Daily Archives: March 4, 2014


China bans lavish perks at People’s Conference.

U.S. Federal agency bureaucrats spend millions on first class flights.

Obama Air costs $237,000 per hour.

The president spent over $7.3 million on just three trips in 2013, including $2.1 million to appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in August, according to new flight documents provided by the Air Force to a public watchdog group.

Judicial Watch told Secrets that the sky-high jet travel costs for the first family’s 2012-2013 Christmas vacation in Hawaii, their beach vacation on Martha’s Vineyard last summer and President Obama’s brief trip to California in August totalled $7,396,531.20.

The Air Force said it costs $228,288 an hour to fly Air Force One, a massive $48,535 jump from the last estimate of $179,750, or 27 percent.

No mention of what it costs to jet Michelle and the girls aboard Air Force II (and a second cargo plane) for a three-day ski vacation in Vail.


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Another Jean listing

186 Lake Ave

186 Lake Ave

186 Lake Avenue, $5.9 million. Sold new for $6 in 2005, tried reselling in 2012 for $7.5. If I have the history right, this is the sister house of one just up the street on the other side of Lake. This owner missed on that one and the builder said, “I have a building lot just a few doors down – I’ll build you one exactly like this one”. And he did.


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I was completely wrong


2 Wooddale

2 Wooddale

2 Wooddale, $11.995 million, came on just a few weeks ago and is already under contract. I thought the house was fabulous, and said so, but I also thought that its modest, good taste exterior wouldn’t appeal to most buyers in this price range and that it would have to sit before it found a buyer. Not so. I’m delighted for the seller, but I’m kicking myself for declining to compete for the listing – I really thought I’d be sitting on it for a long time before it moved. Silly me.

Gideon and I were discussing the house and the one hope we had for its quick sale is that the taste for clean, open design is developing quickly. That’s great news for architects, not such good news for some of the older homes which, as I’ve mentioned, have fallen out of favor.


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Jean Ruggerio’s back

115 Maple Avenue

115 Maple Avenue

Jean parted company with Raveis a couple of weeks ago but she’s back today with a listing at 115 Maple Avenue, an 1880 home on 0.87 acre asking $3.6 million. A Skakel house, but he’s moved on. The broker is listed as “Kennedy and Holmes’ but I see that that’s a part of Douglas Elliman, which makes sense: I’d heard they were coming back into town, and it makes sense they’d use Jean to lead the charge.


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Sales reported


25 Pleasant Street

25 Pleasant Street

25 Pleasant Street, Cos Cob, full price, $1.025 million. Sold for $950,000 in 2011, sellers added new master bedroom and bath since then.

3 building lots, 647 River Road (East side of Mianus), $1.7 million


81 Husted Lane

81 Husted Lane

81 Husted Lane, one, 2-acre house with teardown, bidding war – $1.950 ask, $2.110 sold. That’s about the going rate for mid-country land these days.




73 Glenville Rd

73 Glenville Rd

73 Glenville Road, $2.260 million, $2.495 ask. Last sold in 2005 for $2.2.





40 Park Avenue (Greenwich)

40 Park Avenue (Greenwich)

40 Park Avenue, Greenwich, $3.050 million. Great location, nice house, it just wasn’t worth the $4.150 it originally asked, so it sat. I thick $3s a bit low for this, but missing the mark on pricing can have a depressing effect on ultimate sale price.  (Zillow, by the way, shows a sale in 2011 that, so far as I know and can tell, never happened. Zillow can be funny like that).


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Cos Cob sale

76 Cat Rock76 Cat Rock Road, $2.825 million. This was a great house and I’m not sure why it took so long to sell. The owners paid $3.725 for it in 2007 and kept it up beautifully. Height of the market or not, a $900,000 discount seems generous (although that’s what I suggested to my clients they try for). Good deal for someone.


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Maybe, maybe not

Three new listings in Riverside and Old Greenwich this morning (I’ll link when the photos are up), each asking in excess of $4 million. These are not new homes, although I’m sure they’ve been renovated over the years. I’m dubious – none of these are on streets where older homes have broken this price range, but as always, it’s not my opinion that counts, it’s the buyers’.


