Monthly Archives: July 2014

Old Greenwich contract


5 Keofferam Rd

5 Keofferam Rd

5 Keofferam, $3.525 million, ask, 49 days on market. This is a lovely house, and I wondered aloud here several times why it wouldn’t sell back in 2012, when it started out at $3.495. It finally did sell last October, for $3 million, to folks who added on a 700′ addition that must have provided the space buyers had previously perceived as lacking, because this time, it went quickly.



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The Genius of Anglo Saxon Jurisprudence, Chapter II


If there ain't no seat, you must defeat!

If there ain’t no seat, you must defeat!

Murder conviction tossed out because defendant’s mommy couldn’t find a seat in the crowded courtroom during jury selection.

The 23-year-old Brooklyn man was tried, convicted and — after the jury found he shot a rival dead at a dice game — sent to prison for 15 years to life. But the state’s highest court overturned the guilty verdict — all because Floyd’s mother couldn’t find a seat in the courtroom during jury selection.

A juror who voted to convict Floyd was shocked to learn of the stunning reversal.

“On a technicality like there was no room in the courtroom! That’s something new for me. I don’t think that’s right,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used.

I used to pride myself on taking novel approaches to legal cases but I’ll admit, this argument would never have occurred to me.



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Multi-million-dollar mortgage demand soars – the rest of you slackers aren’t doing as well


Patriot Bank: "Obtain your next JUMBO loan through us!"

Patriot Bank: “Obtain your next JUMBO loan through us!”

Bloomberg reports that the demand for maga-mortgages has never been higher, and is rising. Essentially, why pull cash from investments that return so much more than current mortgage rates cost?


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The curse of Greyledge continues

Ms. Shari Lampert prepares to address her housekeeper's wicked ways

Ms. Shari Lampert prepares to address her housekeeper’s wicked ways

Shari Lampert (not the Sears Lamperts) has had quite of time of things since she and her now former husband Spencer razed Col. Bolling’s estate, “Greyledge”, at 133-137 Doubling Road back in 2007. Her latest bid at notoriety is reported today after being arrested for teeing off on her house keeper with a five iron back in June.

One June 29th, police received a complaint of a physical altercation between an employer and her housekeeper. Police say 56-year-old Shari Gay Lampert had a tumultuous argument with her housekeeper and demanded restitution for the alleged damage the housekeeper had done in Lampert’s home while employed there. During the argument, Lampert wielded a golf club toward the victim before entering the victim’s car to take the victim’s purse and remove all of her cash from it. An investigation determined that there was enough evidence to arrest Lampert for larceny and disorderly conduct, police said. Lampert turned herself into Greenwich police Friday on an arrest warrant and was charged. Lampert was released on $2,000 bond and will appear in court August 1st.

Ms. Lambert seems to have some anger issues – she was arrested in January, 2012 for driving her car through the garage doors of her husband Spencer’s new digs, again in May, 2012 for a “domestic dispute”, and, it appears, a few other times as well.


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A wise man knows when to cut his losses


The Stockman's Model

The Stockman’s Model

David Stockman’s house, with twenty-three acres, is back with a new price of $13.4 million. That’s quite a cut from its 2010-2012 price of $23.5 million, and even its 2013 price of $19.750.

I’ve always suggested this house was overpriced, but instead of rewarding my prescience by giving me his listing, Mr. Stockman has chosen to return to his original broker, the one who priced it at $23.5 and kept him locked into a home he no longer wants for four long years.

That’s probably due to the magic Sotheby’s name and its “international clientele” (snort), but it could also be because he read my quote about his house in the NY Times.

In 2012, Mr. Stockman put his trophy home — with its 11 bathrooms, swimming pool and tennis court — on the market, asking $19.75 million.

Weak as the market was, the listing was removed — and Mr. Fountain is not surprised.

“For $9 million, it’s a nice little house,” he said. “But these types of houses don’t age well. There is just too much horse crap* out there on the polo fields.”

Stockman, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!

Oh well.

* Actually, I used the term “horse shit”, to go with the polo theme, but the Times editors cleaned it up


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Riverside Contract


48 Bramble Lane

48 Bramble Lane

48 Bramble Lane, $3.995 million. One-third of an acre, 6,700 sq. feet (a lot of which is basement). Zillow calculates that as $225 per sq. ft., which suggests that you bring on your own calculator to the Zillow site. Really nice house, and there have now been enough sales on Bramble in this price range that it’s safe to say it’s a $4 million neighborhood.

