attic is ever put to use.

So it’s clearly the town doing this. I’ve long since given up asking the “why” of our zoning regulations, but I’d be curious to know what new regulation is changing the look and feel of our housing this time. If you see him out riding, ask Land Czar Peter Berg – he’ll be the south-bound end of that horse heading north.


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Deluded sellers aren’t confined to Greenwich

The owner/developer of Katharine Hepburn’s former waterfront estate in Fenwick hasn’t bee able to sell it during the year-plus he’s had it priced at $28 million so he’s going to build a gatehouse and raise its price by $2 million. I’ve seen this tried here in town where a homeowner is persuaded by his agent to sink money into a new kitchen and raise the price, rather than drop the price and move it. Invariably, the house sells for less than the original price so the money put into that kitchen or bath is gone. It’s possible, of  course, that the house wouldn’t have sold for the price it finally did were it not for the renovation but I still feel that if you’ve decided to sell and move, then do so; if you want to renovate and stay, then do that instead, but don’t combine the two goals.

Interesting tidbit from the article, by the way: Fenwick zoning prohibits any construction during the summer. I can imagine how much that adds to the cost of building or renovating a home, but I suppose that’s the point. Sort of like Greenwich homeowners and their FAR.

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Too smart to fail

The biggest US banks are selling huge amounts of insurance on European defaults. “We’re hedged so we’re safe”, they promise. Tell that to Jamie Dimon.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., two of the top CDS underwriters in the U.S., say they have bought more protection than they sold, indicating they may benefit from defaults in the region. That outcome is called into question by JPMorgan’s $2 billion loss on similar derivatives, which shows that risks don’t vanish when offsetting bets are taken, said Craig Pirrong, a finance professor at the University of Houston.

“All these hedges trade one risk for another,” said Pirrong, whose research focuses on derivatives markets. “The banks say they’re flat on European risk, but that’s based on aggregated positions. We don’t know how those will hold off if the European crisis blows up.”

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Sale prices reported

42 Riverside Lane (NoPo, near Balducci’s), new construction asking $1.695 million sold for $1.710. That’s back to pre-crash levels.

1 Cotton Tail, Cos Cob (? – Maybe Greenwich) sold for $1.350 million. Purchased for $1.720 in 2002, the owners did extensive renovations and priced it at $2.295 in 2007.  In this case I really was asked my opinion and I warned the agent who’d asked  that they weren’t going to be able to recover what they’d paid for it let alone what they’d put into it. And I liked the house very much – they’d just overpaid.

82 Buckfield, raw land, two acres in the four-acre zone, sold for its asking price of $850,000. Undersized or not, two acres for $425,000 each isn’t much.


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Real estate news, finally!

38 Round Hill Road, asking $11.950 million has an accepted offer. The sellers had to drop their price from $13.250 and wait two years but that’s still a huge price and well above the $9.950 it sold for in 2005 (renovations were made). In my humble opinion this house’s easy location on lower Round Hill and its superior construction were offset by it sitting on seven acres of mostly swampland but who cares what I think? I’m not buying it and the guy who is obviously doesn’t care. Good for him.

37 Perryridge (link can be found above) which earlier this week fell out of contract now has another one. Same buyer who resolved whatever difficulties derailed the first deal or someone new? I don’t know.


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Foreign born president story is growing legs

I never cared about the Birthers’ claim about Barry’s missing birth certificate because it seemed too preposterous to be true. But as this latest charge gets the attention of the bloggers, more is revealed. Remember Dan Rather being brought down by bloggers who proved his memo was a fake? This one’s bigger.

AP reported in 2004 that “Kenyon-born Obama all set for US Senate”


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Hope and change

USPS refused permission to shut Connecticut mail processing facilities

On Thursday, [Postmaster General] Donahoe rejected any delay.

“Given that the Postal Service is currently projecting a $14 billion net loss in FY2012, and continuing annual losses of this magnitude, we simply cannot justify maintaining our current mail processing footprint,” he told reporters.

The Postal Service is under pressure to cut costs by $20 billion a year. Senate sponsors of the reform legislation contend their bill would save the USPS $19.5 billion annually.

The Senate bill prevents the USPS from shutting thousands of rural post offices, firing any of its unionized labor force  or addressing health care and pension costs. It does, naturally, include a bunch of new accounting gimmicks to hide the losses and as always in Washington, losses hidden are losses eliminated. Senator Lieberman was a chief supporter of the bill, proving his Democrat loyalties on the way out. I won’t miss him.


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And he had a Cherokee birthing ceremony

Proud godfather

Obama’s bio claimed he was born in Kenya. Like someone else in the news lately, he boasted of it to get  into Harvard and ditched it when  he decided to run for president. Peas in a pod.

Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

The booklet, which was distributed to “business colleagues” in the publishing industry, includes a brief biography of Obama among the biographies of eighty-nine other authors represented by Acton & Dystel. It also promotes Obama’s anticipated first book, Journeys in Black and White — which Obama abandoned, later publishing Dreams from My Father instead:

“Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

UPDATE: Roger Simon: why did he lie? I’ve had just one book published, Simon a dozen, but his experience matches mine: (a) every author reviews his agent’s proposed bio for him, because we’re all egotists, and (b) agents don’t invent things like place of birth.


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