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A close relative to “Bush Derangement Syndrome”


Bobby Kennedy takes the cure

Bobby Kennedy takes the cure

Scientist warns of “wind turbine syndrome”

Scientific studies have shown that all greens suffer from this condition, whose symptoms include include fatigue, dizziness, headache, difficulty concentrating, and a near-hysterical enthusiasm for impractical ideas. Fortunately, there is a cure: a proposal to locate a wind farm within eyesight of these patients produces an instantaneous, 100% cure rate. Who knew?


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Almost nothing on the tour today

But the cupboard was bare

But the cupboard was bare

Do as you wish, but the buds have appeared on the maples and the buyers are out. You can wait, as some readers insist, for your gardens to bloom and the pool is opened, but now you have less competition and if a buyer finds what she wants now, she won’t wait to see what comes on in late April or May.

This is what’s called a missed opportunity.


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Remember when Ted Cruz was denounced as a traitor for suggesting this last fall?

obamaEmperor Barry delays ObamaCare mandate yet again, pushing it back beyond the fall elections.  So who’s the traitor, the man who advocates legislative action to change “the law of the land” or the one who violates that law by personal fiat?

The White House will delay yet again the requirement that insurers offer Obamacare-compliant plans, avoiding for an unknown period what would be for Democrats a politically catastrophic move to strip voters of their current insurance.

Late last year, amid accusations that he had lied when he promised voters, “If you like your insurance you can keep you insurance,” Obama delayed until January 1, 2015 the deadline for insurers to offer everyone a plan that hews to Obamacare’s strictures.

But this would still have caused problems for Democrats later this year as people began receiving their current-plan cancellation notices in advance, within weeks of Election Day.

According to The Hill, the White House will move as early as this week to remove the issue from Democrats’ list of 2014 problems:

As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements.

The Hill, an independent publication that is the top news outlet covering Congress, does not hesitate to highlight the political intent of the decision:

Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected this fall.

The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day.

The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber.

A one-year moratorium pushed the deadline beyond the midterm election, but insurers must send out cancellation notices 90 days in advance. That would mean notices in the mail by Oct. 1, five weeks before voters go to the polls.

UPDATE: Just for fun, I looked back for Cruz comments from FWIW’s pet asshole, Dollar Bill. There are many; here’s just one.

Submitted on 2013/11/21 at 5:45 pm

You know your political party is screwed when it’s standard bearers like Ted “I get my health care from Goldman Sachs” Cruz offer nothing on reforming and overhauling our grotesquely inefficient system of health care, but is content merely to chortle from the sidelines and attack, attack and attack the law of the land and sabotage it.[emphasis added] . Reached for comment, Randbot spokesman CF muttered “tort reform! “free market health care! “single payer is the devil’s handmaiden” Ooh, my head hurts!


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The Justice Department, which lied repeatedly over the years over whether it was wiretapping defendants, now sues Sprint for overcharging it on wire taps.  After Snowden, why not fess up and get your money back?

Comments Off on Chutzpah

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Heh heh heh

Gosh, even Slate and the New Republic have joined WaPo in discovering what the rest of us knew all along: The Affirmative Action Candidate has no clothes.

SLATE: Why Obama Got Russia Wrong (and Romney Got It Right).

Also: The New Republic: Mitt Romney Was Right About Russia.

And, this:



March 4, 2014 · 9:07 am

This used to be a big deal when we had land lines

What area code, please

What area code, please?

Connecticut is adding yet another area code. Back in the day, the 860 area code caused consternation because it was a new number to remember, and forgetting to use it meant a mis-dial and retry. Today, we just program a number into our phones and promptly forget it: do you know your own children’s numbers? I don’t.

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De Blasio and his mob might consider this, but probably won’t

Come on,we're heading south

Leaving Jones Beach

Miami becoming Wall Street South?

Miami is attracting the LeBron James of Wall Street, the Dwyane Wade of Greenwich equity, and the Chris Bosh of Boston — financial titans who are relocating to pay less in taxes and maintain a luxury lifestyle with a glittering social scene.