I’m absolutely astonished.


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Forget rogue meteors, for now


Back in print?

Back in print?

Ebola-infected passenger who died in Nigeria was U.S. citizen was on his way home to Minnesota.

Patrick Sawyer died this week after becoming noticeably ill on a flight from Liberia in West Africa, where the worst ever outbreak of Ebola is gathering pace, to the city of Lagos in Nigeria. His case sparked alarm across the globe because he was able to board an international flight while carrying the incurable disease – potentially infecting other passengers who could fly across the world in a nightmare scenario for health experts.

In our brave new world of global travel, pandemics don’t stay in Las Vegas – or anywhere else – anymore.

UPDATE: And even worse than the guy next to your breathing Ebola in your ear, … Delta passengers disgusted after Chinese family lets toddler crap on his seat.

Passengers kicked up a stink on a flight from Beijing to Detroit this week after a family allowed their toddler to defecate on his seat, according to reports.

Travellers on board the Delta Airlines flight allegedly watched in horror as the young Chinese boy’s parents laid down newspaper on his chair and encouraged him to relieve himself there and then

. Despite pleas from passengers and crew to take him to the cabin toilet, the boy’s grandfather and grandmother – who were also on the plane – insisted on letting the boy settle there, it was claimed.

Passenger Luolan Gang Wang told Sina News that once the boy had finished his business, its smell began slowly to waft through the cabin sparking a wave of disgust among fellow travellers.


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Somehow, I just know these two stories are related – or will be soon


Ooh! Ooh! Go, Lankrees!

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Go, Lankrees!

Bluetooth-enabled vibrators give long distance orgasms.

Floundering Korean baseball team installs robot fans in its stadium. 

Maybe the bluetooth thingie can get those robots hopping and squirming around and really add life to the otherwise-empty seats?


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How low can it go?


186 Lake Avenue.  "You might well think that snow banks in July exude the odor of a stale listing. I couldn't possibly comment. couldn't possibly say that."

186 Lake Avenue.
“You might well think that snow banks in July exude the stench of a stale listing. I couldn’t possibly comment.”

186 Lake Avenue, purchased new in 2004 for $6 million and relisted for $7.5 in 2012, is now down to $4.995, a million bucks less than it would have cost you on Saturday. If I recall this property’s history correctly, the owner missed out on a Pecora home just up the street and one of the builder/brothers said, “I’ve got a lot on the other side of Lake, how about I build you the identical house there?” That offer was accepted (Ogilvy represented both buyer and seller), and that’s why you may experience deja vu all over again as you head north on Lake Avenue.

$6 million may have been the right price in 2004; obviously, it is no longer the right price in 2014. Maybe the fifth price and fourth broker will do the trick this time.

186 bath

dining room

186 Lake hotel


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Pending sale


One Fairfield Avenue

One Fairfield Avenue

One Fairfield Avenue, Old Greenwich, 11 days on market, $1.450 million. Just 0.12 of an acre, a FARport instead of a garage, it sold in 2010 for $899,000. The listing says it was renovated but so far as I can see it’s been repainted from yellow to grey, had some new appliances and a range vent installed, and that’s about it – the previous owner was a builder, and had this in excellent shape. Biggest difference, I suspect, is the market conditions in 2009-2010 and now.

2010 kitchen

2010 kitchen

New kitchen

New kitchen

1 Comment

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Sale reported

17 Rustic View

17 Rustic View

Not much activity right now, but 17 Rustic View, June contract, closed at $2.550, original asking price $2.695. Nice house, recently renovated, on a good street, North Street and Central schools. This seems like a good representative of what you should expect to get in this price range in mid-country these days.

Nice space, but I wouldn't want to clean those windows

Nice space, but I wouldn’t want to clean those windows


Comments Off on Sale reported

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Bambi killers

Prius victim

Dying Prius victim

In the past two weeks I’ve seen two does, one fawn and a wild turkey lying dead on the road (separate incidents). That got me wondering, who kills more of our deer, hunters or drivers? Not surprisingly, the drivers are more deadly.

In Connecticut, 18,000 deer are estimated to be killed by cars each year, and another 54,000 are struck, with results unknown (but given the lack of first-class veterinary services in the woods, it’s a fair guess that most die). Hunters, bow and rifle combined, killed 12,549.

