Daily Archives: December 1, 2014

First Ferguson, now this – is there no justice in our judicial system?

I want Hebrew National, NOT Nathan's, damn you!

I want Hebrew National, NOT Nathan’s, damn you!

“Self-described” orthodox Jew Steven Hayes, the Cheshire murderer, loses his suit against Ct. prison authorities for not catering to his needs.

A judge in the United States has rejected the arguments of a death row inmate that the food he is being served in prison is not kosher, the Washington Times reports.

Denying the request by Steven Hayes for a hearing and a temporary injunction, Connecticut District Court Judge Alvin Thompson noted that Hayes is offered kosher meals, and the state Department of Correction has two rabbis who periodically monitor the preparation of kosher foods in the prison system. The judge said both rabbis certified that the food and the food preparation process comply with dietary laws.

“Although (Hayes) raises as an issue the lack of a reliable orthodox certificate or an onsite Jewish overseer, he provides no evidence suggesting that their absence leads to a finding that the meals are not kosher,” the judge wrote.

Hayes, a self-described Jew who has not completed any conversion procedure, was convicted for the 2007 rape and murder of a mother and her two daughters. Both he and his partner Joshua Komisarjevsky were sentenced to death for the attack.

He described himself in his lawsuit as an Orthodox Jew and claimed to have suffered “almost two years of emotional injury from having to choose between following God and starving or choosing sin to survive.”


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Why won’t he just go away?

This means you like me - you really like me!

This means you like me – you really like me!

Greenwich’s own, Richard, “Get out of my way, I see a camera” Blumenthal is in the news again, this time blasting the state utility regulators for granting “an unconscionable” rate increase to CL&P.  From the day he was first elected dorm president at Harvard, Blumenthal has pursued a determined path to political advancement. His entire tenure as our state attorney general was conducted with the goal of becoming our senator and, now that he’s achieved that and is down in Washington buried under 99 more senior senators, he’s come back to town to try to grab some headlines.

Whether one approves of the rate increase or not, this is a local, not a national issue, and Blumenthal (should have) nothing to say on the matter. The fact that he does is sort of comical, because it reveals, once again, his desperate need for attention, even at the ripe old age of 71.



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Sale on Grahampton

54 Grahampton Lane

54 Grahampton Lane

54 Grahampton sold for $2.450 million. Back in early September I noted the price change on this from $3.195 to $2.695 – “Land Sale with House” – and suggested that, since a 2-acre lot in this location was worth around $2.5 million, you should negotiate the price down to that, get a free house, and call it a day. Someone obviously did just that.


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Old and in the way

105 Dingletown: next!

105 Dingletown: next!

I received an inquiry just before the holiday about 105 Dingletown Road, that 1919, 10,000 sq.ft. house that’s now been marked down to $2.995 million from its original 2010 price of $7.750 million. The reader wrote that she hated to see these old houses go, and wondered what it might cost to fix it up. I think I scared her away.

The trouble with these homes is that they’re not only obsolete, built for a life style of servants who lived on the premises, thus necessitating accommodations, however incommodious, and maintained it for the owners at a fairly reasonable cost. Electricity was primitive, plumbing no better, windows weren’t airtight or, if they were originally, certainly aren’t now, 100 years later, and insulation was something ducks wore under their plumage. Fixing all that, plus addressing a physical layout that was designed for servants, a formal lifestyle, and kitchens worked by the aforesaid servants, is hugely expensive. So much so, in fact, that it can only be love, not common sense, that would stir one to commit to such a project.

Almost no one today wants a 1920s knock-off of an 18th century British manor house, so if you were to restore one, you’d end up with a splendid white elephant with little resale value – certainly not enough to pay back anything close to what you’d put into it. Consider the example of 460 North Street: the owners paid $8.650 million for it in 2004, sunk millions into it, including over $1 million for custom, double-pane windows to replace the original leaded glass, and sold it in 2012 for $7.8 million. Further up the street, at 487 North, the new owner is completely redoing and restoring the old brick Georgian he paid $5.1 million for, and we should all thank him for doing so, because it’s one of the prettiest homes on street. My guess, however, is that he’ll never see a return on his money.

These houses are worth the land they sit on, period. If you must have a house of that style, knock it down and have a new one built – even as an exact copy, you’d save money over restoring the original one. Better yet, build a modern house, but please: nothing like the current crop of neo-victorian-shingle-style blech that’s been sprouting up around town since the late 80s – they’re growing obsolete faster than the original 1900s new-money-crowd’s homes.


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No real estate activity reported since Thanksgiving

Jadajadajada, señor

Jadajadajada, señor

Nothing of interest except, perhaps, the price reduction on 3 Jada Lane (overlooking Greenwich Country Club and looked down on by whoever is presently living in Chip Skowron’s house), from $11.9 to $11.250 million. Mr. Skowron is still in prison, but this owner’s own home confinement is over and he is presumably “now free to move about the country”, and he appears ready to do so.

The listing claims 11,000 square feet on 1.46 acres, the tax card says 7,100, so take your pick; we report, you decide. My guess is the town didn’t see the finished basement when it was appraising it.

This house sold new, full price, in 2007 for $8.295 and was returned to the market in 2010, when the owner’s legal difficulties arose, for $14.9 million, a price that remained unchanged over the full year it was listed. I thought it was a great house back in 2007, but $15 million seemed steep; will $11 prove the charm? Maybe so – I read that a lot of the restricted stock issued to our buyer class back in the dour days of 2008 are shaking loose this month, and there will be a lot of new cash sitting idle in the trunks of the Teslas and McLarens roaming about town: what better place to put it than here? Like Skowron’s former digs, this comes with a 5,000 square foot, 22-car garage.




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It’s come to this

4 robots, in fact

4 robots, in fact

In a bid to save on health care and minimum wage costs, the White House has replaced Bo with a robot. “He doesn’t need bathroom breaks, never demands paternity leave and he can greet 3,000 visitors an hour,” White House spokesman Rip Masters told FWIW, “so we had to do it. The real Bo’s been locked in the attic with the President’s crazy mother-in-law for the duration of the holidays”


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