It’s already the 2nd most popular financial hub in the country after NYC, and The Miami Downtown Development Authority is doing everything it can to make itself attractive to bankers through an initiative called the DWNTWN campaign.

Lloyd Blankfein and Leon Black are rumored to have bought Miami condos recently, and the latest hotshot to move his business there is Mark Spitznagel, founder of hedge fund Universa Investments.

“Florida’s business-friendly policies … offer the perfect environment for us as we expand,” said Spitznagel. “I would expect to see more firms like Universa voting with their feet and relocating to a more hospitable business and tax environment, especially as many local governments are trying to tighten their grip on businesses.”

Of course the trouble with this is that if you move to Miami then you have to live and work in Miami, but the real point is that modern communications have freed the financial industry from Manhattan, and if that city becomes inhospitable, the industry can move. And if they move far away, a lot of Greenwich money will go with it.


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This is what we need, for sure

So we'll sue the bastards!

So we’ll sue the bastards!

Teen kicked out of home for bad behavior sues parents for tuition money, cash.

A New Jersey teenager is suing her parents, claiming she was kicked out of her home and thus entitled to money for private-school tuition, transportation, room and board.

Morris Catholic HS senior Rachel Canning said mom and dad are still financially responsible for her — even after she flew their Lincoln Park coop, two days before her 18th birthday in late October.

Rachel is asking that mom and dad be ordered to immediately pay up for tuition at the 12th-grader’s Morris Catholic HS.

The teen has been living with a family friend ever since leaving home. The friend’s dad is former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino, who is reportedly footing Rachel’s legal bill.

“This whole thing is just destroying our family,” dad Sean Canning told The Post on Monday. “We love our daughter. She’s our pride and joy. The door is wide open. We want her to come home.”

Canning, the former police chief of Lincoln Park and now Mount Olive town administrator, admitted he and his wife butted heads with Rachel over typical parent-kid issues.

She didn’t adhere to assigned household chores, disrespected other family members and refused to observe a midnight curfew, according to the dad.

“I’m a liberal, liberal parent,” Canning pleaded. “I wish I could have grown up in my house. I was tougher on my cops at work than I’ve ever been at my home, that’s for sure.”

My guess is that the suit will be tossed out in five seconds, but this is New Jersey, the east coast equivalent of the west’s Ninth Circuit, so who knows?


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Back into the closet

Less effective than St. Jude stuck upside down in the front yard: Mrs.Peter Brant in the family trophy room

Less effective than St. Jude stuck upside down in the garden: Mrs.Peter Brant in the family trophy room

Yo, art lover! Thinking of selling your house? Real estate agents say, “no nudes are good nudes”.

When it comes to staging a house for sale, one thing most real-estate agents are adamant about is that the artwork not be risqué. “No nudes is good nudes,” says Lyn Sims, a Realtor at ReMax in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

The goal of showings is to keep people at a property as long as possible to form a good impression, says April Greer, a Realtor with Century 21 in Temecula, Calif., who frequently asks clients to take down portraits of unclothed subjects. “You want to make sure buyers feel comfortable.”

A 2011 Duke University study on home staging, which involved 457 participants, found that removing especially attention-grabbing art or accessories was one of the most important actions a seller could take to change buyer perception and behavior; participants rated this 5.98 on a scale of 1-7. The study revealed that buyers often evaluate (and remember) the art rather than the house, and that a negative reaction to art can affect how they assess the house.

Peter Brant, take notice

Real-estate agent April Greer says a nude depiction of one of the owners is where she absolutely draws the line. “I just explain to them how it might make a buyer feel to see their wife half naked,” she says. “They get it.”

Brant and Stephanie are not alone, however

Kathryn Mikesell, a collector in Miami, was told by a real-estate agent to hide her art, including a sculpture of a nude male by Lars Calmar that she had in the kitchen. She was put-off enough to change her mind about selling her house.

“She told us if we really wanted to attract a broad audience, and not offend anyone, we needed to [remove the art],” says Ms. Mikesell. “Our art is our life. It is part of our family. We decided this is us, our home.”

Which is true, of course, but Ms.Mikesell misses the point: she and her family no longer want it to be their home; better to stash the art, sell the house, and then reinstall those nudes in her new one.


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