Hunter’s eat what they kill – drivers usually don’t. I wonder how many PETA members drive cars?


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Pending sale, Old Greenwich

333 Sound Bech Avenue

333 Sound Bech Avenue

333 Sound Beach Avenue, $2.065 million (original price, $2.345). The Greenwich Association of Realtors has stripped all pictures and information for this house from the internet, no doubt to try to keep Zillow away, but here’s the original listing sheet.

This is the home of former Greenwich School superintendent Ernest Fleischman, who bought it in 1976.  Far as I’m concerned, our school system began its decline when Dr. Fleischman retired.


Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.52.01 AM


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Fund raiser for my son, John (bumped, again, on the advice of FWIW’s on-staff genius, Walt and now, other readers)

John Fountain

John Fountain

UPDATE: You guys are fantastic – $35,000 and climbing. I can’t adequately express my deep gratitude, but please know that, aside from raising my spirits and reaffirming my faith in people, you have sent John’s soaring, which is the real point of all this. He will now have the independence to rent a place of his own this fall (not that his parents would have left him on the street, but he feels in control now, thanks to all of you) and he’s busy checking off things to do on his list. He’s in Portland OR with his sister Kate now, off to a cancer patient vacation on Catalina for four days beginning Thursday. Camping, swimming and snorkeling in the kelp forests. Thank you from the entire family.


As I’ve previously mentioned, my son John, 31, was diagnosed in late May with stage IV colon cancer that has spread to his liver and lymph nodes and indeed, throughout his body. There’s basically nothing to be done to cure it, and his prognosis is bleak.

While statistically, the average life expectancy for people with this form of cancer, at this stage, is 9 months, and, for some unknown reason it tends to spread even more quickly in younger patients, John is far more optimistic than those odds would allow, and his spirits are high. John’s little sister Sarah has started a fund raiser to help him with expenses and to fund a bucket list (funny, ha ha, that term, for things to do before one kicks the bucket, is usually used figuratively, or at least without a genuine belief in the need for speed), and to help him stay in his own place while he can.

Our family, of course is doing what we can, and beyond, but expenses accrue, and between that and Sarah’s own need to help her adored older brother, it seemed to me that I should not hide behind a false sense of pride and instead, ask my readers to, if they wish to, add to Sarah’s fund. Proceeds – Sarah’s and John’s friends have been generous – are already being used – John flew to Portland Oregon yesterday to spend a week with his sister Kate, then he’ll head for LA to be with his cousins, and then back home, where he will begin palliative chemo-therapy on August 11th. So that’s the status, here’s a link to his fundraiser – thank you.

UPDATE: Ha! Here’s a picture from Sarah’s Facebook, from happier days. Sarah, Katie, Casey the Wonder Dog and John. Sarah and friends


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Who knew it was even going on?


Testing complete, Vincenzo Nibali returns borrowed urine sample

Testing complete, Vincenzo Nibali returns borrowed urine sample

Italian wins Tour de France. The man claims to be “a flag-bearer for anti-doping” and perhaps he is, but I suspect I was not alone in finally giving up on this race once Lance Armstrong was revealed to be a fraud. Phah.


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Randy Pausch on Living

A good friend of mine suggested I look up the now famous “Last Speech” by Carnegie-Mellon professor Randy Pausch, who was diagnosed with fatal pancreatic cancer and given three-to-six months to live. He out did that number, by a little, but gave two incredible lectures before he died. The longer one, given just a month after he’d been diagnosed, is the famous Last Speech” and I’ve posted it here for those, like me, who’ve never seen it.

But it was not in fact his “last speech” – eight months later, he was invited back to his university to give the commencement speech, and I’m also posting that one too, because it’s also a fine essay on life and because it’s much shorter, for those of us with limited attention spans. Both are worth watching, and learning from.



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Speaking of drunks on tractors, what do you bet Johnny Manziel is out of professional football in three years?


The Ryan Leaf Express

The Ryan Leaf Express

The spoiled, entitled child insists that he’s “earned the right” to party as hard off the field as he wishes.  Yahoo sports columnist Dan Wetzel sums up his prospects nicely:

Manziel addressed [Brown’s owner] Haslam’s comments after practice and left lingering doubts. His speech was part concession of some nebulous mistakes, part brag session about how totally awesome his life is, you know being so popular and talented and all.

“Here’s the thing I want to say,” Manziel said. “The reason I’m popular, the reason people follow me and there’s been such a buzz around me, when I went out on Saturdays at Texas A&M, I played with an extreme amount of passion and I played with my heart on my sleeve.

“But more than anything I had fun. I had fun playing this game, I had fun going on out on this field playing football. That’s what I live for, that’s what I do.

“The same thing off the field,” he continued. “Whether I’m going out and playing golf, whether it’s going out and having the nightlife, whatever it is, I’m having fun. That’s what my life is. And luckily for me I’m living out my dream of playing in the NFL, having a ton of fun …. Life’s fun. Enjoy it while it’s here.”

Manziel can live his life anyway he chooses but if he thinks life is short and needs to be embraced, he needs to show he understands life in the NFL is even more precious. Players claim NFL means “Not For Long” for a reason.

Manziel talked about the urgency of every snap. He talked about buckling down and working. He talked about getting better each and every session, of plowing through the learning curve of a more complex NFL offense.

He also kept talking about how he’s living the dream and should embrace it like a typical 21-year-old, except he isn’t a typical 21-year-old and, as such, the dream can vanish quickly.

So he better chuck it for the Browns. He better be damn, damn good. The competition is serious and significant and popularity doesn’t mean a thing. Fans can always buy a new jersey.

I think the Browns will soon discover that they wasted a lot of money on this train wreck waiting to happen.


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She might have took my car keys, but she forgot about my old John Deere

Colorado man arrested for driving drunk on his lawn tractor. Clearly, he was just channeling George Jones.


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But there’s a rule against that!


You're entering a gun-free zone, pahdna!

You’re entering a gun-free zone, pahdna!

Doctor who shot mental patient kept  gun under his desk in direct violation of hospital policy and regulations. Of course, the patient had carried his own gun into the hospital, and used it to kill his caseworker, but these rules are designed for the law abiding, not the wicked.

The hospital horror unfolded on Thursday afternoon when patient Plotts arrived at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital with [his case worker Theresa] Hunt where they met Dr. Silverman in an office at the psychiatric unit on the third floor of the hospital.

Once inside, the calamitious series of events began with a heated argument that ended with Hunt being fatally shot in the head, Dr. Silverman also suffering a hit to the head and Plotts critically wounded after two gunshot wounds to the torso and one to his arm.

It was Dr. Silverman’s quick reaction that saved lives and police have hailed him as a hero for stopping Plotts before he could embark on a gun rampage.

Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that ‘without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives.’ ‘Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition,’ the chief said.

Yeah well, wait ’til the hospital disciplinary board gets a hold of Dr. Silverman.


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Foreclosure sale on North Street

180 North Street

180 North Street

I stopped by the auction for 180 North Street at noon, today, and watched it go to the bank at its own opening bid of $3.1 million. There were two other people there who had come with the required certified check in the amount of $367,500 and thus were qualified  to place a bid, but they declined. Presumably, they were hoping to snare a  bargain, and didn’t see one at $3.1; neither did I.

Late yesterday the debtor filed a motion to reopen the judgement against him, and that will be heard on August 11th. Assuming the bank prevails and the court approves today’s sale, the bank’s title will be complete and the house will be fully theirs, lucky bank. My prediction is that they’ll spend money to clean up the house (the debtor stripped it of appliances and left it looking pretty bad before he left), then put it back on the market at some dumb figure like $3.675 million, where it will stick around until someone at the bank gets real and orders the the place to be dumped for $2.5-$2.7. Check back next year.

The debtor bought the swampland this was built on for $1.850 million back at the height of the market in 2007, and paid Steve Mariani to build a spec house on it for him. That he thought he could pay Mariani’s profit and pay an additional profit to himself can only be ascribed to the irrational exuberance of those heady days, and it was a doomed business plan: it started at $5.495 million in 2007, and dropped all the way to $3.4 this year, before the bank took it back. Someone dodged a bullet back in 2009 when his offer of $4.1 was rejected, another, later, when $3.75 failed, and two years ago, my own clients had the same lucky escape when we couldn’t even get a counter offer to our bid of $2.9. Between having a swamp for a yard and, now, the condition of the house itself, this isn’t worth more than $2.5, if that, in my opinion.


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